10 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Nvidia Shield TV

10 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Nvidia Shield TV
Image: Nvidia

The Nvidia Shield TV has been flying the Android TV flag for many years at this point, and through regular updates, it has remained one of the very best gadgets running Google’s TV operating system. If you have one of these set-top boxes under your TV, here are some tips and tricks to make the most out of it.

1. Attach a keyboard and mouse

Attaching a keyboard and mouse to your Nvidia Shield TV device can make entering passwords and search terms much easier, as well as improve the gaming experience in many titles. If you’ve got a model with USB ports, you should be able to plug peripherals straight into the back of the device and start using them after a few seconds.

Every Shield TV model supports wireless Bluetooth connections. You can add a keyboard and mouse this way via Remotes & Accessories and Add accessory in the Settings menu. Anecdotally, some input devices seem to work better than others, so it’s worth researching keyboards and mice that are known to function properly with the Shield TV boxes.

2. Find your remote

If you have one of the newest models of the Nvidia Shield TV or the Nvidia Shield TV Pro with the triangular-shaped remote, you can get it to make an audible beep if you’ve lost it. This is easiest on the cylindrical Nvidia Shield TV, where you can just press the dedicated remote finder button above the HDMI port to get the remote to beep.

On the Nvidia Shield TV Pro, you need to open Settings and choose Remotes & Accessories, SHIELD accessories, SHIELD remote 1, and Find this remote. As you’ve lost the remote, obviously, you’ll need to get to this menu by plugging in a mouse (see above) or by using the Android TV Remote Control app for Android or iOS to control the Shield TV.

Screenshot: Android TV Screenshot: Android TV

3. Remap the remote

If you don’t like the default functions of the remote control that came with your Nvidia Shield TV for whatever reason, then you can change them around. The Menu button (the three horizontal lines) can be reprogrammed out of the box: From Settings, choose Remotes & Accessories, then Customise Menu button to pick a new function.

For the rest of the buttons, including that one with the Netflix label on it, you need to install the ever-useful Button Mapper on your device. We’ve used this on many different pieces of Android hardware, and it’ll let you remap any button on the remote. Some buttons can be edited for free, while others require a paid upgrade before they become accessible.

4. Rearrange the home screen

You don’t have to settle for the default look of the Android TV home screen on the Nvidia Shield TV. Make sure your favourite apps and content are front and centre and you can spend less time scrolling and more time watching (or playing). For example, select an app from the main list on the left, then navigate left to find the Move and Remove options.

Long pressing the select button in the navigation wheel is helpful here. On the main favourite app list row at the top, for instance, it lets you move the position of an app shortcut or hide it from this row completely. Meanwhile, you can scroll all the way to the bottom of the home screen and select Customise channels to choose which apps you see.

Screenshot: Android TV Screenshot: Android TV

5. Quickly switch between apps

If you’re serious about your binge watching then you might often want to switch between different streaming apps. The Nvidia Shield TV offers a quick and intuitive way to do this, though it’s not immediately obvious — if you double-tap on the home button (with the white circle icon in it), you’ll bring up a quick switch screen showing recently opened apps.

6. Take screenshots of games and more

Should you have to snap something on the screen of your Nvidia Shield TV, you can do this with a long press of the home (white circle) button. First of all though, you need to enable this overlay: From the main Settings screen, pick Device Preferences, System, and turn the Nvidia Share option to On.

Screenshot: Android TV Screenshot: Android TV

7. Tweak the external brightness and internal performance

If the green LED swish on the front of the Nvidia Shield TV Pro is a little bit too bright for your tastes, you can easily dim it. Open up Settings then choose Device Preferences, System and LED brightness, and you can pick from High, Medium, Low, or Off. If the box is causing an unnaturally bright glow in your room, then this is how you can fix it.

On the same System menu in Device Preferences, you can adjust the Processor mode setting to either Max performance or Optimised. You might want to turn this down if you want to save on the energy your box is using up — you only really need the high performance mode if you’re running games locally from the Nvidia Shield TV device itself.

8. Enable GameStream

The Nvidia Shield TV is an excellent gaming machine. Not only can it tap into the GeForce Now cloud streaming service, but it can also stream games from a compatible Windows PC somewhere else on the local network using a feature called GameStream. Open up the Nvidia Games app on your Shield TV, and GameStream PCs is on the Settings row.

You need to do some prep work on your Windows computer as well, assuming it meets the standards for compatibility (most GTX and RTX GPUs are going to work). You need to have the latest GeForce drivers installed, and the GeForce Experience utility running. In that utility’s settings, make sure GameStream is enabled on the Shield page.

Screenshot: Android TV Screenshot: Android TV

9. Sideload Android apps

You won’t find all the Google Play Store apps available on the Nvidia Shield TV, because they haven’t all been optimised for Android TV. To get other apps on board the device, you need to sideload them, which is actually easier than it used to be. Numerous apps can help you out with this, but one of our favourites for the job is the freemium File Commander.

You can use Google Drive via File Commander to move APK (Android Application Package) files over to the Nvidia box. Get the APK for any app from a trusted, recognised source like APKMirror. The first time you try and open an APK in File Commander, Android TV will prompt you to confirm that the file manager is authorised to install “unknown apps.”

10. Test out AI upscaling

The latest Nvidia Shield TV models do an impressive job of scaling up lower resolution video sources by default, but they also offer an ‘AI enhanced’ upscaling option that attempts to intelligently insert detail into frames as well as making them larger. It can improve a lot of videos, and you can even do a side-by-side comparison on your device.

From the device Settings screen, choose AI upscaling, then pick AI-Enhanced. There are three levels of enhancement to pick from High, Medium, and Low. Make sure to also turn on the Enable demo mode toggle switch to begin with, which lets you press the Menu button on the remote (the three horizontal lines, top right) to see a side-by-side view.