We all have encountered the black screen of death or a flickering white screen with glimpses of images on our traditional cable or Satellite TV.
Usually, such problems tend to fix themselves or a quick dusting of the cables does the trick.
But in the case of a more sophisticated system like the Shield TV, what should we do?
This was the question I had in my mind when on an evening, a couple of weeks ago, while watching an episode of Succession on my Shield TV pro (2019 model).
Things were normal as always and nothing seemed out of order when suddenly, a few minutes into the episode, the screen started flickering and the audio seemed to break along the way.
To make things worse, the remote also went haywire and decided to die on me at that instant.
After some blood-boiling minutes of torment, I was able to make my remote work and turn the device OFF.
After this irksome experience, I decided to look into the problem more seriously since the issue didn't wear off even after restarting the device.
Upon careful analysis and around 5 hours of research, I was able to solve my issue.
Turns out, like most of the others reporting the problem, the issue was with the HDMI cable that I had substituted for the older one a couple of days back before the incident.
Most often its faulty/incompatible HDMI cables and revised settings on your TV/Shield TV the cause of this issue. Outdated versions of the apps and Shield TV can also contribute to this issue.
Take a look at these remedies and tips I have come upon while scurrying the internet for a possible fix.
HDMI Connection Related Issues
As mentioned above, HDMI-related issues are the most common reason for the screen to go nuts all of sudden, unwarned.
First and foremost, make sure that your connection is not loose. An improper connection will make your display go awry.
The best possible fix is to replace your cable with a new one or if you are like me, change it to the old one and see if it works fine now.
Make sure when you buy a new HDMI cable that it satisfies your Shield TV requirements like the version supported (HDMI 2b for all versions).
A cable length of at least 3 ft is recommended. It should also support CEC and HDCP.
If changing the cable didn't resolve the issue, try changing the HDMI input to another port. If you were able to solve the issue, your previous HDMI port may be damaged.
If changing the ports does not alleviate the problem, try connecting your Shield TV to another TV.
If the problem exists no more in the new TV, your TV may be damaged.
Check for updates on your TV if it's a smart TV, else, the motherboard may be damaged. Consult your TV manufacturer for further assistance.
HDMI CEC and HDCP Issues
If you have connected to an HDMI port that supports CEC(Consumer Electronics Control) and HDCP on your TV, try turning them OFF.
Most new TVs support CEC which enables two-way communication between the devices connected to that HDMI port.
This enables controlling both the devices using the same remote, either of the TV or in our case the Shield TV remote.
Depending on your device, the name may vary for HDMI CEC like in the case of Samsung it is called Anynet+ or LG named it SIMPlINK.
Head to your TV settings and look for the HDMI CEC setting option and turn it OFF.
You may want to consult your user manual before proceeding.
HDCP is a digital copyright protection protocol that regulates the transmission of content across the internet. You may want to check your user manual to know of the ports that support HDCP.
Connecting to a port that supports HDCP protocol is advised as some shows and apps may not be supported if not connected to such a port.
For more details on HDMI-related issues, check out this article on HDMI issues on the Shield TV.
App Related Issues
Coming into the software side of the business, certain apps may have some error-causing bugs embedded in them that cause the fluctuations and flickering you see.
There are certain fixes that I have huddled down below, try them and see if they are helpful.
- Try updating the app. Most developers provide frequent updates to their apps that remove the prevalent bugs troubling their apps.
Go to the play store on your device and check the My apps tab and update your app.
Run after installing the update and check for any discrepancies.
- Clearing the Cache. An overflowing cache can cause all sorts of problems on your device. Go to Settings>Apps>See all apps>"name of the app">Clear cache to clear the cache memory.
Run the app after a quick restart and check for the problem.
- Uninstalling and Reinstalling the app. If none of these tips were helpful, try uninstalling the app by going to Settings>Apps>See all apps>"name of the app">uninstall and then reinstall the app from the playstore.
Log into the app and check whether you were able to solve the issue.
If you still experience the issue check the next section of this article for further analysis.
Shield TV Related Issues
After performing the above-mentioned tips and troubleshooting methods, you will either have solved your flickering issues or it may still be troubling you.
If it still troubles you, the problem might be with your Shield TV.
It can be a relatively insignificant change of settings and preferences that caused the black screens, or it could be a bug that was born out of a recent update.
Reasons as many as they may be, here are some tips and troubleshooting methods you should try:
Check for updates
Running your Shield TV on an outdated version can cause a whole of host problems which unfortunately also includes the screen flickering issues.
Like any other smart device, running it on an older version makes it prone to bugs that inevitably cause a lot of problems.
Updating your device to the most recent version can ensure proper protection from such errant bugs.
To update your Shield TV, follow these steps.
1. In the Home screen, click on the Settings icon.
2. Scroll down and select Device preferences.
3. Click on About.
4. Then select System upgrade to manually update your device(if any).
After you have successfully updated your device, check if you still have flickering issues. If so, check the next tip.
Tweaking the Video Settings
If you have willingly or inadvertently changed a setting in your Shield TV, it could lead to incompatibility issues with an app or the content you are playing. This may result in jumbled screens or flickering.
Check whether any of these changes help you solve the issues.
- Check for the Frame rate changes. After a recent update, Nvidia has launched a new Match Frame Rate feature on the Shield TV(2019 model).
This allows the user to match the frame rate of your device to that of the content or app you want to watch.
Go to Settings >Device preferences >System > Customize Quick Settings and add the feature to the quick setting menu. Then while playing the video, press on the setting button on the remote and choose the Match Frame Rate(beta) option to change the frame rate.
- Changing the Resolution. Users have reported that changing or lowering the resolution on their Shield TVs have resulted in the flickering problems to disappear.
To change the resolution on your Shield TV, go to Settings >Device Preferences> Display & Sound >Resolution.
Try tweaking the resolution to a lower one(1080p). Restart your device and check whether the problem still persists.
- Turn OFF AI upscaling. If you have the AI upscaling feature running on enhanced mode on your Shield TV, you may get the flashing screens on certain apps and videos.
Try turning it OFF by going to Settings > AI upscaling>"Standard" to limit the intervention.
You can also manually customize the display setting by going to Settings>Device Preferences>Display & Sound>Advanced display settings>Custom display mode.
Try changing the frame rates and the resolution and check whether your changes have had an impact on the flashings and flickering.
Hard Reset Shield TV
If none of these tips and remedies have proven helpful to you, try resetting your Shield TV.
You must only reset your device if it's necessary because it will delete all your preferences and the apps you have installed on your Shield TV.
To reset your device, follow these steps.
1. On the Settings screen, click and open Device Preferences.
2. Click on Storage & Reset.
3. Select Factory Data Reset.
4. Click on Factory Data Reset again to confirm.
5. Then click on Erase Everything.
After the device has been successfully reset to the factory condition, open and play the video of your choice and check whether the flickering has gone or not.
Here are some fixes that have worked for many shield TV users.
Some of these fixes may not apply to you since it relies on certain features to be present on your TV.
Check if your device supports them and then proceed.
- Change the Colour Scheme of your source. This problem is associated with your TV and users have reported that changing the colour science of the HDMI input have yielded results.
Depending on your TV menu, click on the settings button and then picture menu to access the colour saturation/colour modes of your TV.
Change them to your liking and then run the video.
- Dolby Vision settings. Some users have reported that running the Shield TV on Dolby Vision has resulted in flickering issues. This is because of incompatible frame rates.
Turn off the Dolby Vision setting on your Shield TV by going to Settings >Device preferences >System > Customize Quick Settings.
Then select the Dolby Vision tile. While running the video, toggle off Dolby Vision by clicking on the setting button on the remote and then turning it off.
- Switching the inputs while using an AVR. If you are using an AVR like the Denon AVR 2700H, try switching the input of the Shield TV on the AVR.
Open the Shield TV after doing so and check for any problems. Changing the HDMI input is also advisable.
Having a black screen or a flickering screen while watching your favorite shows and videos on the Shield TV can be frustrating.
The issue can stem due to different reasons ranging from a simple HDMI connection issue to a not so simple video correction issue.
Sometimes, most probably if the black screens are an intermittent thing, the issue may be with the screensaver. In such cases, check out my article on Screensaver issues on the Shield TV for more info.
If none of these tips seems to solve your issue, try contacting the customer care service of the Shield TV. If it is associated with an app, try contacting the developer for further assistance.
Every problem has a solution and you will eventually find one if not from here.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are the symptoms of a bad HDMI cable?
The most common symptoms of a damaged HDMI cable are displaying fragmented images, intermittent streaming, AV sync issues, Flickering screens, White noise, no communication between the device and the remote, etc.
Can you watch live TV on Nvidia Shield?
Yes, you can watch Live TV on your Shield TV using the available apps. From paid apps like Youtube TV and Playstation Vue to free apps like Plex and TabloTV, the options are various and many to choose from.