Most Philips Android TVs will get a completely revamped user interface starting in November when Oreo starts rolling out gradually to the 2016, 2017, and 2018 TV models.
Oreo for Philips Android TV
Android Oreo is the arguably the most significant software update since Google announced its Android TV project. The new version features a completely revamped user interface that puts content front and center on the home screen.
It has taken more than a year to prepare the software that was released by Google last autumn. Piotr Herod, Smart TV Manager at TP Vision, said that “our first priority is stability” and added that TV manufacturers need extra time to integrate tuner functionality with each new version of Android.
He conceded that previous rollouts have been problematic but Philips is hoping to avoid issues this time around. The company will start with a small scale rollout (1000 to 2000 devices) in a few countries to evaluate the results, after which the software will be released gradually to more devices and in more regions.
- “The rollout will start in November and continue until the end of the year – first quarter for some devices,” Piotr Herod told FlatpanelsHD.
2016 Philips Android TVs (models ending on 01) will be first to receive the Oreo update. Next in line will be 2017 (models ending on 02) and 2018 (models ending on 3) Android TVs that will receive the update simultaneously. Dual tuner models, meaning OLED803 and OLED903, will be the last to receive the Oreo update.
Philips released its first Android TVs in 2015. These sets will not be updated to Oreo.
Besides a revamped user interface, Android 8 Oreo introduces a ‘Play Next’ feature that highlights and recommends new content. TV manufacturers are not allowed to change the interface but they are allowed to add their own content rows. Oreo will include a Philips-centric content row. Users can move or remove rows as they please.
Android Oreo is finally starting to emerge on TV devices, albeit slowly. Nvidia first released the update in May 2018 but had to postpone the full rollout due to some users experiencing technical issues. Hisense has launched an Android TV with Oreo and Sony will release its first TVs with Android Oreo next month.
Google Assistant on TV
Google Assistant will arrive on Philips TVs with the Oreo update. It will work on 2017 and 2018 Philips Android TVs only, the company said.
At IFA 2018, the company demonstrated how Assistant can be used in conjunction with connected home devices and a Google Home speaker. Assistant will also let you search for content and control video playback (play, pause etc). Check out this video demonstration from January 2018, if you want to see it in action.
At launch, Google Assistant will support English and French. Support for more languages will follow in the future.
2018 Philips Android TVs also support Amazon Alexa voice control.