Should you update your NVIDIA Shield TV to Android Oreo?

Android TV interface
Android TV interface (Image credit: Android Central)

The question popped up now that the Shield TV update is pushing out again, so let's answer it. Should you update a perfectly good NVIDIA Shield TV to the Shield Experience 7.0, which among other things includes an update to Android 8.0 Oreo? (Yes, it's annoying that NVIDIA's versioning doesn't match Android's but we'll all have to get over that.)

The short answer is that, yes, it's worth updating. At the very least it's because an update like this includes an update to the May security patch of Android. (Which, yes, isn't June, but it's also more recent than what we had.)

Pro tip: Hold the Home Button on your remote to quickly see all apps.

The longer answer? Also yes, you should update. But know that there are going to be some pretty major changes hitting your box. The biggest of which is an all-new home screen, and new remote control shortcuts.

Everything's been moved into sections, and you'll probably immediately wonder where all of your apps went. There's still there — nothing's been removed. But the Oreo update allows you to choose your own favorite apps, and that's what you'll see in the top row.

The quickest way to see all of your apps is to hold down the Home button on the Shield TV remote (or game controller) when you're on the home screen.

From there you can long-select an app to add it to your favorites row, get info on the app (the easiest to clear app data should you need to), and move it around in the list.

If you long-press the back button while on the home screen it'll take you straight to the settings menu. (Which also looks new.)

Below that Favorite Apps row you'll see "Play Next," which is a handy way to pick up where you'd left off in a movie, show or game.

And below that you'll find row after row of what Android TV is now calling "Channels," which basically is more content from the apps you have installed. It can be shows or channels on various streaming apps, or additional games to play. Long press any of those items and you might get the option to add it to the "Play Next" row, or remove it from the suggestions. Or you might be told you can't do a damned thing with it, which isn't all that helpful at all.

Also, it's now more difficult to take a screenshot, because you can no longer just tell the Shield TV "Take a screenshot." If you do, it'll bring up a knowledge graph answer from Android Central. Which is funny, but not really helpful in this case.

That's the big stuff. More niche updates include better support for mice in NVIDIA GameStreame, and more support for gaming controllers. Bluetooth and Wifi pairing gets easier, and Shield remote and game controllers get updates.

So, yeah. You want to update. You should update.

Just know that things are going to look a little different when you do.

Phil Nickinson