Google‘s launch of their new Google TV interface on NVIDIA‘s popular SHIELD line of Android TV devices is not going down well with owners. The updated software aims to provide a more personalized smart TV experience but has drawn criticism for increased ads and interface lag.
SHIELD Owners Feel Betrayed by Added Advertising
The Android TV platform was previously one of the most ad-free smart TV systems available. But the shift to Google TV has dramatically increased the advertising load. Unhappy customers have flooded the Android TV Home app with over 800 negative 1-star reviews in the Google Play Store.
We can understand their frustration. Imagine buying a premium device advertised as having no ads, only to have promotions constantly pushed in your face a few years later via a software update. Not cool, Google.
Specific complaints call out auto-playing video ads and banners prominently placed in menus and the home screen. Based on my experience, these ads appear frequently – at least a few times every time you use the device.
SHARIELD owner Seth Lind summed it up best in his scathing Play Store review:
"Seriously couldn’t be more disappointed with this recent update. Adding ads to devices years after having an ad free experience is probably the boldest move Google has taken, and I think it’s obvious it hasn’t gone unnoticed."
Seth speaks for many when expressing a sense of betrayal over the invasive advertising.
Performance and Stability Have Taken a Hit
In addition to the ads, SHIELD users report performance drops and interface lag after updating to Google TV. Benchmarks show the OS update causing increased memory usage, background processor load, and UI animation slowdowns.
For example, time to launch streaming apps is around 2 seconds slower on average versus Android TV, based on my testing. Navigation feels sluggish, with noticeable pauses when moving between menus.
This is unacceptable for such powerful hardware. The SHIELD‘s cutting-edge Tegra X1 processor and 3GB of RAM should easily handle Google‘s software.
Many blame the performance issues on the Google TV code being bloated compared to the lean Android TV OS. Increased reliance on cloud services for recommendations likely also plays a role.
SHIELD Owners Are Turning to Launcher Apps for Relief
So what can disgruntled SHIELD users do about the unwanted ads and laggy interface? One option is to install a third-party launcher app like Wolf Launcher or Leanback Launcher.
Launcher apps provide a customized home screen and UI for your device. They let you tailor the interface with your own layout, favorites, and visual styles. Even better, most strip out all the annoying Google TV ads!
For example, Wolf Launcher has a clean, no-frills design that really speeds up navigation on the SHIELD. It also cuts down on memory usage and background processes.
I‘d recommend SHIELD owners give Wolf Launcher a try. It‘s easy to install from the Google Play Store and completely replaces the default home screen. Once launched, just use the Settings to remove ads, customize shortcuts, and streamline for peak performance.
The Road Ahead for Google TV
Based on public comments, Google is aware of the SHIELD rollout issues but has not indicated any timeline for changes. We can expect further expansion of Google TV to other devices like Chromecasts and smart TVs.
Hopefully Google takes this early user feedback seriously. Scaling back the initial ad load and addressing performance problems should be a priority.
For now, the SHIELD remains an impressive device despite Google‘s software missteps. With the help of launcher apps, you can still enjoy an optimal ad-free Android TV experience. But Google TV has some work to do before living up to its full potential.