Nvidia’s Android TV streaming player is a bit pricey, but it offers more advanced video and gaming capabilities than similar devices from Roku and Amazon

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nvidia shield tv

Christian De Looper/Enterprise Insider

  • Nvidia’s Defend TV streaming containers have lengthy supplied wonderful Android TV efficiency with entry to a big assortment of apps.
  • The newest Shield TV has a cylindrical design, and it is constructed to be positioned behind different parts, or in a nook.
  • The highly effective gadget gives superior 4K, HDR, gaming, and upscaling capabilities, together with built-in Google Assistant help.
  • At $149.99, the Shield TV is a bit of costly in comparison with gamers from Roku and Amazon, however the gadget is a good possibility for patrons who need a high-end Android TV resolution.
  • For extra media participant suggestions, try our information to the best streaming boxes and sticks

The Nvidia Shield TV lineup has lengthy been the go-to streaming resolution for those who need Android TV capabilities in a high-performance field. The basic Defend TV held its place as the most effective choices for just a few years — till Nvidia lastly gave it an improve, and break up the road into two units: The Shield TV and the Shield TV Pro

At $149.99, the usual Defend TV is $50 cheaper than the Professional mannequin, and it gives an all-new tube design. However is it truly value shopping for? Or do you have to pay a bit further for the dearer mannequin? I have been testing the Nvidia Defend TV to search out out.

Design and setup

The present Shield TV Pro could provide the identical rectangular form as the unique Defend TV mannequin, however the cheaper model has been utterly redesigned from the bottom up. Gone is the black field look. As an alternative, what we get here’s a tube-shaped gadget that Nvidia says is designed to be tucked behind a TV or within the nook of a shelf. It isn’t a nasty look, and whereas it is a bit of unusual making an attempt to put a cylindrical gadget, most patrons will be capable of discover a first rate spot to cover it.

A part of what makes the Shield TV concealable in any respect is the truth that it is comparatively small. The gadget measures in at 6.5 inches huge and 1.6 inches thick, which is not that massive in any respect. It is across the similar dimension of a can of spray deodorant. Port-wise, the tube has an HDMI and MicroSD card slot on one aspect, and an Ethernet and energy port on the opposite. That is just about the whole lot you will want, and the flexibility to increase the gadget’s storage by way of the MicroSD card slot is a pleasant contact.

The distant has additionally been redesigned. Gone is the comparatively flat look of the unique Defend TV’s distant, in favor of a prism form. It is comparatively thick in comparison with the earlier technology distant, but it surely nonetheless feels superb within the hand. Sadly, additionally gone is the rechargeable battery, in favor of replaceable AAA batteries. That looks as if a step backwards.

The controls on the distant are fairly fundamental, however that is not a nasty factor as this makes the distant comparatively simple to make use of. You get backlit playback controls, quantity features, Android software program controls, and a giant Netflix button on the underside. 

Establishing the Defend TV is pretty easy. You begin by plugging it into an influence port, after which into an HDMI enter in your TV. As soon as the gadget switches on, you simply have to log into your Google account and obtain the apps that you simply need to use. 

  • Dimensions: 1.57 x 1.57 x 6.5 inches
  • Weight: 4.83 oz
  • Storage: 8GB
  • CPU: Nvidia Tegra X1+ processor
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, Gigabit Ethernet
  • Video decision: as much as 4K Extremely HD
  • HDR: Dolby Imaginative and prescient and HDR10 help
  • Audio: Dolby Atmos and DTS-X encompass help
  • Voice management: Google Assistant built-in, works with Amazon Alexa

In day-to-day use, the Nvidia Shield TV could be very simple to navigate. Android TV is mostly a heavy working system, and a few TVs with Android built-in are sometimes sluggish. Fortunately, the Defend TV is well-equipped to carry out due to its Tegra X1+ processor and 2GB of RAM.

The tip result’s quick and responsive software program with entry to an intensive library of streaming apps and providers, together with Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Peacock, and HBO Max. One of many solely main apps that is not presently accessible is Apple TV Plus.  

In fact, the gadget’s spectacular processing energy has one other function — it permits help for 4K decision and High Dynamic Range (HDR) playback. In observe, because of this so long as your TV and the content material you are watching help these requirements, you will get crisp video and extra colourful content material with increased distinction. 

Not like Roku’s streaming units, the Shield TV additionally helps the Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR format. This commonplace can provide higher HDR efficiency and scalability when paired with a Dolby Imaginative and prescient succesful TV. A number of streaming providers help Dolby Imaginative and prescient content material, together with Netflix, Disney Plus, and Vudu

The Shield TV additionally helps upscaling, permitting HD content material (720p and 1080p) to look extra detailed and sharp, with out having to be in native 4K. Nvidia’s course of makes use of Synthetic Intelligence (AI) to research the image in real-time, leading to increased high quality upscaling than many TVs.

AI-enhanced upscaling might be activated within the Settings menu. As soon as activated, you get three choices for element enhancement: low, medium, and excessive. I like to recommend turning AI-enhanced upscaling on and setting element enhancement to excessive. It is vital to notice that the tech actually solely works on video at 30 frames per second or decrease, so since some apps, like YouTube, typically stream at greater than 30 fps, there can be instances when the tech will not be enabled. 

However, for HD films and reveals on Netflix or Prime Video, the function works nice. Sequence that are not in 4K, like “The Workplace,” profit properly from Nvidia’s AI upscaling course of. Particulars are noticeably sharper, and content material merely does not have the identical pixelation that it in any other case would.

As a result of the Shield TV is predicated on Android TV, it ties neatly into Google’s total ecosystem. For instance, it has Google Assistant constructed proper into it, which can be utilized to search out out data from the online, management good dwelling units, and management content material in your TV. It really works fairly effectively, and it is quick on the Defend TV.

Utilizing the voice distant is an effective expertise. Whereas the earlier technology distant appeared higher, its slimness meant that it might simply slip between sofa cushions — and that is not an issue right here. The added bodily buttons for quantity controls, and the backlit keys, are a pleasant contact as effectively.

One of many issues that makes the Nvidia Shield TV distinctive amongst streaming gamers is that it helps sport streaming by way of the GeForce Now streaming platform. These actually into sport streaming ought to in all probability save up a bit of extra and go for the marginally dearer Shield TV Pro, contemplating it has further RAM. That mentioned, the usual gadget nonetheless helps sport streaming should you purchase a compatible controller or have one useful.

Sport streaming with GeForce Now truly works rather well, however there are just a few caveats. For starters, you actually need to have a superb web connection to get a really seamless expertise, and to get essentially the most out of the service, you will nonetheless have to personal or buy video games from platforms like Steam as a way to play them. 

Lastly, GeForce Now solely helps streaming at 1080p — so do not anticipate to get 4K gaming in your TV by way of the Defend. All that mentioned, should you do not thoughts coping with these points, gaming on the Shield TV is a enjoyable expertise. It is value checking if the video games you are interested by are supported earlier than you get too excited, however the selection is mostly fairly good.

Maybe the primary situation with the Shield TV is that it is comparatively costly, although it is the cheaper of the 2 Defend TV units. Should you’re out there for a reasonable streaming gadget, it could be value taking a look at merchandise from firms like Roku and Amazon, which supply numerous media sticks and boxes which are cheaper than the Defend TV. 

Should you’re in search of an Android TV-based streaming gadget, you possibly can’t do a lot better than the Defend TV collection. The usual Shield TV gives lots of the similar options discovered on the Professional model, together with 4K HDR playback, Dolby Imaginative and prescient and Dolby Atmos help, AI upscaling, Google Assistant, and GeForce Now gaming capabilities. The Android TV platform works effectively and, whereas not for all tastes, the gadget’s distinctive tube-shaped design makes it simple to retailer the participant out of view. 

Which mannequin do you have to get?

The Shield TV ($149.99) and Shield TV Pro ($199.99) each provide comparable specs and options. With that mentioned, the dearer Defend TV Professional does step issues up with two USB Ports, 3GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, help for high-resolution audio upsampling, and Plex Media Server capabilities. The Professional mannequin additionally makes use of a extra conventional rectangular design.

Should you’re interested by gaming and media server features, it might be value paying the additional $50 for the Pro model. Relating to common streaming playback, nonetheless, the common Shield TV is simply as succesful and prices much less cash.  

What are your alternate options?

Although the Defend TV’s highly effective processing is spectacular, in order for you a sensible streaming gadget on a finances, then it is value taking a look at Roku’s lineup as an alternative. The Roku Ultra gives dependable 4K HDR streaming, Dolby Atmos capabilities, and a voice distant for a retail worth of $99.99. With that mentioned, Roku’s participant does not function Dolby Imaginative and prescient, built-in Google Assistant, or GeForce Now gaming.

It must also be famous, that whereas sturdy performers in their very own proper, Roku and Amazon media gamers are presently lacking help for just a few key streaming providers, together with HBO Max and Peacock.

If you would like a robust streaming gadget with these apps, together with Android TV, simple integration with Google’s ecosystem, Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR, AI-upscaling, and superior gaming capabilities, then the Defend TV is a greater possibility.

Execs: Highly effective efficiency, nice upscaling and video help, HDR10 and Dolby Imaginative and prescient capabilities, gaming choices

Cons: Costly, design takes some getting used to


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