Forget the SHIELD Vudu 4K issue. A recent update to the Vudu app now results in streaming playback downgraded to SD on NVIDIA SHIELD TV.
This is understood to be part of Vudu’s ongoing efforts to return UHD (4K) support to the SHIELD.
NVIDIA has confirmed the temporary quality downgrading and says more information should be available within the next two weeks.
Vudu on SHIELD goes from UHD to HD to SD
In early September, it became clear there was a 4K playback issue affecting SHIELD TV devices. This wasn’t an app-wide issue, but it did affect a number of apps including Vudu.
Last week, NVIDIA started rolling out a new update to SHIELD. This update was in part designed to pave the way for the 4K issue to be resolved. However, Vudu rolled out an app update recently that further reduced playback quality.
NVIDIA staff have confirmed the Vudu update, explaining the latest app update caps viewing at SD.
Considering the update has already rolled out, SHIELD TV users accessing the Vudu app right now will find there's no streaming playback option available other than SD.
In terms of why the HD (HDX) option is no longer available, NVIDIA explains this is the result of prior agreements. In other words, it seems the Vudu app was originally supposed to cap playback at SD when the issue first surfaced. Vudu is simply rectifying that aspect now.
Fix hopefully coming soon to SHIELD TV
When NVIDIA released the most recent update, it did make it clear this was part of a wider fix for the 4K issue. So while the update itself was not solving the problem, the update was supposed to make it easier for the upcoming fix to be applied.
In the recent SD playback confirmation, NVIDIA stated there was no “committed date” when Vudu will reactivate 4K support. However, NVIDIA did say “it's coming.” Adding that either the update, or more information will be available “in the next 2 weeks.”
Vudu has stated a SHIELD Vudu 4K fix is due to be released in the next few days.
In the meantime, it is worth keeping in mind the playback issue only affects Vudu on SHIELD Android TV devices. Accessing the same content through Vudu on any other platform won't result in any playback restrictions.
Likewise, accessing the same content via another Movies Anywhere app should also allow playback at the greatest resolution available. In fact, the Movies Anywhere route may even work on SHIELD, depending on the Movies Anywhere partner app used.