Smart TV OS: Better Android TV or Web OS?

Smart TV OS: Better Android TV or Web OS?

If you’re on the hunt for a smart TV, chances are you’ll come across Android and Web OS TVs. The two competing smart TV operating systems have a lot in common but are also very distinct at the same time.

Android TV is developed by Google and can be found on many devices, including smart TVs, streaming sticks, set-top boxes, and more. The Web OS, on the other hand, is a Linux-based OS made by LG. It is currently only available on the company’s smart TV range. However, LG is slow opening the software and has partnered with other manufacturers to embed the web operating system on their televisions.

Whichever you choose – Android TV or Web OS – you’ll end up with a clearly different user interface. The two operating systems also come with their own set of pre-installed apps and offer several features that will ultimately drive your overall smart TV experience.

So without further ado, here are all the major differences between Google’s Android TV platform and LG’s web operating system.

User interface

lg tv user interface

The first thing you’ll notice when turning on an Android TV device versus a Web OS TV is the difference in the user interface. The current Android TV interface is divided into rows that take up the entire home screen. Google will be updating it to its new Google TV UI soon, but the operating system will remain unchanged within it.

Meanwhile, LG’s web OS is more minimalist and features a customizable ribbon-like launch bar at the bottom of the screen. It gives you access to all the apps, settings and other features of the TV.

As you scroll through these options in the launch bar, you’ll see an additional row of tabs appear above it corresponding to each app. For example, if you hover the pointer to LG Content Store in the launch bar, an additional row of tabs will appear at the top showing app download tips. You will also see similar content suggestions for streaming apps.

Unlike Android TV, where you need to close one app and go to the home screen to open another, the launch bar on LG’s Web OS TVs can be viewed without exiting an already open app. So, in terms of ease of app switching, LG’s web OS definitely has the upper hand.

That said, if you’re using an Android phone, browsing the Android TV platform can be more intuitive than the Web OS. The latter is by no means difficult to use, but it might come with a slight learning curve for users who haven’t used an LG TV before. Once you gain control of the web operating system, you may prefer it over Android TV for the convenience it offers.

App

lg smart tv app

The Android TV platform certainly offers more apps than the web operating system. This is because you have access to the large library of the Google Play Store on all Android TV devices. You can also upload apps to Android TV, which LG’s smart TV platform doesn’t allow.

Don’t expect a wide variety of apps on the Web OS

Web OS TVs come pre-installed with many popular streaming apps like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, Google Play Movies and TV, and more. You can download additional apps and games from the LG Content Store. However, don’t expect a wide variety like you would on Android TV.

Android TV remote control vs LG Magic Remote control

lg smart tv app

One of the best things that happen to the web operating system is LG’s Magic Remote. You also get this with all LG OLED TVs and many LCD TVs. You also have the option to purchase the remote separately if your LG TV doesn’t come with one. Be sure to check the compatibility of the remote control before purchasing it.

Unlike the remotes you get with Android TV devices, LG’s Magic Remote makes navigation a lot easier with its point and click functionality. The pointer moves as you move the remote control just like you would a mouse on a PC. This makes it much easier to type text on an LG TV compared to Android TVs. On the latter, you need to use the arrow keys on the remote to painfully move between the letters on the screen keyboard.

In addition to its pointer functions, the Magic Remote on LG’s Web OS TVs also offers voice search, just like most Android TV remotes. The numbered buttons on the LG remote can also be programmed as shortcuts for different apps. You can’t do this with the remotes that come with Android TV.

Meanwhile, both Android TV devices and Web OS TVs can be used wirelessly without remote control. You can learn how to control your Android TV using your smartphone here. To browse a web OS TV with your phone, you need to install the LG TV Plus app on your Android or iOS devices.

Web OS vs Android TV: Which Is Best?

Both Android TV and Web OS have their advantages and disadvantages. The web operating system user interface is more simplistic and does not take up the entire screen. Web OS TVs are also easier to navigate thanks to LG’s Magic Remote Control and have all the important streaming apps you would want to use on your TVs.

However, if you’re looking beyond the typical smart TV experience, you might want to opt for the Android TV platform. The huge number of apps you can download / sideload on Android TV devices is what makes them so popular today. You can also get an Android TV device starting at $ 49.99 with the new Chromecast instead of investing in a full-fledged TV.

Meanwhile, the limited range of web OS devices means you’ll have to spend money on a new TV if you want to access the platform.

That said, if your choices are between an LG Web OS TV or Sony’s Android TV, you should first consider their hardware specs and pricing rather than just the software. While Android TV offers a lot more in the way of apps, web OS TVs are also good enough for those who don’t mind using too many apps or playing Android games on their smart TVs.

Android TV and Web OS: frequently asked questions

Q: Can you share your smartphone screen on Android TV and Web OS?

Yes, you can share your phone screen to Android TVs and LG TVs with web operating system. Android TVs have built-in Chromecast functionality that allows you to cast your phone screen to your TV. Web-based TVs use screen mirroring and you can set it up via the Screen Share app on your TV.

Q: Can you play games on web operating systems like Android TV?

Yes, you can play on web-based TVs, but your options are limited to games on the LG Content Store. Android TV devices offer a much wider range of games from the Google Play Store. You can also sideload games that aren’t on the Play Store and play them using an emulator on Android TV.

Q: Can you control Android TV and Web OS TV with smart speakers?

Yes, you can control both Android and Web OS TV using smart speakers. All Android TVs come with a built-in Google Assistant, so you can set them up for use with any Google Assistant-powered smart speaker. Some Android TVs from brands like Sony also work with Amazon’s Alexa Echo range of speakers. Meanwhile, LG has plenty of Web OS TVs that they both work with Google Assistant than with speakers Alexa

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