"You probably use your TV regularly to watch content, but is it set for testing customers' apps?"
LG is one of the biggest-selling brands around the world when it comes to Smart TVs. However, their unique operational system called webOS has its own particularities and requires a few steps to set it up if you want to use the device for testing. In order to prevent you from spending hours on the research, we have created this article. The focus of this article will be on the basic steps required to use the LG Smart TV streaming device. A Desktop computer will be required to install apps on any modern LG TV since the ability to install apps via USB sticks was removed by LG in their latest releases. Finally, make sure the desktop computer and the TV are connected to the same network.
Creating a developer account
In order to install apps on an LG Smart TV, you will need a developer account. To do that, you must access the website here, scroll down to the footer, select the correct country/language combination for you, and click on Create Account (or the equivalent in your language). Even if you already have a regular LG account, you must select this option and you can later merge the two accounts if you want to.
After clicking on Create Account, a pop-up will be opened (make sure your pop-up blocker is disabled), and you will be prompted to select the country. Please select the same country your TV was set to. In case your country is not supported, you will also need to select a different one and change it on your TV settings (we recommend selecting the US option). The /Terms of Service/ page will be shown, and you must read and accept all terms to proceed to the next step.
Next, you'll need to enter a USER ID, which can be an email already registered as a regular user or a new one, a Password, and confirm the password. You must also check the "18 years old or older" box. After that, you can click on Check Availability and in case the email is already taken, you will be prompted to merge the accounts. Finally, you can click on Confirm to create the account.
You will need to verify the account using the link provided in the email sent to your inbox. Once you confirm it, your account will be ready to be used, but still, there will be one more step that needs to be completed - activating the developer account.
Installing the Developer Mode app on your LG TV
You will now need to install a special app called Developer Mode in order to connect the TV to your desktop device. The first step is to turn on your LG TV and look for the first-party app store, called LG Content Store (or you will see the APPS icon on your Home screen). Pressing the Home button on your remote usually opens the menu and the store will be shown.
Once you open the store, you must search for the Developer Mode app and install it. After the app is installed, you can run it. The first screen will ask you to enter your User ID and Password. You must use the credentials created in the previous section of this article. Now that you are logged in, you can set the Dev Mode Status and the Key Server to ON. The screen will look like the image below, and you’re ready to connect your TV to your desktop device. Make sure your TV is on for the next steps, and do not leave this page. You will also need the IP Address shown here later in this tutorial (either the wireless or wired one, depending on how your TV is connected to the internet) and the Passphrase.
Installing the SDK package (with the IDE software)
Although the IDE software is not supported by LG anymore, this is still the easiest way to install apps on an LG Smart TV because of the friendly user interface. To install the IDE, you must go to this link here and select the Full package installer version available for your OS. Once the file is downloaded, you must disable all anti-virus software and extract the compressed file to any folder. Now you can open the extracted folder and select the correct installer file to start the installation process.
First, you need to agree with the terms to install this program. Next, the system may prompt you to install an extra software called VirtualBox. Since we will not use emulators, you can select not to install this additional software.
The Emulator option will then be disabled and only the CLI, IDE, and Sublime Plugin will be available. You can change the Installation Directory if you want, but we recommend leaving the default one selected. Finally, make sure only the first three options are enabled and click on Install to start the installation of the components.
After all the selected components are installed, you will see the successful message and can click on Done to exit the program. You will be prompted to restart the computer, and we highly recommend you do it now to avoid problems with the installed software.
Connecting your TV to your computer device
After installing the complete SDK kit on your desktop device, you can open the webOS TV IDE app. The launcher will ask you to provide a folder for your workspace, and you either select any or leave the default one.
After clicking on the OK button, the IDE software will finally be opened. You must look for the Target Configuration tab and click on the New Target Connection button.
On the newly opened window, you must select LG Smart TV using the dropdown menu and give your device a name. For the IP Address, you must enter the same address shown on your TV. You must not change the other four options and leave them with their default values. You can finally click on the Finish button to create a new target connection.
This connection will be shown under the Target Configuration tab. You must then right-click on it and select the option Generate Key. A new modal will be shown where you need to enter the Passphrase shown on your TV.
After adding the correct passphrase, you can click on the *Finish* button. The IDE will look for the available devices and try establishing a connection. Once this step is done, you can right-click again on your newly created Target Configuration to select Connect. When the connection is completed, you must select the *webOS Menu* using the header menu and click on Install IPK.
Finally, you will be able to install the app provided by the customer in your test cycle by clicking on the Browse .. button and selecting the proper .ipk file. Don't forget to select the correct target using the dropdown menu and click on Install. The app will start to install on your TV and once the installation is completed, you will see it in your apps list. You can now open the app and test it.
If you encounter an error while installing the .ipk file via the IDE program, try the following workaround:
Beside the IDE program, download the webOS TV CLI. You can go to the webOS TV Developer website, and download the CLI.
When you download the CLI, navigate to the folder where you have downloaded it and extract CLI.
Open the CLI, navigate to the bin folder, and open CMD in that folder.
In opened CMD type ares-install -D and press Enter on your keyboard. Make sure that you see the previously added TV from the IDE program in the list.
Now you should make your TV as the default device in order that you do not need always to specify target device. Type ares-setup-device and press Enter on the keyboard. After that select the set default option, and then select the name of your TV, after you selected the name of your TV, you should confirm Save by typing Y and pressing Enter on your keyboard. You should see now your TV as the default device.
Now in order to install the app, you can type ares-install add-location-of-the-ipk-file and press Enter on your keyboard - Example of the full command: ares-install C:\Users\Testing\app-for-testing.ipk
The installation should start now, and you should see a Success message when the app is installed.
Extra information about the software and alternatives
Due to security reasons, your developer access will expire after a few hours, as seen in the picture attached to this section. The Remain Session will tell you the time you still have to keep the developer permissions. If you need to extend this time, you can navigate to the Extend button available on the same screen to get more hours to test. Leaving the Clear Cache Data option enabled is not recommended since it will clear the cache for *all* apps, so if you need to clear out the customer’s app cache, your best option is to uninstall the app and reinstall it.
The IDE program can be deleted by any anti-virus software as it is no longer supported by LG. Although all links available here were taken from the https://webostv.developer.lge.com/ website, you can check LG's tutorials and alternative ways to install the apps on your device here. Finally, if you're running an older webOS version, your TV might accept installing apps via USB stick, so give it a try; in case you encounter any unexpected behaviour while following this guide.
How to set up a VPN connection for your LG Smart TV on your Windows 10 PC
The final step in setting up your LG Smart TV device for testing is setting up a virtual router on your desktop device because LG Smart TVs don’t support installing VPN clients directly.
1. The easiest way is to download and install the VPN client on your PC, register, log in, and connect it (works with paid VPN clients like Avast Secure Line, ExpressVPN, NordVPN, privateVPN, or Windscribe).
2. After that, you need to click on the Wifi icon on the Taskbar and click on the Mobile Hotspot to enable it.
3. Now enter the keyword Settings in the Search field and press Enter.
4. Click on the Network & Internet>Mobile Hotspot>Change Adapter Options.
5. Right-click on your VPN Name Network Adapter and then click on the Properties.
6. Switch to the Sharing tab and check the Allow other networks to connect through this computer's Internet connection. When the popup window shows up, click on the OK button.
7. Underneath, you will see a Home networking connection. Click on the drop-down and select Local Area Connection* 10 (or any other number).
8. Click on the OK button to save the settings.
9. Open the Settings of your LG Smart TV device and navigate to Network.
10. Select Wi-Fi Connection.
11. In the list of available wireless networks, select the one you created for VPN and enter your Password.
12. Select Connect.
How to set up a VPN connection for your LG Smart TV on your MacBook
⚠️ Some VPN Services no longer support L2TP/IPsec connections.
Important: You must connect your MacBook to an ethernet cable (This is the only way your MacBook can hotspot the WiFi connection to your other devices). Some MacBooks don’t have an ethernet port, and you need to use the adapter instead. Before setting up your MacBook, login into your VPN client account and obtain the following data: L2TP/IPsec manager@1a7, Password, and server address.
Open System Preferences.
Click on the Network icon.
Click on the + button.
Click on the Interface drop-down and select VPN.
Click on the VPN Type and select L2TP over IPSec.
Enter your VPN service name.
Click on the Create button.
For the Server Address enter the one provided by your VPN client (e.g., xyz.com).
In the Account Name field enter the Username provided by your VPN client.
Click on the checkbox Show VPN status in the menu bar.
Click on the Authentication Settings.
In the Password field enter the password provided by your VPN client; in the Shared secret field enter 1234567 and click on the OK button.
Click on the Advanced button.
Click on the checkbox Send all traffic over VPN connection and click on the OK button.
Click on the Apply button.
Select the VPN network you just created and click on the Connect button.
Go back to the System Preferences and click on Sharing icon.
Click on the Internet Sharing.
In the Share your connections, from the drop-down, select the L2TP/IPsec VPN you created above.
In the To Computers using, select Wi-Fi.
Click on the Wi-Fi Options.
In the popup window, fill in the data as follows: Network Name (Associate it with your VPN for more visibility), don't change anything in the Channel or Security (the default should be WPA2 Personal), and enter the password you like. Confirm the settings by clicking on the OK button.