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…