Nvidia Shield TV is the costliest TV streaming device in the market. And, today we bring the Nvidia Shield TV review. Supports 4K HDR streaming, the Nvidia Shield TV uses the new 256-core Tegra X1+ processor that offers 25% enhanced performance. It has 2GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage, and supports gigabit ethernet and dual-band Wi-Fi. Let’s check other features in this Nvidia Shield TV review.
What Is Nvidia Shield TV?
As an entry-level 4K HDR streaming device, the Nvidia Shield TV is costlier but extremely powerful with its cutting-edge AI upscaling tech and supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10 content. Although Android TV OS may be divisive and the lack of a bundled controller is disappointing, the visual performance of Nvidia Shield TV is second-to-none in the category of streaming devices.
- Premium 4K/HDR streaming
- AI Upscaling
- Google Assistant built-in
- Nvidia Ge-Force Now
- Pricey for a 4K streamer
- Doesn’t come with a controller
- No Apple TV app
- No USB ports for extra storage
Price and Availability
The Nvidia Shield TV comes in two configurations, but the widely available Nvidia Shield TV (reviewed here) which has 2GB of RAM, is available for $199 (£179) on their official site. During the sale, you can get it at $149 (£129). It includes the Nvidia Shield Controller and is compatible with DualShock4, newer PS5 Dual Sense Controller, Xbox One controller, and Xbox Series X controllers.
However, the price tag is quite a bit higher compared to other TV streaming devices that support 4K streaming. There’s a substantial difference in features and performance between Nvidia Shield TV and other streaming devices like Fire TV Stick, and Roku Streaming devices for the price differential. But the Nvidia Shield TV is not the cheaper TV streaming device for 4K streaming.
Nvidia Shield TV Review: Design
The 2019 model of Nvidia Shield TV allows you to get back of your entertainment center, keeping away from the TV with the signal interface. However, we didn’t notice a massive difference except for the unique cylindrical design.
Also, the inputs and outputs are unique as they’re located at each end. The power and ethernet connectors are on one end, whereas you’ll find HDMI-out and reset buttons on the other end. Even these connectors are covered with a cutaway cove at the ends for protecting from damage in case of falling something on it.
Although the device is compatible with 802.11ac Wi-Fi for consistent 4K video streaming, an ethernet cable is required for running GeForce gaming, directly connected from your router into the box. So, the ethernet port is a great solution for a reliable network.
Powered by the newly upgraded Tegra X1+ processor with 2GB of RAM, and 8GB of storage plays a vital role in AI upscaling process. Tegra X1+ makes the Nvidia Shield TV a top-of-the-line streaming device and a fairly competitive micro-console that supports a PLEX media server, Samsung SmartThings, and Twitch broadcasting.
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It is shaped like a triangular device with a remote that has backlit buttons and an in-built remote finder feature. The remote is made of plastic but feels good in the hand. You’ll also get all the essential playback control functions including the two Android TV buttons Home and Back, and a dedicated Netflix button.
However, the new Nvidia Shield TV remote has an in-built microphone with Google Assistant and offers HDMI CEC support to control your TV’s volume through the remote. The only problem is that it uses two AAA disposable batteries instead of a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery. All you need to replace the batteries periodically when it runs out of juice.
Nvidia Shield TV Review: Features
Going through the painless and quick setup process, you’ll get a user-friendly interface. Most regular-used apps are at the top row, and several rows under that, follow the content recommendation snippets for every main service.
Including onboard services, the Nvidia Shield TV also has an in-built Chromecast. It allows you to cast content from your smartphone, and PC to the streaming device. It would be a handy feature if you have friends over who want to share videos on the TV.
Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision
The Nvidia Shield TV supports Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision. As it didn’t support decoding, some services on Netflix didn’t work properly. Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos are available on a variety of major platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, Vudu, and Movies Anywhere.
However, HDR10 is available for content that doesn’t support Dolby Vision. The Shield TV supports 4K streaming like most other streaming devices. Even it supports all the primary music streaming services including Spotify.
The Nvidia Shield TV comes with a nearly full-fledged Google Assistant that allows you to control your favorite shows and movies via voice search. However, the voice search isn’t as good as it is on other streaming devices like Roku and Fire TV.
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But the Google Assistant is far more helpful while planning for a day and controlling smart home devices. As the basic version of the Shield TV no longer has USB ports, you can’t plug it in a Samsung SmartThings dongle.
Traditional AI upscaling is the biggest party trick of the Nvidia Shield TV that takes a lower quality 30fps HD (360p, 720p, 1080p, and 1440p) content and converts it to a higher 4K 30fps resolution in real-time. The upgraded Tegra X1+ processor with advanced computing power and a deep learning neural network help to achieve it.
The Nvidia has created a “difference map” to make the AI aware of the missing accuracy, and trained over time its over neural network. It can then make accurate predictions about the traditionally upscaled 4K contents by comparing tons of native 4K contents. It’s pretty amazing to get a better-looking sub-4K quality content.
However, AI upscaling doesn’t support games initially. But, Nvidia has recently added upscaling support on Game Stream Titles and GeForce Now on the Shield TV. You can play locally or via the cloud, but the final result looks slightly over-cooked. That’s why Nvidia provides granular controls to choose between normal quality, traditional enhanced upscaling and AI upscaling in the settings of the Nvidia Shield TV.
Even you’ll get three different choices of adjusting sharpness levels while AI upscaling is on. By default, the Nvidia Shield TV offers medium sharpness on enabled AI upscaling. You can also bump it up to High or drop it to Low if you are vision-impaired or sitting far away from your TV. But avoid the risk of looking at over-sharpened pictures.
Nvidia includes a demo mode in the settings to use a slider for comparing the original and the AI upscaled version. It works on both moving and paused images. You can also use it in apps like VLC.
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Although AI upscaling feature is impressive, it looks a bit too aggressive on some content, especially on wrinkled or stubbled faces. You can get a color mess in some contents that may or may not be bothersome. However, a lot of content like nature documentaries looks fantastic.
So, you need to adopt AI upscaling with your content to get the best experience. Lastly, Nvidia is wise enough to provide user-facing controls that make it super easy to adjust. Technologically it’s really impressive and the AI upscaling setting added a separate positive vibe to turn on rather than using the default option.
The reason behind picking up the Nvidia Shield TV over an Amazon Fire TV or a Roku Ultra is the vacillation of the Shield between a streaming device and a micro game console with Nvidia’s own GeForce Now service. Even if you’re feeling more adventurous, load emulators for some retro game consoles.
Android TV games are either a few years older or the ports of their mobile counterparts. But the games from GeForce Now are much newer. Here problem is that you have to stream probably from a far-located server from where you live. Even you can take games from your PC and stream them on your Shield TV with the help of Game Streaming.
You won’t find such a feature ever on any other streaming devices, although you can achieve similar performance and functionality. The Nvidia packed a Shield Controller inside the Nvidia Shield TV box for gaming. If you have a PS4 or Xbox One controller, you can still partake in the Shield’s gaming features.
Like most of the main streaming devices, Nvidia Shield TV offers Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, YouTube, HBO, Twitch, Hulu, EPIX, Sling TV, Crackle, and many more streaming services. But you won’t find Apple TV in it. However, Apple TV has recently been released on several streaming devices like Amazon Fire TV and Roku Streaming Devices.
Nvidia Shield TV Review: The Verdict
The Nvidia Shield TV is a no-brainer whether you’re a Netflix binger or a gamer. However, the Shield TV is costlier but more powerful and offers a better remote and even more cutting-edge support for the best streaming content.
The Nvidia Shield TV continues to update its software and add new features for justifying the increased price tag. Nvidia isn’t the company that forgets its product and probably offers much longer updates than your smartphone.
The Nvidia Shield TV is perfect for anyone looking for the basic features packs with more power and media support including advanced gaming. What do you think about Nvidia Shield TV? Let us know in the comments below. I hope you will be helpful with this article and please share it with others. If you have anything to ask, comment below. Stay tuned with us and thanks for reading.!!
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Is the Nvidia Shield TV worth it?
Although Nvidia Shield TV is expensive, it offers the best 4K streaming experience with AI upscaling technology.
2) What is the point of Nvidia Shield TV?
The costliest 4K HDR streaming device, the Nvidia Shield TV is an incredibly powerful streaming device with its cutting-edge AI upscaling technology and supports HDR10, Dolby Vision content, and Dolby Atmos sound.
3) What can you do with an Nvidia Shield?
Apart from streaming on TV from all the many streaming platforms and sites, Nvidia Shield TV allows you to play games using GeForce Now.