Abstract Titanium dioxide thin films have many interesting properties and are used in various applications. High refractive index of titania makes it attractive for the glass coating industry, where it is used in low-emissivity and antireflective coatings. Magnetron sputtering is the most common deposition technique for large area coatings and a high deposition rate is therefore of obvious interest. It has been shown previously that high rate can be achieved using substoichiometric targets. This work deals with reactive magnetron sputtering of titanium oxide films from TiO x targets with different oxygen contents. The deposition rate and hysteresis behaviour are disclosed. Films were prepared at various oxygen flows and all films were deposited onto glass and silicon substrates with no external heating. The elemental compositions and structures of deposited films were evaluated by means of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, elastic recoil detection analysis and X-ray diffraction. All deposited films were X-ray amorphous. No significant effect of the target composition on the optical properties of coatings was observed. However, the residual atmosphere is shown to contribute to the oxidation of growing films.