Customers upset with Nvidia Shield TV’s new Google TV interface with Ads

The Nvidia Shield TV has received an update that changes its classic Android TV interface to the new Google TV interface with ads. The Shield TV’s new interface isn’t the full-fledged Google TV interface found on the 2020 Chromecast, but, rather, it’s the partial Google TV interface with only some aspects of Google’s revamped interface for Android TV devices. One of the few aspects the new interface carries over from the Chromecast to the Shield TV are large ads at the top of the home screen which have upset Shield TV owners enough to flood the Google Play Store with negative reviews that have plummeted the Android TV Home app down to a 1-star rating.

The Shield TV has long been the best Android TV device on the market, but it has a price that matches that prestige. The cheapest model is $149.99 and the Pro model has been as high as $299.99 in the past. Most other popular streaming devices are a fraction of that cost, partially because their price is subsidized. The expectation is that the device will earn its manufacturer revenue through ads and purchases, which makes up for making little to no profit on the sale of the device. The premium price of the Shield TV made a lot of its users believe the device was immune from ads. While that has been the case for many years, it’s no longer the case now that the new Google TV interface has arrived.

Much like the interface of Fire TV and Roku streaming devices, the new Google TV interface for Android TV devices has banner ads that take up a large portion of the home screen. The new interface with ads has been forced on Shield TV owners through an automatic update, but, for now, it can be reverted by uninstalling the Android TV Home app update since it arrived through the Google Play Store, as opposed to through Nvidia’s firmware updates. However, once Nvidia bakes the new interface into its firmware, which will likely happen in the next firmware update, it will no longer be possible to revert back to the ad-free interface by uninstalling the Android TV Home app update.

The former Android TV interface.

As Android Police points out, customers are not happy with the new ads. Countless 1-star reviews have flooded into the Google Play Store listing of the Android TV Home app with complaints about the change, resulting in the app’s overall rating to drop to 1-star. Negative reviews due to the new ads are also flooding into the Shield TV’s Amazon reviews. It’s generally accepted to sell a device with ads from the beginning, like Fire TV and Roku do, because people know what they’re getting into, but it’s another thing to force ads on a device after the fact, in some cases many years after it was purchased.

15 comments
  1. Mjm says:

    “it’s no longer the case now that the new Google TV interface ass arrived.”

    Well, then.

  2. Ujn Hunter says:

    I’ve always thought things like this should be illegal. I mean this for all “Apps” in general… you can’t sell a product without ads and then force an update after people pay for it that includes ads. The entire purpose most people even paid for these Apps or Systems was likely due to NOT HAVING ADS, otherwise they would have happily downloaded FREE ADWARE trash Apps to begin with… Queue the Wambulance posse that for some reason love to stick up for the Corporations…

  3. Juan says:

    So this type or ads are impossible to block simply?. I was ready to buy one Shield TV and now i am thinking again.

  4. Adam says:

    My current strategy, and that of many others, has been to disable Google Play Services, clear the cache and restart. Simple, no more ads and regular interface. Some have said Netflix doesn’t work doing this, I haven’t had that problem. I’m also using SmartTubeNext, so no impact on my YouTube watching either.

    It does prevent app updates, so periodically I’ll need to restart Google Play Services, update whatever is due, and then disable it again. Not much hassle for the sake of a clean interface.

    It remains to be seen if the next firmware defeats this.

  5. Adam says:

    Correct Juan, no way to turn it off.

    I suspect eventually I’m going to transition to another launcher, Wolf or another, as I don’t expect NVidia and Google to yield on this.

    • 6138273993 says:

      wolf is ok but widgets wont work. At least I can’t get [hem to.on)y ko$i on mine gets used. roku is favorite tv again. Nvidia could develop its own TVoS & phone.

  6. Y2Bogus says:

    I’ve been using Wolf Launcher on a Verizon Stream TV box because the forced Verizon UI is garbage wrapped in poop. Works great for what it is.

    The Google TV interface doesn’t bother me terribly because of the ads, it’s moreso the missing customizable rows. Either way, I do understand why people aren’t happy.

    • Volker says:

      I would also use Wolf Launcher, bute unfortunately it doesn’t support the voice control (on AFTV), which is the most used feature by our children…

  7. Russ says:

    I’m in the camp: “the stupid home interfaces don’t bother me much because I spend so little time looking at it”.

  8. EJMax++ says:

    Doesn’t bother me. I don’t mind the opportunity to see what’s new on services to which I don’t subscribe, and I don’t spend much time on the home page anyway. With that said, the changes are not dramatic, and the option to customize the home screen remains. I like the apps page; much better than before. The new Shield/Android UI is still preferable to the Fire TV UI (even with the recent update … which I’m still waiting for on a 2020 Toshiba 4K Fire TV).

  9. Adam says:

    I agree its preferable to FireTV, but that’s damning with faint praise.

    The option to customize the home screen remains, as you said, but it should include the option to turn off the ads for people like me, and on for people like you.

  10. spiffyone says:

    The big issue is, that big ol’ ad at the top of the screen, but also the use of the menu items at the top as well. It’s the same issues I have with the Fire TV interface. The old Android TV UI, while it has some issues, was pretty simple and simple is good. Search bar on top, settings icon as well, favorite apps right below it, watch next below that, channels below that (for each app). That last bit is “ads”, sure, but it’s stuff I’m typically already watching and allows a sort of sneak peak through each app sans having yo launch them first (not offering that is why alternative launchers like Wolf aren’t an ideal solution, IMO).
    tl;dr version: banner ads on the top aren’t desired, nor is foisting them on us. Now, if the banner instead allowed for a complete sneak peak of sorts into each streaming app, like one giant instance of the channels, that would actually be quite nice.

  11. spiffyone says:

    Also, a possible solution to get rid of the issue, at least temporarily until NVidia forces it.

    Go into “Settings”, then “Apps” then “See All Apps” and then “Show System Apps

    Go to “Android TV Home”, force stop, uninstall updates, clear data, and force stop again

    Then back to the system apps list and go to “Android TV Core Services”, uninstall updates and clear data

    Next go to “com.google.android.leanbacklauncher.recommendations”, force stop, delete data, and disable

    Then force stop “Google Play Services” and disable it.

    Restart the device. Go back to system
    apps and enable “Google Play Services” and QUICKLY go into Google Play and turn off automatic updates.

    You might have to log back into your google account in the settings tab on the home screen, and will definitely have to redo your favorites and channels on the home screen. It seems to keep the banner off when I restart the devices, but YMMV.

  12. TechyChris says:

    I have commented on this subject before…everyone is starting to learn they only purchased the “hardware’ with these devices NOT the “software”.
    Not just Nvidia, every device manufacturer.

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