When you put the NVIDIA Shield and Xbox One controllers side-by-side, there’s an obvious similarity.
Still, whether it’s the sturdier feel or slightly better ergonomics, many people want to connect their Xbox One controller to their NVIDIA Shield TV.
It’s a pretty easy process, as it turns out. You’ll lose some of the extra features that Microsoft builds-in, but all of the basic functionality is there.
In this article, I’m going to walk you through the process of connecting an Xbox One controller to the Shield TV. Then I’ll discuss some of the more popular issues that you can run into.
But first, let’s get a brief overview of just what Xbox controllers will work with the Shield TV.
What Xbox Controllers Work with NVIDIA Shield?
Microsoft has released a number of different Xbox controllers over the years, and not all of them will work with the NVIDIA Shield TV.
Here are some of the common Xbox controllers and what you can expect when trying to pair them with an NVIDIA Shield.
Xbox One Controllers
Between 2013 and 2020, there have been three generations of Xbox One controllers, with many variations of each. You can find a list of them on the Xbox Fandom wiki page, along with pictures of each.
First Generation controllers
The first generation Xbox One controllers were built from 2013 through late 2015. They don’t have a built-in headphone jack or Bluetooth.
Because there’s no Bluetooth, you won’t be able to follow the guide in the next section.
Microsoft does make a wireless USB receiver specifically for Xbox One controllers. However, it was only designed to work with Windows 10. Users have had very little luck in getting it to work on the NVIDIA Shield TV.
Second Generation controllers
Second generation Xbox One controllers were built from late 2015 through late 2016. This includes the first generation of the Xbox One Elite Controller.
The buttons were improved slightly and a headphone jack was added. Unfortunately, second generation controllers still lack Bluetooth, so connecting them to the NVIDIA Shield is not recommended.
Third Generation controllers
Third generation Xbox One controllers were released with the launch of the the Xbox One S. They (finally) included Bluetooth support, which makes pairing them to the Shield TV quick and easy.
If you have a first or second generation Xbox controller, and want to connect to your Shield TV, I highly recommend just replacing it with one of the third generation controllers.
They’re about $20 more than you would pay for a wireless adapter, but they’re MUCH easier to connect.
Microsoft stepped up their game with the newest Xbox One controller. Better grip and a more comfortable D-pad give you the edge you need to win. Fully compatible with Android TV!
Xbox 360 Controllers
Xbox 360 controllers can connect to the NVIDIA Shield as well. That goes for both the wired Xbox 360 controller and a wireless controller using the official Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Adapter.
You are going to want to spring for the official Microsoft adapter. I’ve heard a lot of complaints from people who tried to use a generic adapter and couldn’t get it to connect.
The button mappings on both controllers are good, but you’ll lose out on any of the special functions on the Shield controller like the microphone.
How to Connect an Xbox One Controller to NVIDIA Shield
As I mentioned earlier, it’s a very simple process to connect a compatible Xbox One controller to the NVIDIA Shield TV.
In this example, I’m using my Shield TV Pro and the new Microsoft Carbon Black Xbox One controller (model QAT-00001).
Step 1: To start, go to the Settings menu on your NVIDIA Shield. You can find this by clicking the gear-shaped icon in the upper right-hand corner of your home screen.
Step 2: Scroll down until you see the Remotes & Accessories menu and click on it.
Step 3: Click on Add Bluetooth accessories.
You should see a full-screen message telling you that the NVIDIA Shield TV is searching for Bluetooth accessories.
Step 4: Put the Xbox One controller into pairing mode.
Every controller is going to have a slightly different process to put it into pairing mode.
For Xbox One controllers:
- Turn the controller on. The Xbox button should start flashing slowly to say the controller isn’t paired with another device.
- Hold down the pairing button for three seconds. The Xbox button will start flashing quickly to show that it’s in pairing mode.
Step 5: Find the Xbox One controller on the list of devices.
Back on the NVIDIA Shield TV, the right-hand side of the screen will display any devices nearby that are in pairing mode.
This should only be the Xbox One controller, unless someone is going through this process somewhere else in your home.
Step 6: Pair the Xbox One controller to your NVIDIA Shield.
Once you’ve found the Xbox One controller on the list of devices, click on it to start the pairing process.
You’ll see the status start with the controller’s MAC address, then change to Pairing, then Connecting.
After a few seconds, the status will change to Paired.
Step 7: Exit back to the home screen.
Once the status shows ‘paired’, the process is complete. If you back out to the Remotes & Accessories settings menu, you’ll see the Xbox Wireless Controller listed under your paired devices.
Xbox One Controller: No Headphone Audio
Second and third generation Xbox One controllers have a 3.5 mm headphone jack at the bottom. That’s great if you want to play games without disturbing everyone in your house.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to map that to the NVIDIA Shield. NVIDIA confirmed this back in February 2020.
Xbox One Controller with Wireless Adapter
This is a head-scratcher.
The Xbox 360 controller works with Microsoft’s official wireless adapter on the NVIDIA Shield, but the Xbox One controller doesn’t.
For whatever reason, Microsoft hasn’t created a Linux\Android driver for the Xbox One wireless adapter. Until that happens, there’s no way to get it to work.
If you have a Third Generation Xbox One controller (manufactured after 2016), then it’s easy to connect it to the NVIDIA Shield via Bluetooth. The wired and wireless versions of the Xbox 360 controllers also work well, right out of the box.
However, both first and second generation Xbox One controllers don’t have Bluetooth built-in, so they cannot be used with the Shield TV.
For more great articles like this, head on over to my NVIDIA Shield TV resource page. There you’ll find all of my tips, tricks, reviews and tutorials to help you get the most out of your NVIDIA Shield.