In short: NVIDIA is releasing a new SHIELD TV update today which brings with it a number of new improvements to the popular Android TV device. The update is already in the process of rolling out and includes in-game voice chat support, improvements to mouse and keyboard compatibility, support for a newly-launched NVIDIA SHIELD TV app, and the return of the NVIDIA Share Menu.
Background: The latest update arrives as SHIELD Software Experience Upgrade 7.1. and as part of the announcement NVIDIA confirmed this is actually the twentieth update the company has rolled out to its SHIELD TV devices since the launch of the first SHIELD device in early 2015. This in itself highlights the level of support NVIDIA has afforded to this new line of devices with today's announcement not only recognizing that previous support, but also acting as a commitment to continue supporting these devices in a similar vein in the future. Over the years, previous updates have in some cases added significant features and value to the SHIELD TV, including Google Assistant integration, Samsung SmartThings Hub support, the ability for the SHIELD to act as a standalone Plex Media Server, a revised GeForce NOW experience, to name a few.
The impact: One of the biggest aspects of this update is the new app as this is designed to offer SHIELD TV device owners an easier way to engage with the SHIELD using their smartphone. In particular, this will prove beneficial when using a phone to log in to services and apps. As the new NVIDIA app comes with a virtual keyboard and mouse to aid navigation and data input. The app is now available to download for free from the Google Play Store. Another headline aspect is the return of the NVIDIA Share menu as this was removed when the SHIELD was initially updated to Android 8.0 (Oreo). Its removal proved to be a frustration for some device owners as the Share menu made it easy to take a screenshot, record gameplay, and share gameplay directly to Twitch. One of the reasons it was initially removed was due to remapping of the SHIELD's Controller buttons to accommodate changes related to Oreo. As a result, the manner in which the feature is now accessed has changed with users now expected to head through System > Settings to launch the Share menu. Adding to the gamer-centric nature of the SHIELD, device owners will also now be able to benefit from a better gaming experience due to the new in-game voice chat, and the mouse and keyboard improvements. In terms of new content, the announcement also confirmed the likes of Monster Hunter World, F1 2018, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider are all set to become available through GeForce NOW.