NVIDIA rolls out Android 9 Pie to Shield TV
Android 9 Pie for the NVIDIA Shield TV has landed.
At least, it did on my Shield TV. So I’m sharing some first impressions with the new apps, and redesigned settings menu from Shield Experience Upgrade 8.0.
For cord cutters, the biggest improvement will be the addition of a new Hulu app with Live TV. Hulu’s Live TV bundle has 65+ channels such as A&E, ESPN and NBC.
The updated Netflix app supports Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 surround sound for audio up to 640 kbps. I’ve been testing a number of sound bars and audio equipment over the last year, so the upgrade was noticeable to me right away. There were a number of subtle additions to background sounds, and the main elements of the audio.
NVIDIA said the improved sound quality rivals professional recording studios. So I’m looking forward to watching a lot more movies.
New NVIDIA Shield apps
XUMO is becoming a free streaming option that’s worth watching. It doesn’t rival Pluto TV’s vast library of movies and original programming. But I found a number of refreshing and unique channels that I’m going to start making time for.
The music section has about a half dozen channels with live concerts from local clubs (Austin Music Live), and music specials. A robust Kids & Family section is a good alternative from YouTube channels. And the news section has CBSN, a channel from Time magazine and the recently launched Law & Crime.
SyFy has some of the latest episodes from shows like Kypton or Nightflyers. No surprise there. What did surprise me was the added networks. Under shows, choose the network option. You’ll be able to access shows or movies from bravo, CNBC, E!, MSNBC, NBC, Oxygen, Telemundo, USA, Universal Kids and Universo. The app lets you filter all the networks into one menu, or search them by genre. So after watching a movie on SyFy, you can watch some episodes of Amazing Stories on the NBC app with very little work. The SyFy app also has a live stream.
Prime Video can now cast in 4K. Fandango Now supports 4K HDR for your Ultra HD rentals. And there are apps for Bravo, E!, USA Network, Lifetime and MotoGP.
Behind the curtain
Android Pie will bring a faster and easier setup process for new Shield owners. Here is a list of other improvements NVIDIA announced:
- Updates “Display and Sounds” advanced setting into two easier to navigate menus.
- Adds option to match content color space (Settings > Display & Sound > Advanced).
- Improves volume dynamic range for USB and bluetooth connected headsets.
- SHIELD TV remote app adds bluetooth assist for pairing and improves connection.
- Enables 720p refresh rate switching on supported apps.
- Adds “Disconnect Bluetooth accessories” option to quick settings.
- IR power control options to customize on/off functionality.
- Option to turn off USB power when SHIELD sleeps.
- Adds option to connect to 2.4GHz or 5GHz Wi-Fi network with shared SSID.
- Latest accessory firmware versions:
- SHIELD controller (2017): v1.30
- SHIELD controller (2015): v1.96/99/3.71/0.32
- SHIELD remote (2017): v1.43
- SHIELD remote (2015): v.1.36
For HDR TV owners, a new feature called Match Content Color Space can automatically switch your display mode to deliver more accurate colors whether you are browsing the home screen or watching your favorite movie in HDR.
Have you tried the new Android 9 Pie for NVIDIA Shield TV? What’s your favorite improvement so far? Tell fellow readers in the comments below. For more news and tips, head over to the main page of The Cord Cutting Report.
Founder and Editor of The Cord Cutting Report. Before launching the site in 2016, he worked for more than two decades as a staff writer or correspondent for a number of daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe. His enthusiasm for tech began with the Atari 2600. Follow @james_kimble