Android TV, the operating system of Google for televisions, can be found on the televisions of Philips, Sony, TCL and Sharp. The first version, launched in 2014, was based on Android 5 (Lollipop). We are now ready for version 9 (Pie). We give you a comprehensive overview of the possibilities of Android TV 9 (Pie) on a Philips TV.
We publish separate backgrounds about Android TV for each brand, since the menus and options can vary considerably. This guide is based on a Philips 55OLED804 television with firmware 001.001.114.002. View our tips and advice for Android TV backgrounds from other brands.
Android TV 9 (Pie) – Installation
In the last steps you select your country, set a pin code and if desired activate the Philips Smart TV apps and associated usage conditions.
If you use the built-in tuners (terrestrial, cable or satellite), then you tune in the channels as a last step. Before you get started, Philips shows you another screen in which it explains how you can best use your OLED TV to prevent burn-in (of course only on OLED TVs).
Android TV 9 (Pie) – Home Screen
The Home screen of Android TV 9 remains almost completely unchanged compared to Android TV 8. It fills the entire screen, a choice that we continue to regret somewhat. The lighter approach of LG and Samsung, where a large part of the image remains visible, is still our preference.
At the top of the screen on the right you will find a number of icons. If Android TV has something to tell you, it will show how many notifications there are. Just click on that icon and you will see what is going on, like in this case the network failure.
If there are no messages, the first icon at the top right is that for the inputs. The list of inputs not only contains the HDMI connections, but also the TV channels, a link to the USB and network media player, but also apps such as VLC and Google Play Films. Unfortunately, we found no way to remove those apps, or to change the order.
By right clicking you also immediately see all TV channels, and another click to the right brings you directly to the TV.
HDMI connections can give you a different name and icon by selecting the input in the menu (there is a yellow circle next to it with a ‘+’ symbol) and pressing the ‘+’ key on the remote.
The gear icon is of course the shortcut for the settings menu. On a Philips device this leads to a general menu, where you will find all other settings, including the Android settings, in addition to image and sound.
The rest of the screen is occupied by the Android TV ‘channels’.
Android TV 9 (Pie) – Channels
The first row is the list of apps, with a number of ‘content channels’ per application. This can be, for example, Netflix, YouTube or Spotify, but also the built-in TV tuners. Theoretically, any app that offers content can appear there, but the app must of course support this. Some apps also offer multiple channels. For example, you can install the Trending and / or the Recommended channel on YouTube.
Theoretically, channels can also show preview video or audio, simply by selecting a tile, but that didn’t work for any channel.
The first channel that appears is ‘Play Next’. This is where theoretical films end up that you have not yet fully seen, the next episode of a series, and so on. In other words, Google offers you the things that you think you want to look further into. The content in “Play after” can come from different sources and can be set (see below). Unfortunately we never saw the ‘Play after’ channel.
To add (or remove) channels, click on ‘Change channels’ at the bottom of the home screen.
You will then get a list with all apps that offer one (or more) channels. Please note, some apps only appear in the list when you are logged in to this app (eg Deezer), or after you have launched them once.
If an app offers multiple channels, you can also select which channels there are. should appear on your home screen. At the top you can also select which apps can place content in ‘Play After’.
You decide the order of the channels on the screen completely (only the first row is fixed for the apps and the second for ‘ play now ‘). Go to the channel you want to move, Click on the arrow to the left, until you see the white sphere with an arrow up and down. A click, and you can move the channel.
If you go one step further to the left (the sphere with the minus sign), you can also remove the channel here.
Android TV 9 (Pie) – Useful apps
The apps take place at the top of the screen, the row that you find there can be seen as your favorites. If you want to see all installed apps, select the “Apps” icon and press ok.
At the top you will find the Google Play store and the Games store, where you can of course look up and install new apps. Below that a grid with all installed apps. Clicking starts the app, but if you press and hold the OK key on an app, the options screen appears. You can change the location of the apps, add or remove them from the favorites list (which appears on the Home Screen), and possibly remove them. You can also adjust the list of favorite apps on the Home screen in this way.
We consider these apps to be a good start selection for everyone.
- Streaming services video: Netflix , YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play movies, Rakuten TV
- Streaming music services: Spotify, Deezer, Google Play Music
- BE services: VTM Go
Crunchyroll: for fans of Japanese animation, Crunchyroll is an absolute must.
Airscreen: If you are an Apple user and you want to use AirPlay, install this App.
Steam Link: have you have a large library of Steam games on your PC? You can play them on your television using Steam link, this requires the use of a game controller.
Kodi / Plex / VLC: the built-in media player is often fine, but for even more options and broader audio support and video formats there is VLC. If you want to convert the television to a real media library, install Kodi. An excellent alternative is Plex.
If you have recommendations for cool apps, let them know in the comments.
A special mention for the Android TV remote app. It is very limited in functionality, but is pretty handy if you don’t want too much hassle. The app offers a d-pad and touchpad, each with a microphone button above it and a button for Back, Home and Play / Pause below.
Philips also has its own app, “Philips TV Remote App. It offers more functionality.
Android TV 9 (Pie) – Chromecast
Chromecast is a streaming protocol that allows you to do various things. With apps that support Chromecast, you can browse the range on your smartphone and then by clicking the Chromecast symbol, send the content to your Android TV. The smart thing about Chromecast is that you don’t send the entire movie, but only a link. The TV then receives the content itself. You can continue to use your smartphone. Install the Google Home App for a list of compatible apps. (or view here )
Another option is to send the entire smartphone screen to the television (mirroring or mirroring). You do that best from the Google Home app, which automatically finds compatible televisions on your network. You can also freeze through the Android settings on your smartphone, but unfortunately every manufacturer hides it in a different place.
Android TV 9 (Pie) – Tips for the Android settings menu
The Android settings are hidden in the general Philips menus. Select the gear at the top right of the Home Screen, and then navigate to “Android Settings.” Below you will find two items: “Accounts and login” where you manage the Google accounts, and “Device preferences” where you can find the actual Android settings. We give you some useful tips.
- Here you will find all the information about your TV in case something should go wrong and you need support.
- Here you can block foul language so that the Google Assistant doesn’t respond to it, and filter out child-unfriendly search results.
- “Searchable Apps”: here you determine in which apps the Google Assistant can look for search results.
‘Security and Restrictions’
- ‘unknown sources’: those who wish to install apps from sources other than the Google Play Store (the so-called ‘Side-loading’) must use those apps give the necessary permission here.
- “Subtitles”: Here you can adjust the subtitles. Very interesting on devices where subtitling in dark scenes leads to a watered-down contrast. Click on “Subtitles” and select “Custom” at the bottom.
- Then you can set all kinds of things yourself. A possible start is: text color white, transparency of text 50%, display background, background color black, and transparency of background 50%
Android TV 9 (Pie) – Software updates
A television receives improvements or new features via software updates. For Android TV you even get a new version of the operating system. The television will occasionally tell you that there is a new version, but you can also start that process manually.
Go to the settings (via the gear on the Home screen), and select ‘Update software at the bottom of the settings. “. In this menu you can check if there is new software and install it via “Search updates” (Internet or USB). Also check whether “Automatic software updates” has been activated.
Android TV 9 (Pie) – Voice commands
Android TV comes with the Google Assistant built in. That means you can ask a lot of questions. In most cases, Google Assistant detects whether we speak Dutch or English. He certainly does not always do it flawlessly, but the result is usable.
Whether or not you get to see what you are looking for is not entirely guaranteed either. At least you will see YouTube results.
“Is it going to rain in Antwerp today?” Gave us the weather forecast for Antwerp.
“Stranger Things” provided information about the well-known Netflix series, a key to direct the series. start, an overview of the cast, related programs and a number of YouTube links.
Searches also look in the program guide when you share them. We searched for the well-known Belgian quiz series ‘Blocks’, and series such as ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and ‘Friends’.
We received general information about the series, and when you scroll down on the result screen we also saw when episodes can be seen on TV. Here too there was often information about the cast or related series.
“Science Fiction Films” provided a nice list of films of which in some cases you could only watch the trailer on YouTube, but if it is available in Google Play or on Netflix that was also mentioned.