NVIDIA's SHIELD Android TV box has only been available for a few weeks, and it's already getting its over-the-air update. This one improves a handful of the SHIELD's app functions and its accessories. Notably, software build 1.2 enables 4K output in Google's Photos & Videos app, provided of course that you have a 4K TV to view them on. According to the changelog it also improves streaming performance for both Netflix and Google Play Movies.

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One of the best tweaks NVIDIA made to Android TV's core software is the ability to run apps off of an SD card (especially handy if you didn't wait for the 500GB Pro model), and to automatically install said apps to external storage. The changelog says that this function is now enhanced, but doesn't say exactly how - hopefully it no longer requires the apps to be placed on primary storage first? Version 1.2 also makes the sold-separately SHIELD Remote quicker, and adds an on-screen alert when the battery gets low, like the one for the included controller.

Lastly, this update adds enhancements for the NVIDIA GameStream service, which lets you play PC games off of a GTX-powered gaming PC on your local network. Poor GameStream performance was one of the issues the SHIELD had in our review, so hopefully this is noticeably improved - I'll be checking it out on the review unit when the update comes in. NVIDIA usually sends out software updates all at once, so you should see an alert if you use your SHIELD TV later today.

Oddly, there's no mention of native MPEG-2 codec support. An NVIDIA representative said that the feature would be coming soon.

It looks like MPEG-2 support is included in version 1.2 after all. Here's a more complete breakdown of the update, posted to the NVIDIA forums by an employee:

  • Disables auto suspend for HID devices (to address issues reported by Logitech K400 owners)
  • Adds native MPEG2 codec to SHIELD Android TV
  • Delivers a SHIELD Accessories Upgrade for SHIELD Remote for snappier response.
  • Adds notifications for low battery on SHIELD Remote.
  • Optimizes streaming experience for Google Play Movies and Netflix.
  • Delivers enhancements for NVIDIA GameStream. Upgrade to the latest version of GeForce Experience on your PC for the best experience.
  • Boosts audio level for recorded or broadcasted gameplay using NVIDIA Share.
  • Delivers enhancements and user experience improvements for SD card functionality
  • Disables mute key on SHIELD Wireless controller for HDMI output
  • Enables 4K image viewing support
  • Fixes audio drops for Netflix 4k video over onkyo receiver
  • Updated Google Music app
  • Other misc performance and bug fixes