Nvidia Shield TV 2017: Forget Apple TV, this could be the TV hub you’re looking for
Making its debut at CES 2017, Nvidia’s 2017 Shield TV is an Nvidia-powered, Android-based TV hub/console that brings the power of Android TV, PC gaming and streaming content to your living room.
The 2017 model is similar to the previous one in that the Nvidia Tegra X1 chip remains. It’s a powerful SoC by mobile standards and is known for its graphical prowess. The remote and controller have been redesigned, but the biggest update is one that happened behind the scenes.Read more ↓
But first, the design. The box is very small, barely larger than a large phone, but it does feature two full-sized USB 3.0 ports, which the previous one didn’t have. The USB ports do, however, replace the microSD and SD card slots from the previous devices. Nvidia says that you can connect external hard disks via the USB ports, so you needn’t have to spend extra for the 500GB version of the tablet.
The new controller features an interesting new design, which seems very polygonal. It features a more traditional, PS4 DualShock controller-style layout. The capacitive buttons and trackpad from the previous model have been replaced, though you now get a capacitive volume slider.
The remote also gets an update with a much needed IR blaster, allowing you to control your TV or other device directly. Sadly, the 3.5mm jack is gone from the remote. On the plus side, the batteries are now user-replaceable.
The real reason you want the Shield, however, is content and game-streaming. Nvidia supports game streaming on the Shield via GeForce Now via a subscription service or from Steam and GeForce Now on your PC. There is also a dedicated store where you can purchase PC games that have been ported to Android specifically for Nvidia. This includes Portal and Half-Life 2.
While the device itself gets little by way of improvements, Nvidia’s done a lot of work on its servers, the backbone of GeForce Now, which enables smoother streaming and lower latency.
On the content side, Nvidia managed to bag Amazon Instant Video, a service that has eluded Google’s grasp. You also get full support for 4K and HDR playback (HDR10). Dolby support is still lacking, however. Android TV support has also been added.
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