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.
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.