The NVIDIA Shield TV, the most popular Android TV set-top box, is now starting to receive the Shield Experience Upgrade 7.0 which updates the device to use Android 8.0 Oreo. Even though this version of Android TV has been available since August of last year, NVIDIA chose to not update their devices until now because there weren’t enough apps that supported the new home screen launcher layout. Now that enough apps have finally added support, NVIDIA feels it’s ready to release the update to users.
This update shifts the Shield TV home screen from being app-focused to being content-focused. Apart from a horizontal row of recommended content at the top, the old home screen was mostly dominated by app icons. Things are now essentially reversed because there is a single row of app icons at the top with numerous rows of content below.
The rows of content, which Google calls “Channels,” are generated by the apps you have installed. This was the issue keeping NVIDIA from releasing this update. If apps didn’t support the new Channel rows, which they initially didn’t, the home Android TV screen would be blank apart from the single row of apps. NVIDIA says the following apps, among others, now support the Channel rows:
- CBS All Access
- Google Play Movies & TV
- Google Play Music
- HBO Now
- Live Channels
- Nvidia Games
- PlayStation Vue
- Sling TV
Channel rows can be moved up or down by scrolling to the far right of a row and pressing the up or down buttons. You can also remove rows completely or add additional Channel rows for each app if the app developer provides the option.
NVIDIA has also added several handy remote shortcuts to help navigate around the new interface. Those shortcuts are:
- Hold Home button to see All Apps
- Double press Home button to bring up Recent Apps
- Hold Back button to bring up Settings
- Hold Select button on content to add it to the Play Next row
- Hold Select button on apps to move or delete them
In addition to the App row at the very top, there is a Play Next which any app you have installed can use to insert content. It can best be thought of as a row of recent content, similar to the Recent row on the Fire TV interface. The new Android TV interface, overall, now more closely resembles the Fire TV interface, due to the new rows of content. The NVIDIA Shield TV update is slowly rolling out to devices now, but it may be several days before all devices receive the update.