The Nvidia Shield TV has long been one of the best Android TV devices and after Google revamped the platform’s homescreen to include “recommendations” it was one of the only products spared. Now, though, it seems like the Shield TV is about to get updated with the latest Android TV homescreen with the Discover tab and, unfortunately, the top-row ads.

Recapping briefly, Google updated the Android TV homescreen in the second half of 2020 with a “cinematic highlights” row that essentially put ads on the homescreen for the first time. It was obviously a major shift for a platform that, up until that point, had always avoided the paid advertising that plagues Roku and Fire TV. That was a pretty big selling point for Shield TV models as well. After the change was announced, it was pretty clear that Shield TV models were exempt from the ads and nearly a year later all Shield TV models still lack homescreen ads.

In February of this year, Google announced a stopgap measure for Android TV devices that would see a new “Discover” tab added to the homescreen that offers content recommendations akin to Google TV. That’s the redesigned platform that runs on Google’s excellent $50 Chromecast and is also set to replace Android TV over the next year. Again, the Shield TV didn’t see that change.

This week, however, a screenshot appeared on the official Play Store listing for the Nvidia Games app which shows clear as day the latest Android TV homescreen design running on a Shield TV as pictured below. The image has since been taken off the listing.

As a reminder, this updated homescreen is a departure from the older Android TV homescreen in a few key ways. First, it removes the left-most sidebar which carried icons for “Apps,” “Play Next,” and other apps such as Nvidia Games. The old homescreen also lacked the newly added “Discover” and “Apps” tabs. The former gives content recommendations in a similar fashion to Google TV while the other can list all apps installed on your device.

What does this mean? We can’t say for certain, but it really looks like the new Android TV homescreen will be headed to Shield TV at some point. When it does, it may also come with the top-row “recommendation” ads as they’re pictured clearly in the screenshot.

When asked about this screenshot, Nvidia had no comment.

Nvidia Shield TV homescreen as of 2019

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Ben Schoon

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