Nvidia's Shield TV streaming box has had a revamp that will help it compete with rival TV and movie focused smart streaming sticks. The new interface - Shield Experience Upgrade 7.0 - brings Android TV 8.0 Oreo and a new, customisable home screen that moves movies, games and apps to the forefront. And it's now live in Europe, the US and Canada.
As Shield TV users will see, the left side of the UI will now denote the section the user is able to scroll through - for example, your first two rows may be Netflix and YouTube - with the grid to the right offering previews for users to click through into the full app. If your preference is gaming through Nvidia's GeForce Now streaming, for example, this can also be pinned to the start of the Favorite Apps row, while Play Next is manually or automatically filled with the TV or games you're currently frequenting.
As you might expect, Google Assistant voice controls will also be compatible with the new update. And that finally extends to those in the UK, too, after support was initially only available to US users. This allows you to not only tap into voice controls for the Shield TV experience, but it's also able to integrate with compatible Google devices, like the Nest thermostat.
Navigation is still done using the Nvidia Shield Wireless Gamepad, as well as through the remote control, and there's also a few new tricks to learn with the fresh interface. Holding the Home button will let you see All Apps, double pressing the Home button will bring up Recent Apps, while holding the Select button (or A on the Gamepad) on a grid will add it to Play Next. If you're not happy with one of the rows, you can also scroll right to the end and move it around or remove it.
We've already sampled the new UI in a demo, and while admittedly not the most exciting change ever to come to a streaming service, the Android TV update undeniably makes Shield TV a cleaner experience. Gone are the cluttered grids, and in its place is a customisable deck (as a rule of thumb, pretty much everything can be moved to your taste now) that allows you to make the TV hub your own.
And with Nvidia already holding a lead over rivals Apple, Amazon and Roku when it comes to games, we imagine it's with moves like that will help it become more of a smart TV all-rounder.