NVIDIA's SHIELD Software Upgrade 3.2 is now on its way to the SHIELD Android TV. In spite of this being an incremental update, it is quite the update for owners of the Android TV device and will bring with it a number of notable improvements. One of the most popular of which will likely be the additional support for Plex.
Although there is an Android TV compatible Plex app already available, this update to the Plex app brings with it a completely next level of functionality compared to the Plex experience you will find on the likes of the Nexus Player or any other variation of Android TV. This is because the update turns the NVIDIA SHIELD into a standalone Plex Media Server hub. Once the update is installed, SHIELD owners will be able to use their SHIELD as a main port of call for Plex. This update will offer SHIELD owners advanced capabilities like the option to sync content across devices including a smartphone and/or tablet and offline playback on connected devices with the SHIELD adopting the role as the main hub, a role which is normally reserved for the likes of a PC. Although some of those features (like offline playback on a smartphone) will require users to pay for a 'Plex Pass' which typically runs at $5 per month, or $39.99 on a yearly basis or $149.99 on a lifetime basis.
Either way, in terms of getting Plex setup on your SHIELD, there is very little to do. Once the update is applied, the updated version of Plex comes as a pre-installed app. So if you already have Plex installed, it should automatically be updated with version 3.2 to the new SHIELD version. Likewise, if you do not have the app installed, it will be once the update is applied with the new app displayed within the apps row on the leanback launcher. Once the new updated version of Plex is launched, the app will instantly advise you of the newly added Plex Media Server support and offer you the option of immediately activating the new feature.
The easiest way to make full use of the SHIELD’s new Plex Media Server support is to copy your media collection over to your SHIELD’s local drive. Once stored locally, Plex on the SHIELD will be able to do identify the content and provide access to the content from the SHIELD or from other connected devices through Plex Pass.
Of course, this does mean that if you own the 16GB version of the SHIELD then space is going to be an issue and somewhat limiting in terms of how much content you can store on the device locally. At least compared to the Pro version of the SHIELD which comes with a much larger 500GB internal storage capacity. So for those running a 16GB SHIELD, they will likely want to make use of an additional storage solution like mounting a NAS devices, which conveniently this 3.2 SHIELD update also adds support for. Or of course, a connected USB drive or SD card if size permits.
There is also a dedicated web app where you can make further use of the Plex Media Server support, as well as define and add new library sources. Once you head over to the web app and login with the same account details used for the SHIELD app, you will instantly see the web app sync and identify the SHIELD as a server and on-screen instructions will guide you through the rest of the web app process.