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Titan OS: I tried it and it’s shaping up to be a big asset to Philips TVs

Titan OS will be missing a few features when it arrives in May but is easy to use, responsive and has a lot of potential

Philips makes some fantastic televisions, including the five-star Philips OLED808 featured on our roundup of the best TVs.

Its 2024 range includes OLED, MiniLED and direct-lit LED models at various price points, while Ambilight technology and a longstanding partnership with British audio manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins help the brand stand out in a crowded market.

In recent years, its premium TVs have used Google TV or Android TV as their smart operating system, with models lower down the range incorporating Philips’ Linux-based SAPHI OS.

But that’s all about to change. While top-of-the-range models like the OLED+959 and OLED909 will continue to use Google TV, the brand’s more affordable options will pivot to a new operating system, Titan OS.

Titan OS is independently owned and operated but as it stands, will only be available on Philips televisions in 2024. It was announced in January but details were limited.

I’ve since had the opportunity to use the platform and can provide insight into its user experience, features and performance. Everything we know about Titan OS, along with my initial impressions, can be found below.

Titan OS: Which Philips TV model numbers will use it?

  • Philips OLED759
  • Philips PML9009 (The Xtra)
  • Philips PUS8909 (The One)
  • Philips PUS8609
  • Philips PUS8309
  • Philips PUS8109
  • Philips PUS8079
  • Philips PUS8009
  • Philips PUS7009
  • Philips PFS6939
  • Philips PFS6009

Just how many of the Philips TVs listed above will be available in the UK remains to be seen but we know for certain that both The One and The Xtra will be coming to these shores.

The One is Philips’ flagship direct-lit LED model and is due to appear in shops in May, while The Xtra, which has a MiniLED backlight and supports 144Hz refresh rates, is expected to be released in June.

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Titan OS: Layout and features

Because my hands-on time with Titan OS took place in Barcelona, what I saw was a version set up for mainland Europe that used three pages titled “Home”, “Channels” and “Apps”.  There will be a fourth Freeview Play-focused “TV Guide” page in the UK. Aside from that, the core offering will be similar wherever you are, with content at the centre of the user experience.

The “Home” page has content divided into side-scrolling rails, the top of which is “Favourite Apps”. This collates your apps and allows you to order or remove them by selecting the relevant option following a long press on the central button on the TV remote.

While you’re free to move third-party apps around, the first app on the rail will always be “Watch TV”, which takes you straight to broadcast television. I was told there will also be an app icon that pops up alongside this when you connect an external device via HDMI, although I didn’t see this in action. If you have HDMI CEC enabled, the source should be automatically labelled, too.

Titan OS preview: Image of the Titan OS Home page displayed on the Philips PML9009 (The Xtra) TV

The method Titan OS uses to handle app installation is particularly interesting. Although you’re presented with an impressive selection of them when firing up the TV for the first time, they’re not pre-installed. The icons you see are placeholders that serve as launchers for specific services. So, you’ll still need to download apps you plan to use but this takes place in the background when you first launch the app. There are no menus to click through here; simply open the app and the download takes place automatically.

Below the Favourite Apps rail are app-specific rails, and the order in which these appear matches the order your favourite apps are arranged. This lets you tailor what’s displayed very easily: move Netflix to the front of your Favourite Apps rail and it will always be the first streaming service content recommendations are displayed for. Content for individual services is pulled straight from the apps themselves, so will be ordered as the service provider sees fit based on your viewing habits. “Continue watching” will always be the first displayed option, however.

Titan OS preview: Image of the TV remote control for the Philips PML9009 (The Xtra)

On the Channels page, you’ll find an Electonic Programme Guide listing the selection of Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV (FAST) channels and any radio or terrestrial channels available if you have an aerial connection. There’s a specific button on the remote for accessing this page and channels can be searched by category and added to a list of your favourites. That list then appears on the Home page but is locked quite far down it, so requires a fair bit of scrolling to reach.

The third page – Apps – is where you can search for new services. Most of the big players are present and correct, including Netflix, Disney Plus, YouTube and Prime Video, and there’s support for the various HDR formats and Dolby Atmos where applicable. There’s currently no Apple TV+ but Titan told me it is working on bringing it on board.

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Titan OS: Initial impressions

Overall, I was impressed by what I saw and experienced of Titan OS. Content is sensibly laid out, which makes navigation intuitive, and the platform responded quickly and accurately during most of my time with it.

The one notable exception came when using the back button on the remote. This acted differently based on the services I was using: sometimes it worked exactly as I expected, taking me back to the previous page; at other times, it did nothing whatsoever.

The search could be more fleshed out, too. While searching for specific films or shows, the platforms hosting them are aggregated and displayed but don’t show what resolution they’re available in or whether an additional cost is attached. Titan hopes to add these details but it’s unlikely they’ll be present when the first wave of Philips Titan OS TVs hit stores next month. 

There are a few other areas where there’s room for improvement. App provision is wide-ranging but, as noted previously, there’s currently no Apple TV+. As a big fan of shows like Severance and Slow Horses, I find that disappointing but Titan sounded confident about adding it to the list of supported services soon, so fingers crossed.

It’s also a shame that channels you add to your favourites get tucked away near the bottom of the Home page. This is counterintuitive: if you’re specifically selecting them as favourites, you want to be able to get to them quickly rather than have to scroll down multiple rails.

More significant is that Titan will only support one user profile at launch. This means content recommendations will be based on the viewing habits of everyone in your household and there’s nothing stopping kids from ruining the bespoke order of apps you’ve carefully curated. Again, Titan says it’s exploring the possibility of adding multiple user profiles at some point.

That’s a reasonable list of things that need looking at, but I wouldn’t expect a new TV operating system to launch without the odd blind spot, and Titan OS has plenty going for it.

If you don’t use paid-for subscription services, its extensive FAST channel lineup will provide you with lots of free content as long as you’re willing to endure ads. Exactly what that lineup of channels looks like in the UK remains to be seen but the brand is promising 100s of options alongside Freeview Play, which is always a welcome inclusion in my book.

Titan’s content-first approach keeps the journey time from powering up your TV to watching content mercifully brief, and the personalisation options let you circumvent stuff that’s not of interest.

As someone who relies on four or five key apps, I greatly appreciate the ability to declutter the Favourite Apps rail by removing services that will never be used. And the fact that I can order those apps as I please and have that mirrored on the page is great, too.

Titan OS preview: Image of the content rails for specific apps on the Home page

For me, though, Titan’s standout trait is how rapidly it loads apps and channels. I discussed how the installation and loading of apps are handled above and, by reducing the amount of memory used, the OS can go about its business extremely swiftly. After a factory reset of The Xtra TV on which Titan was being demoed, Netflix was downloaded in about seven seconds and accessing the app again took a couple of seconds at most. I can be an impatient man, so the speed with which I could jump into content proved particularly pleasing.

Titan OS was created to take on giants like Google TV, Android TV, webOS and Tizen. While I’m not convinced it has the polish to clash with those heavyweights just yet, it’s laying some very solid foundations and should serve Philips’ 2024 lineup very capably. It has speed, simplicity and customisability on its side and, assuming it’s able to deliver on its plans, could be a real contender.

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