People are streaming more and more, but streaming and traditional TV viewing don’t always play nicely together, even in smart TVs. LG is trying to change that by introducing a new feature to its smart TVs that allows viewers to easily switch between both.
After teasing it last year, LG Electronics USA officially unveiled Channels Plus on Tuesday, a feature in its 2016 smart TVs that aims to seamlessly integrate internet content with broadcast TV. The user can choose between over-that-air (OTA) channels and streaming content without the need to launch a separate app in order to view a specific provider’s programming. Instead, streaming “channels” appear just as a standard TV channel would.
“Channel Plus is a huge step forward in the evolution of Smart TV — and only LG offers it. Users can enjoy nearly 50 quality content choices free of charge on their LG Smart TV, and with webOS 3.0, accessing them has never been simpler or faster,” LG Electronics USA Vice President of Marketing David VanderWaal said in a statement. “By delivering premium Internet content seamlessly with broadcast channels together in the same channel lineup, LG aims to make it easier than ever for consumers to find and enjoy the content they want to watch in one centralized place — whether it’s streaming or broadcast.”
For the time being, the list of streaming partners is fairly small, and you won’t find names like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon next to your TV channels — you’ll need to head to their respective apps for LG’s Smart TVs for that. Instead, users will find free content from companies like Time, PBS Digital Studios, Wired, Saveur, Cooking Light, GQ and Sports Illustrated, as well as multichannel content from BuzzFeed, Mashable, Reuters, FailArmy, and Funny or Die.
Channel Plus is powered by Xumo, a company specializing in offering streaming content on connected devices. The company has previously made similar functionality available on TVs from Vizio, Panasonic, and others, though not as tightly integrated as it is with LG’s Channel Plus.
“It has been truly exciting partnering with LG in developing Channel Plus. This new service represents an important step forward for the OTT [over the top] space by streamlining the viewing experience for the Smart TV user through seamless, native content integration,” Xumo CEO Colin Petrie-Norris said. “The Channel Plus service aligns perfectly with our DNA at Xumo as it delivers free premium programming in an organic and accessible way. With Channel Plus, all the cool content we used to have to search the web high and low for is now aggregated and attractively organized in one innovative solution on LG Smart TVs.”
Channel Plus is available on LG Smart TV’s running the company’s webOS 3.0 platform, which includes its 2016 OLED and Super UHD models. For more information on Channel Plus and whether or not it’s supported on your TV, see the LG website.