I forgot how terrible the Shield TV is

I bought the Vero 4k about 13 months ago and liked it from the start. The Shield TV I used before quickly was out of use.

Two days ago I dusted off the Shield TV and installed my current Vero 4k backup on Kodi and SPMC… SPMC is not no longer maintained and some addons even refused to install from the backup, so concentrated on Kodi.

Ok, then I started to slowly remember why I gave up on the Shield TV. No auto resolution switching means running GUI on 4k. And it seems the shield upscaler is still crap. Yeah ok, let‘s move on and watch how bad it really is. Started a nice 4k movie with Dolby TrueHD (dumped down Atmos because I have not yet updated my speakers setup to Atmos) and then it hit me again… that inconsistent and unstable passthrough on the Shield TV… with Dolby TrueHD it takes 10 seconds until it is really stable, until then the sound drops in and out… and if you fast forward, it drops in and out again for 5-10 seconds. Makes you want to disable PT. But I stomached it out but after some minutes I noticed something is wrong with that HDR picture. Oh yeah, BT2020 is fcking broken on the shield tv even after the Oreo update. It is dark and colors are terribly washed out.

After that, I knew again why I retired the Shield TV. The hardware is very powerful but it simply wants to be a console, a game streaming service device and a media player in one but fails to deliver a worry free performance on way too many fronts. I think most of the blame has to be put on google because Android TV is just a step child for them.

The Shield is a better device than it used to be, although still not very good. The latest beta of Kodi Leia is a better bet than SPMC nowadays. Resolution switching between 4K and 1080p certainly works, as does refresh-rate switching (in Kodi, anyway).

Colour-space switching doesn’t work; but the latest Oreo version does a very precise job of mapping rec.709 to rec. 2020, so most people can actually leave it set to rec.2020 all the time without any problems.

Colour accuracy in HDR mode is much better than it used to be, and they’ve eliminated the 8-bit banding/dithering.

Yes, the upscaler is still terrible, but with resolution-switching working, it’s not an issue for 1080p, and for SD material you can decode that in software and use Lanczos3 scaling, which is actually quite good.

Pass-through of TrueHD, I don’t know about.

I contact customers after a while to find out how they’re getting on with their new device. A large number of them inform me that they wished they had tried the Vero before the Shield.

It’s better to do something well than try and do everything.

That’s all I’ll say on that.


That’s certainly true. Trying to use Netflix on the Shield, for example, is a truly painful experience.

It has some other, less obvious, shortcomings too, like the fact that the chroma upsampling is remarkably poor.

Granted, I did not test the Leia beta builds, just the latest Kodi build from the play store. But it was quite shocking to see how quickly I ran into problems that I had forgotten.

Will certainly have a look once Kodi 18 is final but I suspect that some Android TV restrictions will still apply.

The shield TV also lost the role as my secondary device for streaming once I bought the Apple Tv 4k… the Apple Tv 4k is a truely fantastic device for streaming and does so many things extremely well, a shame that we will never have regular Kodi on it… well maybe it gets jailbroken one day but are jailbreaks still a thing these days?

They are but they’re quite few and far between…and you’re always running the risk of it all going tits up and having to restore to the latest signed os, which inevitably aren’t jailbreakable…so you’ll lose Kodi again.