Nvidia Updates Shield Android TV to Android 9 Pie


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Nvidia launched the original Shield Android TV box in 2015, and it’s still amazingly well supported. After all these years, Nvidia is rolling out an update to Android 9 Pie. The new build is appearing on Shields all over the world right now, bringing new HDR features, enhanced program suggestions, and more. 

There are two versions of the Shield, and both are getting the update because they’re virtually the same on the inside. The 2015 box was a little larger and came bundled with the game controller 100 percent of the time. The 2017 re-release is smaller and is available with the remote only for those who don’t want to play games. Both versions of the Shield have the Tegra X1 ARM chip, the same piece of silicon powering the Nintendo Switch. 

Confusingly, the Shield’s new update is “Shield Experience 8.0,” but the underlying Android version is Pie (Android 9). Android 9 on phones included a number of major design changes, but the Android TV UI has changed in less obvious ways. Setting up Android TV on Pie is much less painful, for example. The autofill API now brings in account details from your other devices, and the Shield will know Wi-Fi passwords you’ve already used on a phone or tablet. 

shield

Nvidia offers support for HDR 10 on the Shield and has for several years. The Pie update includes a new HDR feature called Match Content Color Space that automatically adjusts display modes on the fly to make colors more accurate in various scenarios — even just scrolling through the home screen. Nividia is also adding new integrations with the Hulu app, which itself just got a major update on Android TV. That was actually the first update of the Hulu Android TV app in about four years. It supports Hulu’s live streaming service now, and that content will appear in the Shield’s recommended channel UI. 

Your day-to-day experience with the Shield might not change dramatically after the update, but that’s a good thing. Nvidia is maintaining this piece of hardware better than any other Android device of which I’m aware. Even though it’s running behind on updates with Android Q coming soon, it’s still been supported for more than four years. If only you could expect that from Samsung when you buy its latest $1,000 smartphone. The Shield is still on sale today (in its second incarnation) starting at $180.SEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce

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New Nvidia Shield TV Box Passes Through the FCC


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Google announced Android TV years ago, but only a few device makers even attempted to make boxes running the software. Some, like Razer, saw their efforts fall flat. Nvidia has seen some success with its line of Shield Android TV boxes, and a new version may have just visited the FCC. The FCC docs call this mysterious piece of hardware the “NVIDIA Corporation SHIELD Android TV Game Console P3430.”

Nvidia has produced two revs of the Shield Android TV. The first one launched in 2015 with a remote and a game controller. In 2017, Nvidia launched a new version of the console with a smaller footprint and the option of purchasing without a game controller. Based on the limited data in the FCC filing, the new Shield doesn’t look like a radical change. 

Both existing versions of the Shield run on the Nvidia Tegra X1 chip. That’s an eight-core ARM chip with four Cortex A57 cores and four Cortex A53 cores. You’ll notice those CPU designs are a few years old. Nvidia hasn’t made major changes to the Tegra X1, but it does still have an impressive custom Maxwell GPU. That’s probably why Nintendo chose it for the Nintendo Switch. 

The regulatory label for the new Shield from the FCC docs.

According to the FCC filing, the new Shield will have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which is not exactly a shock. There aren’t any images of the hardware, either. All we can really glean from the FCC report is that there’s a new Shield, and it’s probably coming soon. A 2019 launch would fit with the previous two-year update cycle, too. 

The new Shield is rumored to have the Tegra X1 T214 processor. That’s the same variant Nintendo is using in the upcoming Switch Lite and the improved SKU of the classic Switch. It has the same configuration, but design improvements should make higher clock speeds and lower temperatures feasible. 

While the Shield is an Android TV box, one of its primary reasons for being is to push Nvidia’s GeForce Now game streaming service. Nvidia has been trying to make this work for years, but it might be running out of time now that Google is on the verge of launching Stadia.

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