LG announces a big, free webOS 2.0 upgrade for last year’s smart TVs

There’s nothing worse than investing in a smart TV that becomes obsolete too soon. You plunk down a couple of Benjamins, expecting software updates and new features for at least a few years, only to learn that the greedy manufacturer’s deprecated your model to push its latest and greatest. Owners of first-gen webOS TVs have probably been anticipating that day, but it thankfully isn’t here yet — LG is pledging to backport key features from the lightning-fast webOS 2.0 system to previous generation (2014) TVs.

Just what do those features entail? Mainly performance and usability enhancements, LG says. The Value Pack Upgrade includes a “more intuitive” layout and shortcuts, reduced boot-up time, and generally improved responsiveness — basically, the majority of the features we love about the latest webOS installment.

In addition, the upgrade adds MyChannels, a sort of favorites bar to which you can pin live TV channels and app channels to the webOS launcher; Quick Settings, an overlay on top of playing content that lets you tweak display settings; and miscellaneous other improvements to the Live Menu.

LG isn’t the first to offer upgrades to owners of older sets — Samsung sells an Evolution Kit for some of its smart TVs — but LG is the first do so at no charge. In comparison, Samsung’s Evolution Kit retails for a wallet-busting $400.

“LG is dedicated to providing the best user experience for the life of our smart TVs,” said LG TV and Monitor Division VP Lee In-kyu in a press release. “A free upgrade of this scale is unprecedented in the smart TV industry and we’re proud to be setting a new standard for smart TV ownership.”

The Value Pack Upgrade comes on the heels of LG’s new smart TV app and content deals. Rdio and iHeart Radio will roll out to webOS 2.0 TVs sometime this month, and the Korea-based company announced a partnership with DirecTV in January that will see subscribers to the satellite provider’s service gain access to 4K programming, following a previously exclusive partnership with Samsung TVs.

Owners of 2014 LG webOS TVs looking forward to the new features shouldn’t have to wait too long: LG says the Value Pack Upgrade will begin rolling out Starting September 21 for owners of webOS 1.0 TVs who’ve enabled automatic updates. (Those who haven’t will get an onscreen prompt guiding them through the process).

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