A week ago, I was checking my Nexus Player multiple times per day for the new Lollipop 5.1 software update and would always get the message that everything was up-to-date. I knew that the update was out there, but for whatever reason, I just wasn’t one of the lucky people at the front of the line. Fortunately it’s pretty easy to flash the Android TV 5.1 Lollipop update onto your Nexus Player manually.
If you don’t want to wait for the over-the-air (OTA) update, here’s how I manually flashed the 5.1 Lollipop update onto my Nexus Player.
Make sure you have access to:
- A computer (a Windows computer if you follow this guide)
- A micro USB cable to connect the Nexus Player to your computer
- A Nexus Player to flash the update on
First, download the appropriate update from Google’s servers. You want the 5.1.0 (LMY47D) download for the Nexus Player. Once it’s downloaded, extract the contents of the file. There will be four files along with a ZIP file. Extract the contents of the ZIP file as well so everything is in one directory.
Next, download and install Minimal ADB and Fastboot. This is the software that will update your Nexus Player. You’ll also need to download and install the USB drivers for Windows so your computer will recognize your Nexus Player.
Now, cut and paste the files you extracted from the TGZ file you downloaded in the first step. Remember to include the four files from the TGZ and the files contained within the ZIP file. Paste all these files into the folder where Minimal ADB and Fastboot was installed.
Next we need to get your computer to recognize the Nexus Player.
With the HDMI cable plugged into the Nexus Player but with the power cable unplugged, hold down the button on the bottom of the Nexus Player. While holding the button down, plug the power cable in. You’ll see the light on the bottom of the NP turn on then start to flash. When it starts to flash, let go of the button. You should then see the image below on your display:
When you see that image, plug the USB cable into the Nexus Player. If the USB drivers installed properly, you should see a message pop up on your computer letting you know that the computer recognizes the device.
To confirm your computer can see the Nexus Player, run Minimal ADB and Fastboot and from the command prompt it launches, type, fastboot devices. A message similar to that below is the result you’re looking for. It lists the serial number of your device and says “fastboot” beside it. That confirms your computer can see the Nexus Player.
The next step is to unlock the bootloader. From the command prompt type fastboot oem unlock. You will get an error message. This is normal. Type the same command fastboot oem unlock a second time and then it will unlock the bootloader of your Nexus Player. Then you’re ready to flash the 5.1 Lollipop update.
The final step is to type flash-all.bat to send the update to the Nexus Player for installing. It will do this automatically so just let it do its thing. When it’s finished, you’ll see a message that says to press any key to exit the command prompt. Do that, then reboot your Nexus Player and enjoy the update.
Please note that you don’t need two displays to do this. You don’t need to connect the Nexus Player to a screen to see the bootloader menu. I showed it just as an example. All you really need to do is connect the Nexus Player to power and to your computer with the USB cable. All the flashing is done on the computer and sent to the NP through the USB connection. When the command prompt tells you it’s finished, you can exit Minimal ADB and Fastboot and then reconnect your Nexus Player to your television.
I wish I could have taken more screenshots as I went through the process, but I flashed the update last week and don’t want to do it again. Now I know for next time!
One thing I must mention: this will wipe out your Nexus Player. You’ll be back at square one and have to enter all your information and download all your apps again. But, if you can’t get the update any other way, then it’s worth it.
Good luck, and if you have any questions, let me know in the comments.