Back in 2009, when PLEX was gaining momentum in the digital world, I barely knew how to change the wallpaper on my iPod.
Years later, in 2019 when I got my Shield TV PRO, I had already become an avid user of PLEX.
With a Synology NAS set up as the data server and using my PC as the PLEX server, I could watch all my favorite movies and videos anywhere, all the time.
Then the Shield TV came into existence with the new AI upscaling feature on the 2019 models. I was a bit skeptical at first and thought of it as a marketing gimmick.
Nevertheless, I decided to give it a go since it was the "Best" streaming device out there.
Sure enough, I stand corrected. Not only was the feature extremely useful, but it also worked flawlessly(provided the necessary conditions are satisfied).
Since most of my movies and shows were in 1080p resolution format, being able to watch them upscaled to 4K on Shield TV was most rewarding.
But one fine evening, the smooth operation took a hit and it seemed to stop working. I was not able to upscale my content on PLEX anymore.
Vexed as I was, I decided to go on the lookout for a possible fix for this issue, and fair enough, after a couple of hours or so, I was able to get it to work again.
If Shield TV AI Upscaling is not working on Plex, check for network issues and update the firmware version. The AI Upscaling feature won't work on resolutions below 480p and frame rates above 60 Hz (30 Hz on the base model). Adjust the AI upscaling setting on Shield TV to cater to your liking.
Take a look at these steps and measures to try, if you experience a similar problem with PLEX on your Shield TV.
Know Your Requirements
It is essential to know what type of content the AI Upscaling feature can convert before giving up on your Shield TV.
These requirements can also vary depending on the model you own. Certain features available in the PRO version will not be present in the normal one.
Let's look at the requirements common to both models:
- The video has to be above 480p resolution.
- Should be below or equal to 30 Hz frame rate.
- Only non-interlaced(progressive) video.
- Cannot be in RGB color scape(YUV supported).
- 10-bit H. 264 compression is not supported.
The PRO version can support up to 60 Hz frame rate and also has support for upscaling GeForce Now gaming streams.
If the video you are trying to upscale doesn't satisfy these requirements, the AI upscaling will fall back to the default Enhanced mode.
Check the Network
No compromises here. Stable Internet speed is and always will be one of the most important factors determining your streaming quality.
Having unstable internet can make your stream laggy and patchy. This in turn will make the upscaling cumbersome and instill other issues like Prime Video not working on Shield TV.
If you have set your PMS(PLEX media server) in a different device or a different location, you will have to make sure the internet is stable on that location as well.
The easiest method to verify the speed is through speed testing software.
Use your phone or PC to check the speed. If it is unstable, try giving your router/modem a quick restart and try again.
Make sure you have stable upload speeds also.
A minimum speed of 3 Mbps can make sure you can stream SD-quality content. Anything higher will require a significant amount of data transfer speeds.
Playing Remux (lossless compression) content will require higher upload and download speed.
Check for Updates
Easier said than done, updating your device and the associated app, PLEX in our case, to the latest version available is necessary unless you want to have bugs and errors accompanying you in your streams.
All you have to do is routinely check for updates for your device and apps. Nvidia developers are working constantly to make the bugs and errors lurching behind the curtain disappear.
If you have issues with upscaling or as a matter of fact, any issues, simply check for updates as a preliminary step.
For updating your system, follow these steps.
1. On the Home screen, click and open Settings.
2. Then click on Device Preferences.
3. Select About and then System Upgrade to check and update your Shield TV.
To update your PLEX client app on the Shield TV, simply go to Play store>My apps>PLEX>Update.
Make sure to restart your device and then open the newly updated app.
Check the Settings
For the AI upscaling feature to work on your device properly, several settings on the device and the app have to be set to the right configuration.
Any modified or ill-configured setting may cause the AI upscaling software to give an incompatibility message.
Here are the steps to set your device to the right configuration on your Shield TV and your PLEX app.
Shield TV Settings
First, you have to make sure that you have set up your resolution.
If the resolution is set to a lower one than your TV's finest option, the AI upscaling feature will only upscale to that very resolution.
Simply follow these steps to check and change the resolution:
1. On the Settings menu, click and open Device Preferences.
2. Then click on Display & Sound, followed by Resolution.
3. If the setting is altered, revert it to your TV's maximum resolution.
Next, let's take a look at how to properly set the AI upscaling settings if you haven't already done so.
1. On the Display & Sound Menu, click and open AI upscaling.
2. From the available 3 options on the top, Basic will have on upscaling, the default Enhanced will have nominal upscaling, and the AI Enhanced will enable the AI upscaling feature on your Shield TV.
3. Below, you will find Detailed Enhancement settings.
It is advised to leave the setting at the default medium option since high will give you oversharpening artifacts.
4. For the PRO models, GeForce NOW upscaling will be present, toggle on the "Apply upscaling while streaming" option to enable it.
5. The Demo mode will show you a comparison screen between the Basic and AI Enhanced mode while watching content.
These are the most compulsory settings that you have to ensure to use the AI upscaling feature on your Shield TV.
For HDMI-related issues on the Shield TV, check out this article on HDMI issues on Shield TV.
PLEX App settings
Similar to the configuration requirements of Shield TV, the resolution is a priority that you cannot overlook.
Make sure the video you are playing is compatible with the AI upscaling requirements that I mentioned above.
Click on the Playback Settings icon while playing the video and then check the resolution and match it to the required resolution(480p and above).
Another option you have to turn OFF this time is the Resolution Switching option.
This will make the Shield TV match the resolution of the video playing in the app to its resolution, hence disabling the AI upscaling feature.
Follow these steps to turn OFF Resolution switching.
1. Go to the Settings menu and make sure the Advanced Settings option is turned ON.
2. Then toggle OFF Resolution Switching in the Advanced Setting menu. You also find the Frame rate switching option, you can either use it or disable it.
Some users report that they are not able to play any content on their PLEX app.
The best solution for this issue is to turn OFF the new player on the PLEX app.
If you have playback issues in the PLEX app, try turning off the new player and using the original one. To turn OFF the player, follow these steps.
1. On the Settings menu, click and open Advanced Settings.
2. Then in the Enable New video player option, turn it OFF.
Always remember to restart the Shield TV once you have made a change in it or its apps.
For general AI upscaling issues unrelated to plex, refer to this- Shield TV AI Upscaling Not Working-How To Fix 
Clearing the Cache and Uninstalling the app
Still getting the "Unsupported content" message while trying to upscale? Try restarting the app.
If it solves the issue, check whether it comes back or not. If it does so, it might be a bug that may have derived from an overflowing Cache.
Filled-up Cache memory can cause all sorts of bugs and errors to pop up in your app. And if an update is not yet available, try clearing the cache.
Follow these steps to clear the cache.
1. On the Settings tab, click and open Apps.
2. Click and open See all apps.
3. Click on the PLEX app and then click on Clear Cache.
If you still cannot get the AI upscaling to work, try uninstalling and reinstalling the app.
Simply click on the Uninstall option within the PLEX app settings menu.
Once completed, restart your shield TV and then reinstall the app from the play store.
Factory Reset Shield TV
Make sure you have checked and tried all the troubleshooting steps I mentioned above before trying this step.
Factory resetting will clear any stale files and redundant memory in your system, which usually remains even after uninstalling the app.
Only remember that doing so will also clear all your preferences and downloaded apps.
To Reset your Shield TV, simply follow these steps.
1. On the Settings menu, click and open Device Preferences.
2. Then select Storage & Reset.
3. Click on Factory data reset, followed by clicking the same option again for confirmation.
4. Click on Erase everything to finalize the process.
5. Wait for the process to complete and then set up Shield TV again.
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With Nvidia coming out with AI upscaling on browsers as well, this feature, which has already captured the hearts of many a user, has become even more relevant.
And encountering issues such as the one at hand may be a bit demeaning to users that desire to use enable AI upscaling via PLEX.
Even if you were able to benefit from these tips and solutions, if the video you stream is bad color graded or there is a lot of noise in the picture, the issues get amplified while upscaling.
If you still have the issue, try contacting the Customer care services of Nvidia or get in touch with PLEX.
Check this article on Cool things to do on Shield TV if you want to know a little more about Shield TV.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are Plex plugins?
PLEX plugins are additional add-on software that helps you interact with other apps within the PLEX app. Plex, however, doesn't provide any plugins but you can download and install them via third-party sources. Some of the plugins available are Subzero, Tautulli, Plexexport, etc.
Can I set up Nvidia Shield as a Plex server?
Yes, you can. Nvidia Shield TV comes preinstalled with the PMS app. You may want to connect an additional storage device like a hard disk or a USB drive since the storage is limited(16 GB) on the Shield TV.