Online TV Services - Late 2010 Update - LG

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Summary

Last time we reviewed an LG TV, its NetCast online platform was frankly rubbish. It only had YouTube, Picasa and some boring weather forecasting service.

Just as well, then, that LG has finally added quite a bit of NetCast content over the past couple of weeks. Especially as a little of this new content is actually useful.

Once your NetCast-compatible LG TV has done its necessary update download, the once hilariously spartan service main menu screen suddenly looks bristling with things to check out.

Scanning along the bold, colourful set of service icons, the new services pan out like this. First up and without doubt the most important is the BBC iPlayer. This catch up service has single-handedly woken the great British public up to the idea of online, on-demand TV, and as such has become the one online service above all others that people like to see residing on any online TV’s service list.

What’s more, LG’s iPlayer iteration is arguably the best we’ve seen in terms of its presentation and ease of use.

Next on the list of new additions is Google Maps - which is about as useless as the iPlayer is useful. For a start it defaults to America. But even once you’ve zeroed in on where you live, its interface and general presentation level are both pretty ropey. We guess at a push you might use its route finder, but you’ll probably quickly go back to using the Internet on your PC - or just using a sat nav!

The vTuner app up next is much more welcome. For as its name suggests, it offers a pretty straightforward, very usable ‘channel’ for filtering down and listening to the thousands and thousands of Internet radio channels out there. It was pleasing to discover that its ‘Editor’s picks’ and other highlighted content were UK specific. The sound quality isn’t up to much - but then it is Internet Radio, after all!

Social Mediaphiles, meanwhile, will be unfeasibly excited to find that both Twitter and Facebook have been added to the NetCast content list. And baseball fans will probably be even more excited to discover the subscription MLB.tv baseball ‘channel’. This claims, rather terrifyingly, to shows all 2,430 regular games in the USB MLB season. Pity, then, that baseball is hardly a UK obsession...

moose56

December 28, 2010, 12:38 pm

As the owner of a Panasonic TV I have to look with envy at practically every other manufactures online content offering. Panasonic seem to be really weak in this area.

SRS

December 28, 2010, 5:01 pm

Where this will fail is that these companies are still thinking of their devices as TVs with some extra functionality grafted on. And it shows - slow, clunky UIs, terrible ergonomics (try doing anything quickly with the supplied remotes), poor software and next to no software updates and improvements people now expect.





They should really be providing just the panel and image processing technology and let others step in for the media provisioning and management.

Ash

December 28, 2010, 6:31 pm

Good article. I have been telling colleages at work, smart TVs are going to be the next big thing, just like smartphone. It will get more exciting when you start seeing Android, Meego and Apple iOS based products, with the same possiblities as on smartphones and an explosion of apps. The current range of 'connected TV' aren't smart enought IMO, I would compare them to feature phones...

wakeyjamie

December 28, 2010, 11:40 pm

Interesting but i think you've been a bit unfair leaving Samsung out of the list. We bought a Samsung UE32C6530 a couple of months ago and the internet@TV stuff is absolutely brilliant. The iplayer is a joy to use and supports HD streaming. And youtube, lovefilm, acetrax and Muzu.tv are all genuinely useful and worth having.

Powerful

December 29, 2010, 11:05 am

Thanks for this. It would be good to have a regular update of online content - say monthly or so.





On Sony content: The new BBC iPlayer is still only Beta and doesn't show HD content. This is odd since the iPlayer that comes with the Sony BDV players is not Beta, operates faster than the Bravia and does contain HD.





You don't mention Picasa which is new and works well. On the first visit you login to your Picasa web albums and it shows the first 36 albums as tiles - which meant a little Picasa maintenance for me since I had many more than 36 albums on the web. The quality is really excellent. It is the first photo app, including connecting a PC direct to the TV, (that I've seen) that makes my pics watchable on a big (46") screen. To maintain quality the app does not expand the photo to fill the screen which means you need to store your web albums at the higher resolution to fill the screen. Nice one Sony.

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