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LG Unveils Web-Connected TV Running WebOS Acquired From HP

LG Electronics 84
LG Electronics 84" Class Ultra High Definition 3D TV with Smart TV. Photographer: LG Electronics

Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- LG Electronics Inc. unveiled its first Web-connected television that runs on the software platform it acquired from Hewlett-Packard Co. last year.

The world’s second-largest maker of TVs, which showcased the new set at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, bought the WebOS operating system for an undisclosed amount. The rebuilt platform, which was originally developed by Palm Inc., will feature in more than 70 percent of LG’s smart TVs this year, the company said in an e-mailed statement.

LG, based in Seoul, South Korea, is vying with Samsung Electronics Co. to gain a greater share of the market for smart TVs that access the Internet as consumers opt for video services from providers such as Netflix Inc., Hulu LLC and Amazon.com Inc. Once the world’s third-largest handset maker, LG has fallen behind in the smartphone race after missteps and the arrival of Apple Inc.’s iPhone in its home market.

Although operating systems from Apple and Google Inc. dominate the global mobile industry, there are no dominant software platforms for TVs.

Among the features, LG will introduce a left-to-right scrollable menu, running along the bottom of the screen, to help users simultaneously watch a show, play a game or browse the Internet while searching or downloading content. The TVs will also offer access to LG Store’s collection of applications including most-viewed games and channels, it said.

Separately, LG said it will release 12 new TV models this year with ultra high definition display technology. The new sets, powered by WebOS, will deliver programs from streaming service Netflix, the company said.

The arrangement starts with the Feb. 14 debut of the second season of “House of Cards,” featuring Kevin Spacey, Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings said from the stage, where he joined LG executives to make the announcement.

An Ultra-HD television is required to handle more efficient streaming technology, although Sharp Corp. today said its new, near Ultra-HD set can accommodate such content.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jungah Lee in Seoul at jlee1361@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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