The Nvidia Shield is arguably one of the most popular streaming devices for the Android-using crowd, and it’s getting a massive update to start the new year.
The Shield Software Experience Upgrade 9.0 brings the latest version of Android TV 11 to all Nvidia Shield TVs, including the original, which launched in 2015. (Android TV 12 is only available for select devices.)
This update for the Shield TV has been long awaited, mainly because Nvidia never rolled out Android TV 10 due to a lack of useful features. The new Shield Software Experience Upgrade 9.0 comes with several of Android 11’s helpful features. It includes one-time app permissions, which lets you cut off access to things like your location information after initial use. If you’d like to pair your own accessories, the Nvidia Shield now supports pairing an Xbox One controller or Apple TV remote. You can use either peripheral with their respective streaming apps. And if you use a Playstation, Xbox, or Nvidia controller with pressable logo buttons, you can now set them up to launch Stadia on press.
Nvidia is touting Shield’s support for its cloud-based streaming software, GeForce Now. The update adds 4K+HDR support for the GeForce Now RTX 3080 membership (say that in one breath), which gets you access to Nvidia’s library of streaming games. The idea is that the games stream as if you were playing them natively on a machine running an actual GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card.
Audio enthusiasts will notice updates to the Nvidia Shield’s supported codecs, including reduced latency. There is also added support for aptX-compatible Bluetooth headsets, so devices like the Sony WH-1000MX3 headphones can finally link up for wire-free listening. You can see the full details of the audio updates, plus the bugs that were squashed in the Shield Experience 9.0 release notes.
The new features should please Nvidia Shield users, though gamers will have to wait for Android TV 12, which will deliver variable refresh rates and a native 4k interface. Meanwhile, Google’s Chromecast with Google TV has yet to see its Android TV 11 update.