One of the big downsides of smart TVs is that sometimes we get the same issue that's long plagued smartphone buyers: sometimes the manufacturers' software support ends long before the end of the device's useful life, so you don't get the latest improvements, bug fixes or app updates. So it's good to see LG pledging several years of support for its 2024 webOS TVs.
The news is part of the launch for LG's new 2024 QNED TVs, which you can find out more about here. One of the selling points is what LG calls "webOS Re:New", a program where LG will offer upgrades to its webOS smart TV platform free of charge until at least 2028. The program also applies to some existing LG 8K TVs from 2022 – but not 2023, because LG didn't launch any 8K webOS TVs this year.
Why software support matters with smart TVs
Software is one of the key ways in which TV companies differentiate their products from their rivals, and smart TV operating systems can be a crucial deciding factor in what TV you end up buying. And as we said in our guide to the best LG TVs, webOS is one of the best such operating systems: "the webOS smart TV platform on LG TVs [is] fantastic, with a sleek and polished interface alongside good app support."
The problem with software is when manufacturers lose interest in it. In fairness that usually takes a long time – as we recently reported, Sony is pulling Netflix app support from some TVs and Blu-Ray players but they're pretty old ones – but problems can occur long before there's any official end to software support: as an enthusiastic early adopter of smart TVs I've had TVs effectively become obsolete in front of me as manufacturers switch from one OS to another and stop improving or updating the software in my TV. Apps get slower and less reliable, minor but annoying bugs don't get fixed... you get the idea.
That means it's good to see LG making a promise like this: if you're always looking for the best home entertainment experience you probably upgrade your TV within that five year period anyway, so you can be confident that your smart TV software will last as long as your hardware.
And if you're in the market for a new TV, it's another important issue worth checking before you decide which manufacturer best deserves your cash.
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Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.