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Media Streamers

Nvidia Shield updates to Android TV Oreo 8.0 with custom menus

Now Shield users can more fully customize the home screen and access TV shows and movies directly.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The expensive, geek-friendly Nvidia Shield TV streamer can pretty much do it all, but until now its menu system hasn't been as customizable as those of competitors Apple TV and Roku.

That changes with the latest software update, which brings the new version of Google's Android TV operating system, 8.0 aka Oreo, and with it a revamped home page.

Gone is the top row of large "cards" featuring your recent media interspersed with content Nvidia, Google or whomever wanted you to see. In its place is a series of rows and tiles that's more subject to your whim -- and includes thumbnails of actual TV shows, movies and music for easier access.

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Nvidia

That's the new interface above, and here's what's new:

Apps row: Similar to the current arrangement, you choose your favorite apps or games and the order in which they're presented. Long-pressing the Select button lets you reorder them.

Play Next: All-new, this row lets you continue watching movies, shows or games you've already started, or the next episode regardless of app -- similar to the TV app on Apple TV. You can also add stuff manually. Not every app is supported, but Nvidia says more are being added. The exception is Netflix, which doesn't work with Play Next.

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Nvidia

Channels: Seen above, individual apps (including Netflix) can get their own rows that surface shows and movies directly on Shield's home page. They don't necessarily show stuff you've already watched, but are instead designed for discovery of new content. In other words, you can't control what shows and movies appear. You can add or remove channels, however, and move them higher or lower on the screen -- an improvement over similar rows on Fire TV.

Apps that support channels at launch include Nvidia Games, YouTube, Netflix, Google Play Movies & TV, Vudu, Plex, Hulu, HBO Now, Showtime, Starz, Google Play Music, Twitch, Spotify, NBC, CBS All Access, Live Channels, Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. Nvidia says more will be added soon.

The update begins rolling out today as Shield Experience Upgrade 7.0.

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