Shield Android TV firmware update turns on 4K gaming

Nvidia is giving native Android TV gaming and local media playback some extra love to go alongside the revamped GeForce Now service. Shield Android TV firmware version 2.0 will be released tomorrow, and it will add several features to the micro-console's repertoire.

Most interesting among the update's new features: the Shield will be able to play certain Android games natively at 4K. Nvidia is introducing this feature with a whitelist of "10 or 12 games" that have worked well at the higher resolution, even if they weren't initially targeted for 4K. Apparently, rendering these games at 4K is a visual improvement in and of itself. The company is also working with some developers to add 4K-native assets to their existing games—BombSquad is one title that's getting some extra love, for example.

The Shield is also getting some extra media playback cred with its latest firmware. According to Nvidia's blog post, the micro-console is picking up support for lossless audio codecs like Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio pass-through, and WMA-Lossless. Cinema buffs will appreciate additional support for 23.976Hz playback. Extra video codecs will be supported for local playback, too, including hardware-accelerated VC-1, MPEG-2, and WMV9. 

We don't know if the update will contain Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but firmware version 2.0 is quite the jump from the current version 1.4. Nvidia's Shield Twitter account teased us a bit with Google's announcement yesterday, too. Even if it doesn't arrive in the latest firmware update, Android 6.0 may not be far off for Shield devices.

In non-firmware news, Nvidia is releasing the Shield in more markets. The console will be available in the UK, France, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden starting October 1. 

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