As the version number suggests, this is not a major update but there are still new features such as ’Magic Sound Tuning’, button shortcuts on the remote, ’Magic Link’ and support for 360-degree video. FlatpanelsHD tried the new features at CES 2017.
Shortcut buttons on the remote
As usual the latest software features are reserved for the latest hardware. TVs from 2014, 2015 and 2016 will not receive the update. LG is not alone here but it is still frustrating to witness.
The next iteration of webOS is version 3.5. With the .5 update LG intends to polish the platform and user experience. The hardware is more powerful, which makes webOS 40% faster overall, according to the company.
The 2017 models will come with a refreshed remote control that now offers dedicated buttons for easy access to Netflix and Amazon. LG tells us that you can also program the number buttons (1, 2, 3 etc.) to act as a shortcut to any app that you define.
The faster system chip in webOS 3.5 will make the TVs turn on quicker, says LG. There is new bluetooth chip on board (LG is switching from Broadcom to MediaTek), which will improve speed and range. Unfortunately the consequence of this transition is that the new remote will not work on previews webOS-powered TVs – and vice versa.
Another feature that LG highlighted was ‘Magic Sound Tuning’. This feature uses the microphone in the remote to optimize TV sound for your living room environment. It is the same technology that is implemented in some receivers.
If you have the equipment to record 360-degree videos you can connect your smartphone to a webOS 3.5 TV and enjoy these videos on the largest screen. You use the remote to look around. The feature is demonstrated in the video below by David Montanya, product specialist at LG Nordic.
Some existing apps offer similar experiences. For example the LittlStar app on Apple TV.
In 2017, LG will be the only manufacturer to support four HDR formats (HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG and Advanced HDR by Technicolor). webOS 3.5 is prepared for this so you can enjoy content in all four formats via HDMI or streaming.
’Magic Link’ is a new feature that will give you additional information about the actors in the scene. It can also pull up relevant information such as related YouTube videos. ’Magic Zoom’ will be extended to support recording (requires a USB hard drive) of the sequence that you have zoomed in on. The zooming feature was also available in the 2016 TVs but the option to record is new.
webOS 3.5 will be rolled out in spring 2017 along with this year’s OLED and LCD TVs.