Imagine this, a streaming player capable of playing any content of choice in 4K Ultra HD at 60 Hz irrespective of the native resolution.
Surely some sort of wizardry is involved, right? Well, that's due to the AI Upscaling feature available in the Nvidia Shield TV.
But during my routine reads about Shield TV, I ran into an article claiming how erroneous and buggy the AI upscaling feature is.
Being an ardent user of the feature, the article made me irritated and I decided to look into the issue with a more observant eye.
After quite some time of research, I found out there's more to it.
Not only are there issues with video playback but gaming also has been hit with issues like dropped frame rates and outright failure to work.
Most issues with AI upscaling on Shield TV are due to bugs that can be fixed by updating the system and properly changing the configuration. Unstable internet connection along with incompatible video aspects also affect upscaling capabilities.
After a lot of research and experimenting with my own setup, I was able to find out a lot of troubleshooting tips and solutions.
If you are having trouble with the AI Upscaling feature, check out these steps and solutions for a possible remedy.
Requirements for AI upscaling to work on Shield TV
If you are restless and impatient, sure you can go on and return/sell the Shield TV and call it a day.
But before jumping the gun and doing so, make sure that you have complied with the requirements that are necessary for the optimal working of the feature.
Here are the most basic things to consider before closing shop on the Shield TV.
Check for Compatibility
The absolute first thing to remember is that not all versions of the Shield TV supports AI upscaling.
Only the 2019 models (and later) support this feature. Make sure your device is a 2019 model year Shield TV or Shield TV PRO.
Even if your model supports AI upscaling, you cannot upscale while gaming. You have to know that certain features are unavailable in the lower-priced model.
The main differences between the 2 versions are that the Pro version has support for AI upscaling for GeForce Now and supports frame rates up to 60 Hz. The normal Shield TV supports frame rates only up to 30 Hz.
Both of the devices are capable of upscaling up to 4K.
Proper Configuration of Shield TV
Now let's take a look at how to properly set up the AI upscaling feature on your Shield TV.
Improper configuration can cause the feature to not work properly according to your needs.
Follow these steps to set up the AI upscaling feature on your Shield TV.
1. On the Home Screen, click and open the Settings icon.
2. Click and open the Device Preferences.
3. Select Display & Sound. Then click on AI Upscaling.
4. By default, Enhanced mode will be selected. You can change it to AI-enhanced.
5. Below, you can find Detailed enhancement options, you can change them according to the level of upscaling you want(using on High setting will cause some oversharpening artifacts).
6. You can also find the "Apply upscaling while streaming" option for GeForce Now if your device supports it.
7. Using the Demo mode, you will be able to compare the Upscaling feature with Enhanced vs Basic modes side by side comparison.
You can also customize the settings button on your remote to change the AI upscaling setting while streaming. To do so, follow these steps.
1. On the Settings tab, click and open Remote & Accessories.
2. Then click on Customize "Setting" Button.
3. Select the AI Upscaling option.
Now you can control the AI upscaling settings while watching a video by pressing the settings button.
Now let's take a look at the type of videos on which AI upscaling (AI Enhanced mode) feature works.
Turns out the video should not be below 480p resolution.
Depending on the model you own (normal or PRO variant), the frame rate associated also varies. The normal variant only supports upscaling up to 30Hz whereas the PRO variant supports upscaling up to 60Hz.
The color space used in the video also affects the upscaling. RGB color space cannot work while YUV colour space is acceptable.
A video encoded(compressed) in 10bit H.264 format is also a no-go.
Needless to say, the video should be non-interlaced (Progressive).
If any of these criteria are not satisfied, the upscaling resorts back to the default Enhanced mode.
With that said, you don't need to worry about these requirements if you are streaming Youtube or Netflix, or any other major streaming app.
Stable Internet Connection
A choppy internet connection can affect not only the AI upscaling feature but also make the Stream extremely unpleasant with AV sync issues and a lot of dropped frames.
Make sure your internet is stable and provides at least 2 MBps speed which is the minimum acceptable speed for streaming.
4K content streaming may require speeds above 15 MBps for a smooth and stable operation.
Check your internet speed using a speed-testing service.
If the speed is unstable try restarting your router/modem.
After restarting, check your speed again. If your modem supports a 5 GHz band connection, connect your Shield TV to that network.
Common Issues with AI upscaling on Shield TV-How to Fix
Sometimes, it doesn't matter if you have followed the requirements to the letter, you may still get an error message like "Unsupported Content" on your Shield TV.
You check again and again the network connection, the AI upscaling settings but to no avail. Finally, you conclude that the problem is with the Shield TV.
If that's where you are right now, here are some of the troubleshooting steps you can do to address any issue with the Shield TV.
Check For Updates
When a problem is widespread and the users complain in mass appeal to the Manufacturer, their complaints never go unheeded.
On more than one occasion, even a singular complaint by a random user on the forums has led the moderators to look into the issue seriously and have remedied it by putting out a hotfix as soon as possible.
Make sure you're running on the latest software available because there might already be a fix out there for your issue.
To check for an update on your Shield TV, follow these steps.
1. On the Home screen, click and go to Settings.
2. Click on Device Preferences and then About.
3. Select System Upgrade to install any updates available.
Check the Resolution
If you cannot upscale your stream/video to the desired resolution, say 4K, make sure that the Shield TV is running on 4K resolution.
By default, while setting up the Shield TV, it will run on the highest available resolution according to the TV you use.
For some odd reason the resolution has been altered, follow these steps to change it back.
1. From the Settings tab, Click and open Device Preferences.
2. Then open Display & Sound.
3. Click on Resolution to change the resolution and also set the frame rate.
Power Cycle and Factory Reset
If you cannot get your Shield TV to upscale a video that you were able to do before, try restarting the device.
Better yet try a power cycle test. A power cycle test can make any stagnant temporary data and bugs disappear from the device and make it work faster than before.
To perform a power cycle test, simply unplug your Shield TV and plug it back in again after a couple of minutes.
Check whether you can upscale the video/stream now.
Sometimes a standard uninstall/removal of the app or a power cycle test may not be effective in removing a stale file or a nascent bug in your Shield TV.
The only way to properly remove them is through a Factory Reset.
A word of caution, if you perform a Factory reset on your Shield TV, you will lose all your personal preferences and your downloaded apps.
To reset your Shield TV, follow these steps.
1. On the Settings tab, navigate and open Device Preferences.
2. Click and open Storage & Reset.
3. Then select Factory Data Reset.
4. Confirm by clicking Factory Data Reset again.
5. Finalize by clicking Erase Everything.
After the process is complete, you will have to configure your device again.
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App related Issues
Whether you are using the Nvidia games app or streaming content on Netflix, you may encounter an impedance in upscaling your content.
If so you may want to look into certain aspects of the app you are using. Here are some tips to try while troubleshooting:
Check the output Resolution
If the output resolution of the app you are using is set to an inferior option, the Shield TV will try and match the resolution settings hence disabling the upscaling feature.
In the case of GeForce Now streaming, if the Auto adjust settings are ON, the resolution will vary according to the internet/WiFi quality.
Make sure you have turned OFF these settings(WiFi and internet-based adjustments) on the game app and also the auto resolution adjustment Settings.
If you're using a streaming app, make resolution switching and frame rate switching is turned OFF on the app.
Head into settings and check for the Display settings or the Stream quality settings to turn them OFF.
Any auto adjustment setting will render the AI Upscaling feature useless.
Check for Updates
Make sure you are running the app on the latest version. App developers are always on the watch for any possible bugs and errors that trouble their apps.
They routinely put out updates that address bug fixes and back-end optimizations to make the app even smoother.
Head to the Play store and check for the updates by clicking on the My Apps tile.
Make sure your Nvidia Games App is running on the latest version because, in a recent update, they(Nvidia) resolved several bugs and errors that made upscaling difficult for the users.
Clearing the Cache and Uninstalling
It is advised to clear the cache memory of the app you have issues with so as to remove redundant data. These files may cause the app to act erratically and cause a hindrance in upscaling.
To clear the cache memory, follow these steps.
1. On the Settings tab, click and open Apps.
2. then click on See all Apps.
3. Click and open the app.
4. Select Clear Cache.
If you still cannot solve the problem and the message "Upscaling not required" or "unsupported content" remains, try uninstalling the app and then reinstalling it again.
This will allow the app to reset back to its factory setting. To uninstall the app, Click on Uninstall under the App menu mentioned in the above step.
Restart the device after installing the app and then install it again from the play store.
Watching your favorite shows and movies in a bigger format and a better quality is always a welcome thought. With the AI Upscaling feature, streaming has never been more entertaining.
Issues, whether simpler or severe, will always trouble our electronic and digital endeavors. If the tips that I have mentioned here were not helpful to you, feel free to contact the Customer Services of Nvidia or message the developer of the wayward app.
Sometimes, you may also face issues with upscaling casts from your phone on the Shield TV. More about this issue on Casting issues on Shield TV.
Let me know of any solutions that I have missed in this article.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Does Nvidia Shield support HDR?
Yes, the Shield TV does support HDR10 with 4K streaming. Make sure you use an HDMI 2b cable to connect the Shield TV to the TV to use this feature.
Does Nvidia Shield have a media player?
The Shield TV does come with a photo and video app pre-installed on it. Nevertheless, you can also download and use the wide variety of apps(media player) available in the play store.