Shield TV media streamers from NVIDIA began to receive this week a firmware update — known as “the Shield Software Experience Upgrade 8.2” — bringing a host of features and improvements to owners of Shield TV Android TV set top boxes from various release years.

Among these is the addition in earlier models of the popular Shield TV AI upscaler. This trains “a neural network model on countless images,” NVIDIA explained.

The feature was first made available on 2019 Shield TVs to upscale and enhance lower-resolution video content up to 4K on supported TVs with improved sharpness and enhanced detail. This has been improved in 2020 and added to more models.

In addition, the 2019 Shield TV Pro model gets support for up to 4K/60 Hz.

The company said its AI upscaler cannot be matched by any “traditional scaler.. Edges look sharper. Hair looks scruffier. Landscapes pop with striking clarity.”

In its blog announcement, NVIDIA said the update adds more UHD 4K upscaling support from 360p to 1440p content.

The latest update follows the release of the Shield TV Experience Update 8.0 in July 2019 that brought Shield TV media adapters an update to the Android 9 Pie OS, making the streamer “the first Android TV device to get Google’s (at the time) latest version of Android.” The primary benefit of Pie was the fact that it streamlined the interface to make it easier to access favorite apps and settings.

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“Now SHIELD can upscale live sports on HD TV and HD video from YouTube to 4K with AI. In the weeks ahead, following an update to the NVIDIA Games app in September, we’ll add 4K 60fps upscaling to GeForce NOW,” the statement reads.

Other improvements include assigning shortcuts to the customizable menu button in 2019 model remotes bringing double press and long press actions. This also works in the Shield TV mobile app on iOS and Android devices.

Also added is better IR and CEC volume control support, while the 2019 Shield remote adds IR control to change the input source on TVs, AVRs and soundbars.

The upgrade also adds support for digital projectors, and allowing functionality when Shield isn’t active, NVIDIA said.

Other additions in the Nvidia Shield 8.2 update include:

A June 2020 level Android security patch;

Support for SMBv3 with a faster and more secure connection between a PC and the Shield over a local network. SMBv3 now works without requiring a PLEX media server;

Restoration of surround sound audio when casting;

The addition of write access permissions to NAS devices from installed apps;

The ability to convert local HDR video content to SDR displays;

The addition of Bluetooth LDAC support for supported headphones, like many Sony models.

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By Greg Tarr

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