Nvidia Shield Gets Marshmallow Update

The Nvidia Shield Android TV player will be receiving the new Android version 6— Marshmallow. While no official date is being promised, the Nvidia spokesman said the update will be pushed to the Shield “later this month.” In a meeting room away from the CES exhibits floor, the company revealed some of the new features.

Where the difference in Nvidia models was initially the amount of internal memory (500 GB versus 16GB), the update will allow the Shield to treat an SD card, USB flash drive or external hard drive as if it were internal memory. (With SanDisk showing a 512GB SD card, this can improve the capacity of the Shield immensely.) The addition of “internal” memory allows for more downloads of apps, games, and media as well as improving performance.

Android Marshmallow also displays more consistent search results and allows for customization of the Shield’s home screen. Favorite apps can be pinned to the first position of the app carousel for fast access. On the home screen, the Shield will show recommendations of what to watch for all installed video streaming apps and not just Netflix and Hulu. To simplify and unclutter the home screen, Marshmallow allows the user to specify which apps display recommendations. Set up is easier as apps can be authenticated using a pin activation on the streaming video apps’ website (rather than typing in an email and password) and can automatically connect to those apps associated with the user’s Google account.

Over the past few months, HBO Now and HBO Go, and CBS All Access and a number of other popular streaming apps have been added to Android TV, but Amazon Instant Video is still a holdout. Nvidia announced that the UltraFlix 4K app is now available on the Shield. Where originally UltraFlix had meager offerings, the number of classics and current titles offerings has exploded to include 4K versions of many popular movies like the most recentMission Impossible , other action films, and a variety of genres. Rental prices start as low as $4.99 which is the lowest price so far for 4K rentals.

The games available on the Shield continue to move to more sophisticated PC titles including today’s release of graphically rich Metal Gear Rising. The Nvidia Shield is available for $199.