The new Sheild TV 2019 comes with plenty of upgrades over the previous generation such as Nvidia’s Tegra X1+ chip, Dolby Vision, AI-powered upscaling and of course, a completely redesigned remote. However, that’s not the only thing that has changed. It also comes with new software features and hardware upgrades that are not obvious at first sight. Let’s check out all the tips, tricks, and new features of 2019 Shield TV.
1. Pair new remote with the old Shield TV
If you have a 2017 shield TV there’s not much reason to upgrade except – the remote. The new remote is much better than the previous generation. It’s ergonomic, comes with updated features like backlight, dedicated Netflix button and of course Remote finder (more of this later). Fortunately, the new remote can also be paired with the old Shield TV and is sold separately on the NVIDIA website for just $30.
2. Find your Remote
I guess, NVIDIA knew about the affair between couches and remotes, that’s why they chose to include a remote finder feature on the new remote. You can press a button on the Shield TV to buzz the remote. It would sound a loud enough beep to help you find the remote.
However, if you want to be lazy and don’t want to get off the couch, you can still activate the buzzer from the settings using an Android smartphone. Navigate to Settings> Remote & Accessories> SHIELD Accessories> Shield Remote> Find this remote. Although, keep in mind that if the remote has died or is out of range of a Wi-Fi signal, it will not be able to locate it.
3. Use your Smartphone as a Remote
Apparently, using your device with a smartphone is not unique and devices like Firestick and Roku already have apps for that. You can use an Android smartphone to control your Shield TV, or any Android TV for that matter. To set it up, install the app on your Android or iOS device and the app would detect the Shield TV on the same Wi-Fi network. Using the app makes browsing through the interface a breeze, not to mention you can type using the smartphone keyboard. It is a blessing.
4. Remap Netflix Button
The Shield TV comes with a huge Netflix button that I don’t use very often. Even though Shield TV has a reprogrammable button that allows you to set it to any action that you like, but I wanted to remap the Netflix button itself. Fortunately, you can remap every button on the remote with this app.
5. Take A Screenshot
The 2017 Shield TV had a dedicated interface that allowed you to record the screen and take screenshots natively, mainly for gamers. As 2019 appeals to a more wider audience, this screen recording functionality is not present on the Tube version. However, you can still take screenshots on the 2019 model. Navigate to Settings> Remote & Accessories> SHIELD Accessories> Customize Quick Settings Button> Take a screenshot.
6. IR Volume Controls
With 2019 Shield TV, you no longer get the ability to control the volume on the Shield TV itself. But then why do we still have volume buttons on the remote? It’s for the TV or any sound accessory that you might have connected to the Shield TV. You’ll have to configure those buttons in the Settings.
7. Control TV with Shield TV
While the remote is equipped with IR, the 2019 Shield TV has HDMI-CEC which allows itself to do some impressive things. For example, you can set your TV to power ON and OFF when your Shield Wakes up and goes to sleep. If you have multiple devices connected to the TV, you can set Shield TV to switch the HDMI source when it wakes up. However, if your TV doesn’t support HDMI-CEC, you can still use the IR sensor to turn the TV on.
8. Adjust the Cooling fan
Both NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro and Tube, have a cooling fan built into the device which can sometimes become loud enough to distract you. You can adjust the speed settings of the fan. Go to Settings> Device Preferences> System> Fan Mode> Cool or Quiet.
9. AI Upscaling
It may look like a trick or a gimmick but it is a legitimate feature on the 2019 Shield TV. AI-scaling aims to stretch out the 720p and 1080p content to 4K without pixelating the footage using Machine Learning. It would come in handy if you have a 4K TV but your streaming services are in 1080p, the system is implemented within the device so it works without any lags or jitters. You can activate this feature by navigating to Settings> AI Upscaling> AI-Enhanced, Enhanced, or Basic.
10. Sideload Apps
It would be a waste if you purchased the Shield TV and didn’t sideload any apps to it. One of the perks of owning an Android device is that you can sideload apps easily and enjoy apps that weren’t even developed for Android TV in the first place. You can read more about it in the article here.
While most of the apps do work when sideloaded, if some apps are built exclusively for 64-bit then it may not work. So, if you’re planning on using the Dolphin emulator, I’ll hold my breath.
11. Navigate the Sideloaded apps
Once you install an app by sideloading that wasn’t intentionally made for Android TV, you’d face problems. For example, the Shield TV remote isn’t recognized by the apps and therefore you can’t use the apps, at least not without help. Enter Mouse Toggle; an app that simulates a mouse pointer on your TV and allows you to easily navigate the sideloaded apps with just the remote.
12. Browse the Internet
Most Android TVs are built for a laid back experience and therefore don’t even include a web browser. You can sideload the Puffin TV browser that’s designed specifically for Android TV and offers a remote-friendly interface. If you want to get serious, you can also install other web browsers on Android TV such as Google Chrome and use it with the Mouse Toggle app or attach a Bluetooth Mouse and Keyboard.
13. Use a Bluetooth Controller
Just like you can connect a Bluetooth Mouse and Keyboard to the Shield TV to browse the Internet, you can connect a Bluetooth Gaming controller to play games. 2019 Shield TV supports Xbox, PS4, and third-party Bluetooth controllers. While Xbox works flawlessly, the PS4 controller generally has key mapping issues and third-party controllers’ accuracy vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
14. Switch Apps
Apart from all these intuitive features on the Shield TV, one of my favorites is this; the App Switcher. Just like regular smartphones, you can switch between different apps by pressing the home button two times. Easy, right?
15. Game like a Pro
Even though 2019 Shield TV doesn’t include a gaming controller in the box, it is still very much a gaming-oriented device. NVIDIA GeForce NOW and NVIDIA GameStream come built-in with the Shield TV, you can install your own game streaming apps such as SteamLink. All of these apps make it one of the most powerful Android TVs built for gaming.
16. Access Hard Disks like a Boss
Keeping with the tradition, 2019 Shield TV Pro includes two USB 3.0 that lets you access high-quality media content from your existing hard disks. You’ll only need a good quality file explorer and VLC media player to access the entire library. Guess what, only Shield TV supports Plex, so you can create a Plex Media Server on the device itself and stream your content all over the network. That’s really Pro.
Best Shield TV Tips, Tricks, and Features
There you go, these were some of my favorite features and tricks that I discovered during my usage. I agree, not all the features listed on this list are exclusive but cover the entire vicinity of the Android TV segment. However, features like Plex Media Server, remote functions, AI upscaling are exclusive to the 2019 Shield TV version. If I missed anything, let me know in the comments below so that I can update it to this list.