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Nvidia is rolling out Software Upgrade v5 to its Shield TV 2015 set-top box

Why it matters to you

Owners of the Shield TV set-top box released in 2015 can now benefit from the new features introduced with the 2017 unit now hitting store shelves.

Nvidia said on Thursday that owners of the original Shield TV set-top box can now download Software Upgrade v5.0. The update adds everything found on the latest Shield TV (2017) unit launched in early January, such as support for Nest cameras, 4K HDR content via Amazon Video, and more. The platform update also brings the older Shield TV unit up to speed with an upgrade to Android 7.0 Nougat.

First up to bat is support for the new Nvidia Games app, which replaces the Shield Hub and its associated links. That said, exclusive Android games, GeForce Now, and GameStream games are thrown into one application for a more centralized feel. All other games installed on the set-top box will be shoved into the games row on the home screen.

“This update will be a staged rollout and will happen over the next few weeks via app update on the Google Play Store,” Nvidia says.

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On the Android 7.0 front, Shield TV (2015) owners will benefit from several enhanced features provided by the upgrade including a new settings menu that’s provided vertically on the right side of the screen. Android 7.0 also adds picture-in-picture support in apps like Live Channels and provides a recent apps page accessible by double-pressing the home button.

Here are additional features provided with the Shield TV 2015 update:

  • 4K HDR streaming video support in Amazon Video, Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies, and VUDU
  • Direct access to Steam Big Picture in the Nvidia Games App
  • Support for 4K HDR streaming in Nvidia GameStream
  • Nest Aware support through the new Nest app
  • New apps: NFL, Twitter for TV, Comedy Central, Vimeo, and Viki
  • Cast support for HBO GO
  • 1, 6.1, and 8.1 speaker configurations for Plex
  • USB and SD card storage support
  • Pause and Play functionality on the Shield remote

Nvidia said support for Google Assistant will come to the Shield TV (2015) unit soon. However, this feature will require the new $50 Shield Remote to take advantage of Google Assistant on the older set-top box. The peripheral includes an internal microphone built for voice-based commands and searches, providing a hands-free experience when looking for games or other content.

The 2015 Shield TV model will soon receive support for SmartThings Hub technology, allowing owners to turn the device into a smart home hub. It will also be compatible with Nvidia Spot, the company’s upcoming microphone/speaker hybrid based on Google Assistant. The Shield TV unit will play as the central hub while Spot units can be placed throughout the home (or office) at $50 apiece.

For customers who have yet to purchase a Shield TV set-top box, the 2017 model is available now in “vanilla” ($200) and “pro” ($300) versions. The vanilla model only has 16GB of internal storage while the pro unit includes 500GB of storage, but both are bundled with a controller and a remote. Owners of the vanilla unit can expand the storage by connecting an external drive to the USB 3.0 port.