Your original NVIDIA Shield Android TV isn't being left behind

NVIDIA Shield TV (Image credit: Android Central)

With a ton of attention being paid to the new Shield Android TV, some of the biggest questions surrounded how the new model compares to the original. More importantly, everyone wants to know how many of the features of the new model can come back to the old Shield Android TV, and where all of the new peripherals stand in terms of backwards compatibility.

Thankfully we have good news: all is well on the original Shield Android TV front, and you won't be left behind as the new model hits store shelves. Here's what's happening with the original box.

You aren't missing out on hardware

NVIDIA Shield Android TV

The first thing to realize from the get-go is that internally the new Shield Android TV is identical to the model you have right now. Though the outside has shrunk down to take out unused space, the internals of your current box are still great and still top of the line. In fact, you have one benefit over the new model in that you still have an SD card slot for expanding your storage.

Sure the new Shield Android TV is dramatically smaller than the original making it easier to stash away in your entertainment center, but that's hardly a reason to buy it as a replacement for an original. Stick with the current box knowing you have the latest specs still.

All of the new software is coming

NVIDIA Shield Android TV software

Now that you know your hardware isn't out of date, it's important to know that NVIDIA is continuing to support the original Shield Android TV with software updates. The company has committed to releasing the new Android 7.0 Nougat software unveiled at CES 2017 to the original box. And here's a bit of good news: the update is coming the day that the new box begins shipping. While NVIDIA doesn't want ot put a date on it, Amazon listings show (opens in new tab) that release date is January 16 — so you can expect the software to start hitting then as well.

When the software lands on your Shield Android TV you'll get the new interface tweaks, improvements to the gaming system and better performance. You'll also be right in line to get the next software update that'll bring you Google Assistant.

The new peripherals will work

NVIDIA Shield Android TV

NVIDIA has completely redesigned its Shield controller to be smaller, more comfortable and particularly more feature-packed. Its new TV remote also has dramatically better battery life and an IR blaster. Even though you already have a controller and probably a remote with your current box, you can buy the new accessories and they'll work just fine with the current Shield Android TV.

You can turn your original box into the new one with fresh accessories.

You may consider buying the new controller (opens in new tab) as a new primary gaming pad while using your current one as a backup or for multiplayer, but also keep in mind that the new controller enables always-listening microphones for Google Assistant when it comes later this year. NVIDIA has yet to make the new remote available (in fact it's still selling the old model) but when it goes on sale you'll be able to pick it up and get year-long battery life for those times when you don't want to pick up a full controller to navigate.

The new NVIDIA Spot microphone peripheral is also compatible with the old Shield Android TV as soon as it receives its Nougat software update. If you don't want to pick up a new controller to enable always-listening for Google Assistant the new Spot will also do the trick, and it gives you more options in terms of being able to place it somewhere else around the house.

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • And the shield tablet?
  • Is not happening...
  • Nothing in regards to the Shield Tablet has changed as a result of the launch of the new TV box.
  • If it existed, I'd buy it. The first one (two) were awesome.
  • Very happy about the updates on the original shield. Looking forward to jan 16th.
  • SmartThings wasn't explicitly mentioned - will it be available on the old Shield as well?
  • Yup, that's a feature of the new software. You'll have to buy the USB dongle, just like new model.
  • It would be nice if the update will include Amazon Prime (then I would be very happy!)
  • I'm sure it will, but you can already sideload it to your Shield.
  • It does and you can. Yes.
  • I had tried sideloading before, but as I am in the UK this didn't work for me in my region and I haven't tried again since.
    If there is an apk that will work in all regions I would love to know 😉
  • Very good news to here. Ty Andrew
  • Best purchase I've made in a while.
  • Me too.
  • Andrew, will it be possible to list down the difference between 16 GB and 500 GB Shield (other than price and space) ? I heard that Micro SD and IR not available on 16 GB version. Anything else ?
  • I have only heard that micro usb and micro SD aren't available on the new 16 GB. I haven't heard anything about IR not being available on the 16GB. I think that would be a deal breaker for most people. Where did you hear that?
    Edit: I just looked on nVidia's site. Sure enough, no IR receiver on the new 16 GB Shield TV. It is there on the Pro version. What is interesting, and needs to be researched, is that the Pro version looks like it comes with the old remote with the headset jack and no IR blaster, while the 16 GB has no headset jack but comes with the IR blaster on the remote. Seems interesting to me.
  • How about the stand? I want to buy a stand for my old Shield TV and Amazon doesn't sell it. But they do have the new stand available for pre order.
  • Fry's has the old ones in stock. So does micro center. I would think the new one would work with the old one because of the dimensions of the pro model being the same as the old Shield TV.
  • I thought the new Shield TV has a smaller body size?
  • I believe the length is shorter, but I am not sure the other dimensions change. The 500 GB Pro model has the same body size as the old Pro. That is why I think the new stand would work with the older devices. It is possible that it won't, but I bet that it will.
  • Andrew, thanks for the continued coverage of the Shield TV.
    Did they show any deep integration between assistant and shield? Will I be able to request a specific show in a specific app be played? Will a command picked up by my Google Home have the same capabilities/integrations as the Assistant built into the Shield? Or will I have to make sure the correct device heard what I said to get the feature I desire?
  • Where the games at? Also I know some videogames companies would cut out some features and make console revisions smaller but they also lower the price too
  • Good news indeed. I'm still tempted to upgrade to the Pro version though. Gotta try to resist..
  • So are we thinking the Google Assistant feature will be made available to Shield TV's purchased in the UK?
  • Is there no place to get the old one?