Nowadays, Android comes in a number of ways. From smartphones & watches to even your TV with devices such as the Nvidia Shield TV. I’ve been using 2017 version of the Nvidia Shield TV for a while and it’s easily one of the best media streaming boxes out there.
Design & Hardware
The Nvidia Shield TV for 2017 is a small but powerful box. It’s around 40% smaller than the 2015 model and is being powered by the Nvidia Tegra X1 processor with 3GB of RAM.
The box itself has a slightly angular design that helps it stand out than other media streaming boxes out there, especially with the green LED strip on the top. The device mixes matte and glossy texture on the top.
As for ports, the standard Nvidia Shield TV comes with two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI (with support for 4K and HDR) and Gigabit Ethernet. The standard Nvidia Shield TV comes with 16GB of internal storage.
The storage is where my first gripe begins, I feel like 16GB isn’t enough, just like it isn’t enough on a smartphone. I would have liked Nvidia to include at least 32GB, especially since if you’re going to be playing Android games on the device, some can be a few gigabytes in size. And soon enough, your Shield TV’s storage can be filled up.
The Nvidia Shield TV comes with a voice remote which can be used to talk to the Google Assistant and a redesigned controller that has a polygonic design and feel. Overall, the Shield controller feel like a skinnier version of the Xbox One controller. The controller can also be used for voice controls. The voice remote on the other hand does the job but there were a few times when the remote wouldn’t work or there would be a big delay. You can also use the voice remote for to talk hands-free to the Google Assistant.
The Nvidia Shield TV is available in Canada for around $269 CAD and that gets you the box, controller, and remote. Nvidia is also now selling a version of the Shield TV without the controller for around $229 CAD. An additional controller will set you back around $75 CAD and a vertical stand for around $25 CAD.
In Canada, you can buy the Nvidia Shield TV (2017) from Amazon.ca, Nvidia’s website, NCIX, Memory Express, Vision Electronics and Canada Computers. In the US, the Nvidia Shield TV (2017) is available from Amazon.com, Best Buy, B&H Photo & Video and Nvidia’s website.
The Nvidia Shield TV is running the latest version of Android TV which is based on Android 7.0 Nougat. Google has made it a point with Android TV as well as Android Wear that manufacturers aren’t allowed to put a skin on top, to help keep it the same across devices.
So for the most part, Android TV on the Shield TV looks like stock Android. You have your recent apps on the top of the homescreen than the installed apps and games in rows below that.
The Shield TV comes pre-installed with the usual Google apps such as YouTube, Play Movies & TV. You’ll also find video apps such as Amazon Prime Video and Plex. Since Plex is pre-installed onto the Shield TV, you have the option to make your device into a Plex media server with all your movies and show. Or you can just use the Plex app to connect to your existing Plex server.
You also have the ability to cast your favourite apps on your Android, iOS, Mac, Windows devices, in 4K (when connected to a 4K TV). Since the Shield TV has the Google Assistant, you can use the Assistant to launch apps, control playback or ask Google questions. Not every app has the ability to control using the Google Assistant but apps like Plex and Netflix do.
Part of the issue with Android TV is there is a severe lack of apps. Sure you have your Netflix, YouTube, Plex. But not every entertainment app in the Google Play Store that has a version for Android phones, might not necessarily have an Android TV version.
The Shield TV is intended to be not just a media streaming device but also made for gaming. That’s where Nvidia’s GeForce Now service comes in. For around $7.99 USD per month, you can have access to Nvidia’s cloud-gaming service that allows you to play PC games at up to 1080p at 60fps.
Android games had no issues running on the Shield TV, I was able to play The Witness and GoNNER.
For the most part, GeForce Now works but there can be some delay if you’re playing on a Wi-Fi connection, compared to being connected via Ethernet. In addition to GeForce Now, you can also use the Shield TV to stream PC games that you own from your own PC, as long as it has a Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics card.
Overall, the Shield TV is a great media streamer. It can play video content in 4K as well as have the ability to play games, whether its Android games or streaming PC games. However, the Shield TV is on the more expensive side of media streaming boxes, so for some, it may be hard to justify the cost of the Shield TV, especially when devices like the Roku Ultra or Chromecast Ultra at significantly cheaper.
But if you’re looking for one of the best 4K video streaming players out there, that can also be used for gaming, look no further than the Shield TV.
- Google Assistant integration (including hands-free)
- 4K and HDR support (including for Netflix & Prime Video)
- Compact design
- Voice remote and controller included
- Relatively expensive
- GeForce Now can be hit or miss (depending on your connection)
- App selection isn’t the greatest
- 16GB is not enough space