The time has come SHIELD TV owners as NVIDIA has now released the Android 9 Pie upgrade for the NVIDIA SHIELD TV.
Android 9 Pie arrives on the Android TV device as part of the SHIELD Software Experience Upgrade 8.0. NVIDIA confirmed the upgrade has started rolling out to devices today although it make take a couple of days to reach all devices.
NVIDIA has yet to provide detailed information on how Android 9 Pie will improve the Android TV experience overall but has summarized the upgrade changes as a "redesigned settings menu and faster and easier setup for new users."
This upgrade makes the SHIELD the first Android TV device to be upgraded to Android 9 Pie, the latest released version of the operating system. Android 9 Pie is available on some other Android TV devices already although those devices came with Android 9 Pie from launch. That's what's different here as the SHIELD is the first non-launch Android 9 Pie device to be upgraded to Pie.
That in itself is not too surprising as NVIDIA has always been extremely aggressively when it comes to supporting the SHIELD TV. There are few, if any, Android TV devices that have received updates as frequently as the SHIELD TV and NVIDIA has typically gone above and beyond just upgrading via the core changes and instead has continually looked to add new features and supports not available on other Android TV solutions.
It is also not totally surprising that the SHIELD TV is receiving this upgrade right now as it was only recently noted that the 2017 version of the SHIELD had seen its compatibility list on the Google Play Developer Console updated to reflect support for Android 9 Pie. That changed indicated this rollout was likely to happen soon.
At the time, the support for Android 9 Pie was only spotted for the 2017 version of the device and not the 2015 version, however it is understood this upgrade is now making its way out to both models.
That in itself is yet another example of NVIDIA's commitment to the platform as by all accounts the 2015 model is well beyond the age where Android devices typically see their upgrade support coming to an end.
This SHIELD Software Experience Upgrade 8.0 is not solely comprised of Android 9 Pie, as NVIDIA also explains there are some other improvements included in the package as well. One of which is a new Match Content Color Space feature that looks to automatically switch the display mode to ensure color accuracy matches the task at hand. NVIDIA further explained these by highlighting the difference between the color usage when browsing the home screen compared to watching a movie in HDR.
NVIDIA also took the announcement opportunity to point to some of the recent app changes and improvements that have or are about to become available to SHIELD TV owners. For example, NVIDIA touches on the fact Hulu recently confirmed it is finally bringing its live TV service and improved UI to Android TV.
This is in addition to changes to the Netflix audio experience due to the release of app support for high-quality 5.1 surround sound as well as the release of 4K casting support when using the Amazon Prime Video mobile app.
For those wondering, there was no mention of the rumored new NVIDIA SHIELD TV device that's supposedly on its way.