A lot of people have come up to me and asked me whether their LG smart TV was an Android TV.
Being a proud owner of an LG Smart TV myself, I was quite surprised by how many have this question in their minds.
So I made this one-stop article to quench your curiosity on whether LG TVs are really Android TVs.
LG TVs are not Android TVs. LG TVs are based on their proprietary operating system called WebOS which can be used only on LG devices. However, you can turn your LG TV into an Android TV by connecting external devices such as Android TV Boxes or Sticks to one of the HDMI ports.
Are LG Smart TVs Android?
The simple answer is no.
LG Smart TVs run their own proprietary smart TV operating system called WebOS which is based on Linux.
Android TV, on the other hand, is developed by Google and is a completely different operating system with its own UI elements and software components.
Despite Android TV OS also being based on Linux, it is a completely different product from the ground up and is not compatible with WebOS and its services.
LG uses WebOS as a proprietary OS and therefore restricts the operating system to be used only on LG devices.
LG Web OS vs Android TV OS
Despite being active competitors in the field of smart TVs, both operating systems are drastically different from each other.
Here are a few differences between the two TV-based operating systems, noted cleanly in a chart format:
|Proprietary||Yes; restricted to only LG devices||No; available to use for most OEM manufacturers|
|User Interface||Clean and elegant||Untidy and doesn't utilize space effectively|
|Features||Restricted to what LG enables based on the model||All Android TVs have the same features, irrespective of model|
|Update cycle||Minimal updates, with the focus primarily on future products||Minimal updates|
|App store||LG Content Store||Google Play Store, with the option for third-party stores|
|Assistant||Only voice search is available||Full-fledged Google Assistant is available|
|Controlling using smartphone||Possible; by using the LG ThinQ app||Possible; by using the Google Home app|
|Remote controller||LG Magic remote||Android TV remote|
|Navigation||Easier, thanks to the LG Magic remote's point-and-click functionality||Harder, as it follows the traditional buttons for navigation|
The first thing you would notice when you boot both operating systems is just how different they are in terms of their user interface.
Android TV OS relies on using the old Windows 8 approach in filling up the whole screen with its launcher, which shows you all the relevant information.
The top part of the screen is reserved for the Google Assistant search bar, which can be invoked by simply tapping on it.
Then the menu splits up into two parts, with the smaller left part of the screen showing the apps on the TV and the right part incorporating a card layout.
The cards show the relevant information relating to the application, such as the content you are currently watching and recommended shows.
This layout does waste a lot of space and is rather unappealing to the eye.
Coming to the UI of WebOS is noticeably more cleaner and refined than what Android has to offer.
With the WebOS 6.0 update and above, WebOS moved from its much simpler card layout that takes half the screen, to a full-screen experience.
WebOS now resorts to a card layout too, but each card is arranged beautifully based on recommendations and settings.
The app list is a more refined set of icons arranged horizontally, rather than resorting to Android TV's rather tacky approach of a vertical layout.
This results in a UI experience that is tight and elegant, with not a lot of wasted space.
The app situation is where things take a complete 180 and favor the Android TV side of things.
WebOS TVs have the LG Content Store, from where you can download available applications.
It does have a decent share of applications, with almost all popular applications such as Youtube, Netflix, Disney Plus, etc available.
But in general, the selection is quite lackluster and there ought to be an application or two that you might not find in the store that might prove to be useful someday.
On the other hand, Android TV OS has the Google Play Store, which is one of the biggest application stores in the world.
You have access to countless applications that are made to be compatible across all Android TVs with minimal compatibility issues.
Furthermore, you can also use other third-party app stores such as Aptoide to install applications that are not available on the Google Play Store.
Despite both supporting the feature of sideloading applications using a USB pen drive, the list of apps available for WebOS is tiny compared to what Android offers.
Pricing is a key area for any customer when it comes to getting any commodity, including smart TVs.
If the pricing is not justified, customers simply move on to another brand that offers a similar experience at reasonable pricing.
But this is where both LG and Android TVs stay toe-to-toe, despite employing radically different strategies to stay afloat.
Android TVs, being a universally compatible operating system, rely on ensuring the same software experience no matter how cheap or expensive the hardware is.
In fact, since Google doesn't have a say in how the hardware of the TV is tuned, its universal approach can be both welcoming as well as boring for a lot of folks.
If the software experience stays the same across multiple models of a TV at different price points, there will be no Unique Selling Points (USPs) to hook customers.
But since the experience is pleasant, it also ensures that the customers are in a relatable territory when it comes to upgrading to a newer TV.
LG takes the completely opposite approach in ensuring that its operating system stays locked into only its products.
Since LG is one of the best makers of display panels in the world, they satisfy their customers by bringing quality hardware to the table.
This raises the prices significantly of LG TVs, but in turn, builds brand reputation and overall lasting products.
Users of LG TVs tend to stick to another LG TV when it's due for an update, and the customers justify its high pricing to the quality that they receive.
Despite LG trying its best to stick its foot in the Android space when it comes to smartphones, it couldn't stand next to the stiff competition in that segment.
But when it comes to TVs, LG was one of the first to introduce a smart TV operating system by the name of WebOS and therefore it stands the test of time.
In fact, a lot of people still swear by the sheer usability of WebOS on their LG TVs, despite the Android TVs having an edge when it comes to practical benefits.
I hope my article on putting an end to the question of whether LG TVs are Android TVs has been a helpful read and has aided you with the same.
Have a good day!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can I turn my LG TV into Android TV?
Though you can't natively replace LG's WebOS with Android TV, you can use external devices such as Android TV Boxes or Sticks to add Android TV to your TV via one of its HDMI inputs.
Are Smart TVs worth it?
If you stream a lot of content and use services such as Netflix and Prime Video a lot, then investing in a Smart TV makes more sense than a traditional non-smart TV
Also, since it is the next best step in the TV industry, it will be much easier to find a smart TV than a non-smart TV.
Are Smart TVs intentionally underpowered?
Smart TV manufacturers usually save on costs by using underpowered processors on their smart TVs, thus resulting in an underwhelming and laggy experience
The best way to rectify this is to invest in a well-specced smart TV Box like the Fire TV Cube lineup, which ought to be much more cheaper and powerful than your Smart TV's internals.