Nvidia Shield TV update to Android 11 begins rolling out

After several hints leaking regarding its inevitable arrival, the Android 11 update for Nvidia Shield TV devices is now rolling out. Shield Experience 9.0, as it’s officially called, is coming to all Shield TV models, including the original 1st-gen devices released in 2015. While the update makes very few customer-facing changes, its real value is in stretching the longevity of Shield TVs even further by ensuring app developers don’t stop supporting the device due to it running an old version of Android.

The original Shield TV was released in May 2015, which means Nvidia has been supporting it with updates for just over 6 and a half years. For comparison, the original Fire TV was released in April 2014 and officially lost software support this year. The last update that I’m aware of it receiving was in September 2021, which was about 7 and a half years after it was released. The 2nd-gen Fire TV, released in October 2015, was last updated last month in December 2021.

While the software support longevity between Amazon and Nvidia are on par with one another with regard to the amount of time the devices continue to receive updates, a significant difference between Amazon and Nvidia’s updates is Amazon’s lack of updating the core Android version. All of Amazon’s pre-2017 models are still running an OS based on Android Android 5.1. While Amazon has continued to add updates and features that keep older models fairly on par with the features of newer models, those updates simply don’t get the notoriety as updates to the core version of Android, like the Shield TV is rightly receiving right now.

Even though this Shield TV update to Android 11 makes little to no difference in actual device usage, it goes a long way to ensure app developers don’t neglect older Shield TV models. App developers will often draw arbitrary lines for which device models they will support with their app based on the version of Android running on the device. Updates to the version of Android help to keep the device supported by all apps, even if the update itself adds little to no actual value.

Below is Nvidia’s list of changes and highlights brought on by the Shield TV update to Android 11:

  • Updated Gboard (Google Keyboard) with better support for voice and Google Assistant.
  • Additional privacy permissions, like “only this time” options, for temporary permissions.
  • Adds support for aptX-compatible Bluetooth headsets.
  • Adds option to automatically disconnect Bluetooth devices on sleep.
  • Adds new Energy saver setting for additional power customization.
  • Adds option to match content audio resolution.
  • Adds Stadia button support to XBOX, Playstation, and SHIELD controllers.
  • Adds support for GeForce RTX 3080-class cloud gaming through Nvidia’s GeForce Now service.
  • Adds support for Dolby Vision in Google Play Movies & TV app.
  • Adds support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos in Apple TV app.
  • Adds IMDb TV app.
  • Adds iQiyi app.
  • Includes Android security patch level September 2021.

28 comments
  1. John St Martin says:

    Very interested in new update for Nvidia TV.

  2. 666 says:

    Finally 4k UI! Actually no, it’s just 2022, way to early for that. At least Auto Frame Rate system wide! Nope, that neither. More pathetic than an Android TV update, only the people that get excited over them.

  3. Chris says:

    Nice to see an article that acknowledges Amazon’s lack of core OS updates for the older devices. The second gen AFTV box with ethernet is a pretty powerful little box but it’s gotten more buggy as time passes. I attribute this directly to it not getting core OS updates. It’s why I’m switched to using a Chromecast TV recently.

  4. Adam says:

    Just got it an hour ago. It didn’t toast my system and everything is working with it, so I’m happy with the update.

  5. Adam says:

    666, as you said, there is no system wide automatic frame rate switching. If frame rate matching is a need for you, as it is for me, there are two easy options. The first involves the app you’re using implementing automatic frame rate switching, as Kodi and SmartTube Next do. This effortlessly works well for me.
    For apps that haven’t implemented that capability, like Netflix or Prime for instance, you can have the Shield match the frame rate by starting the video and then activating the “Match frame rate (beta)” function from the drop down Settings. Its been around, and in “beta”, forever. Not as convenient as system wide automatic switching would be to be sure, but I just set the Menu button on the remote to activate it with a long press, so I don’t really suffer too much.

    As to having the UI be 4k, no, it looks like if that’s a feature that’s really important to you, you might have to look for another device.

    • 666 says:

      The other day I’ve tested scrolling through YouTube, a Google owned app, on a Google owned OS, android tv, using a Shield Pro 2019. Did the exact same thing on a Roku smart soundbar, a fire stick max and an apple tv 4k, the previous version. The shield scrolling speed is pretty much equal to the stick and the Roku, the apple is easily 3x faster. I own the latest shield, owned the previous one, it has qualities but for streaming the performance is just embarrassing.

      • Applejackson75 says:

        Weird. What are you streaming with? I have zero issues on the old hardware even before this update. I do want to get the new version for the Dolby Vision support though. It looks all pink and green on the old one.

      • Daz says:

        Performance can be improved by changing the transition and animation speeds in the developer settings or by downloading the TDUK Speed apk.

        Apple TV is a piece of dogsh!t compared to the Shield, lol.

  6. Adam says:

    Hmm, I use SmartTube Next rather than Youtube, so I can’t speak to video thumbnail scrolling speed in the Youtube app. I guess, again, if that’s a feature that is really important to you, then it sounds like you want an Apple TV. I’ll remember that recommendation when someone says they’re primarily looking for fast video thumbnail scrolling in a device.
    As to streaming, I don’t know, with the AI upscaling and ability to handle high bit rate rips (Pro only, imo), the rate switching we were just talking about, Kodi compatibilty, etc, it really has been a great steamer for me.

    • Ginandbacon says:

      I don’t like the fact that the ATV4K It will output PCM. They do a good job but I notice a difference in audio quality compared to the Shield Pro 2019 when bit streaming audio, especially Atmos embedded in a TrueHD or DTS-X embedded in a DTS-MA signal. Atmos is just metadata for spacial sound in a DD+ signal or TrueHD (lossles format). All streaming services embeds Atmos in DD+.

  7. ROBERT O BAILEY says:

    Did the update and my audio was messed up and it ran slow until I did a reboot.

  8. Ssspacman says:

    I can not acces my saves files aymore since this uppdate. Tivimate backup/restore files are the most important files for me.

    Not happy.

  9. Dean G says:

    Applied the upgrade and now I get no sound after the sheild pro wakes from sleep and have to reboot. Hopefully the little bugs get ironed out

  10. Mario Ray Mahardhika says:

    It’s buggy, unfortunately. My external drives no longer shows media files and instead the system makes standard Android folders (Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos, eyc.) on them. Sounds like a broken mounting system to me. Fortunately, the files are actually still there.

  11. Sanda74 says:

    Not good update at al
    Only WiFi connection is working after the update
    Can’t be connecte to the Internet with cable

  12. Maria dos Anjos says:

    Sou gestora comercial da nós deixe o seu contacto para o ajudar a fazer o seu contrato com a nova Nvidia Shield
    .

  13. Maria dos Anjos says:

    Sou gestora comercial da nós deixe o seu contacto para o ajudar a fazer o seu contrato nos com a nova Nvidia Shield
    .

  14. EJ says:

    Broken Plex Server here, and Plex support is recommending server downgrade via sideload. SMH.

  15. Simon says:

    Yeah it socks. YouTube and other apps now freeze in 4K.

  16. Adam says:

    https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/geforce/forums/shield-tv/9/481782/shield-experience-upgrade-90-known-issues/

    Known issues for this new version.

    It looks like the problem with USB mounted files is due to a change in how USB file mounting is handled between Android 9 and Android 11, and that Nvidia had Android 11 to work with before a lot of the app developers, hence, some of the apps are expecting the version 9 way of doing things and this is causing the problems.

  17. MouseToggleGuy says:

    Mouse Toggle is working but it won’t let me click anything. Great.

  18. Adam says:

    Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Kodi (with a NAS) are all rock solid for me, but my third-party Youtube app, which hasn’t been updated since this Shield update dropped is prone to hard crashes requiring a power-loss induced reboot if I get too ambitious with my video rewinding. Voice search in that particular app is also borked, Gboard’s voice input works as a fallback but I’m hopeful that the app author is working on an update.
    Nvidia has been troubleshooting by surgically dropping hotfixes for any users that ask for them and initial reports are good, but there are some Plex folks that are still having some problems.
    Honestly, the growing pains of this upgrade is making me understand their decision at the time to just skip the Android TV 10 upgrade with its unremarkable user-apparent improvements.

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