At three times the price tag on entry-level 4K HDR streaming players, the Nvidia Shield (2019) isn’t cheap, but it’s a remarkably powerful streaming player because of its cutting-edge AI upscaling tech and its own support for both HDR10 and Dolby Vision content. Its Android TV operating-system will be sort of divisive and its insufficient a controller is usually disappointing, but its visual performance is normally second-to-none in the streaming player category.
Premium 4K/HDR streaming
Google Assistant built-in
Nvidia Geforce Now
Pricey for a 4K streamer
Doesn’t include controller
No Apple TV app
No USB ports for extra storage
The Essential Review
Encased in a cylindrical black colored chassis, the brand new Nvidia Shield doesn’t appear to be any streaming video person you’ve ever seen just before – and it doesn’t carry out like a single, either. It’s the to begin its kind to provide AI upscaling – a technology we’ve mostly observed in high-end TVs from Samsung, Sony and LG – however now in a new player at a remarkably reasonable price point.
That said, in $149 (£149, AU$249), it’s around three times the price tag on entry-level 4K streaming players just like the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K or Roku Streaming Stick+, but also for your money, you’re obtaining a crazy powerful 4K HDR streaming video participant with AI upscaling, support for both HDR10 and Dolby Vision content and Dolby Atmos music. You’ll also receive the newly redesigned Shield remote that is revamped to become more user-friendly and the most recent version of Android TV, which serves as a gateway to Nvidia’s game-streaming services, Geforce Now.
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Having said that, you don’t get an HDMI cable to hook up your brand-new player to it inside box nor will the most recent version of the Nvidia Shield include an Nvidia video game controller like the Game playing Edition of these devices did last year.
But, regardless of some minor issues, the Nvidia Shield (2019) is definitely one of the better streaming players available to buy and will be the participant we’ll use seeing that our home streaming system for another year to come.
Price and availability
The brand new Nvidia Shield is available starting on October 28, 2019 and will come in two configurations, the accessible cylindrical Nvidia Shield (reviewed in this article) and the Nvidia Shield Pro which has 1GB of added RAM and a more substantial hard drive.
The former is designed for $149 (£149), as the latter will come in at $199 (£199). It’s worth noting that neither of both configurations are the Nvidia Shield Controller, however both products are compatible with both DualShock4 and Xbox One controller.
Nowadays, obviously, that price is very somewhat greater than the entry-level 4K training video streaming players out there just like the Roku Streaming Stick+ and Amazon Fire Television set Stick 4K, both which are for sale to a third of the purchase price at $49.99 (£49).
There exists a substantial difference in performance and show set for the purchase price differential (Roku doesn’t support Dolby Vision, for instance), however the new Shield is unquestionably certainly not the player for folks looking for 4K streaming over the cheap.
As the Nvidia Shields of years past appeared as if an effective micro console, the 2019 iteration of the Shield looks similar to a sideways Amazon Echo than it can a streaming video participant. The reason behind this, relating to Nvidia, is normally to let you tuck it in to the back again of your entertainment centre – from your TV – that they say trigger signal interference.
Admittedly, we didn’t notice an enormous difference in wireless performance from the Nvidia Shield and a far more traditional player just like the Amazon Fire TV Cube that sits best next to it, however the cylindrical design is aesthetically unique if nothing else.
Also unique is that the inputs and outputs of the player can be found at each end – using one side may be the power and ethernet connectors, while about the other you’ll find HDMI-out and reset button. These connectors are tucked in the cutaway cove in the participant itself, which helps shield the ends from damage in the event something falls behind your mass media center.
How come it have ethernet? Although the box works with with 802.11ac Wi-Fi your very best wager for regular 4K training video streaming or GeForce At this time gaming will be running an ethernet cable directly from your own router in to the box. (We could actually obtain 4K streaming over Wi-Fi, however the ethernet port is a fantastic solution for individuals with a less reliable network.)
The brand new Nvidia Shield (on still left) next to the brand new Nvidia Shield Pro (on most suitable) that appears almost identical to the 2017 model. (Image credit: Nvidia)
In the device you’ll come across the recently upgraded Tegra X1+ processor, which is essential to the AI upscaling procedure that people mentioned earlier, plus 2GB of RAM and 8GB of storage space. Upgrading to the Shield Pro gets you a supplementary 1GB of RAM and 8GB more safe-keeping, plus two USB ports and support for a PLEX mass media server, Samsung SmartThings and Twitch broadcasting from the console.
Obviously, a decent processor just like the Tegra X1+ causes the Nvidia Shield a top-of-the-lin streaming person – and a reasonably competitive micro-console aswell – but we’ll covers that in greater detail below.
The last little bit of the look worth covering may be the new triangular (pyramidical?) remote which has backlit buttons and an integral remote finder feature. As you’d anticipate, the remote itself is normally plastic but it includes a very good think in the hand. Onto it you’ll find all of the basic playback control functions in addition to the two Android Television set buttons (Home and Back again) in addition to a committed Netflix button. Like last year’s pack-in remote, the brand new Shield remote includes a built-in microphone which you can use to talk to Google Assistant for assistance, and a neat surprise in the sort of HDMI CEC support to regulate your TV’s volume through the quantity buttons on the remote.
The simply problem with the remote? It uses two AAA disposable batteries instead of a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery. It’s not really a deal-breaker, nonetheless it does imply that you’ll need to periodically replace the remote when it runs out of juice.
(Image credit: Google)
Features and Android Television
Feel the quick and painless setup method and you’ll end up being greeted by the most recent version of Android Television set, Google’s smart TV program that uses rows and blocks showing you content.
In comparison to Roku’s barebones user interface and Amazon Fire TV’s Amazon-serious UI, Android TV attempts showing you a buffet of articles from different sources: the very best row is your many regularly-used programs, with several rows beneath that follow content advice snippets for each and every of the key services.
Speaking of services, almost all of the principal players are here incorporating Netflix, Amazon Primary, YouTube, Vudu, HBO, Twitch, Hulu, Sling Television set, Crackle, EPIX and several, a lot more. A select handful of these (Netflix and Vudu) offer Dolby Vision best suited from the box, but one software you won’t find here’s Apple TV, which includes recently released on several various other platforms including Fire Television set and Roku.
Furthermore to on-board products and services, the Shield also offers Chromecast Built-in, letting you cast articles from your own smartphone, tablet or Computer to the person. This feature is specially great in case you have close friends over who all prefer to talk about videos on it, and it’s useful if you ever locate that your mobile phone is closer than your remote and you don’t need to get up.
But the real motive you’d want to get the Nvidia Shield over, claim, a Roku Ultra or Amazon Fire Television set Cube is for the reason that Shield can vacillate between a streaming mass media person and a micro video game console with the capacity of playing Android Television set games on the Google Enjoy Store, streaming video games from Nvidia’s own Geforce Nowadays provider or, if you’re sense considerably more adventurous, sideload emulators for a few of your selected retro game consoles.
Android TV game titles that you may download are generally a couple of years older (see: the Tomb Raider reboot) or are ports of their cellular counterparts (see: Age of Zombies). Game titles from GeForce Right now are much, very much newer but include the caveat that they’re all streamed from a server that’s almost certainly located pretty definately not your geographical area. Lastly, GameStreaming gives you to take game titles from your Computer and stream them to your Shield. It’s a neat concept rather than one you’ll very likely ever get on any different streaming video person, although you can perform similar features with the cheaper (though now discontinued) Steam Hyperlink.
The Shield’s penchant for game playing is excatly why it’d be nice if Nvidia packed a Shield Controller inside every box but so long as you have a PS4 or Xbox One controller laying around your home you can even now partake in the Shield’s gaming features.
Lastly, the Shield also includes a practically full-fledged version of Google Assistant. With Google Assistant you can control your intelligent home, require answers to standard questions and locate your chosen shows and films via tone of voice search. Admittedly the tone of voice search right here isn’t as effective as it is on different platforms like Roku, but Assistant is a lot more beneficial when planning your entire day and managing your sensible home than Roku’s fundamental assistant. The bad reports? Because the standard version of the Shield no more features USB ports, you can’t plug in a Samsung SmartThings dongle and utilize that ecosystem anymore.
(Image credit: Nvidia)
Of training course, what really matters virtually all is how it creates content material look – and thankfully it leaves hardly any to be desired here.
Inside our time with the brand new Shield we watched a variety of content, from run-of-the-mill videos on YouTube to HD Television shows plus some spectacular-looking Dolby Vision content from Netflix, which looked dazzling on the TCL 6-Series Quantum that’s currently sitting on our test bench.
Before we dive into each kind of content, we have to start by discussing Nvidia’s proprietary AI upscaler that is very the difference maker between its visual performance and what you’d find on, declare, a Roku Ultra or an Amazon Fire TV Cube. As we stated inside our Nvidia Shield Pro analysis, the AI upscaler is certainly driven by an algorithm dependant on a neural network that is fed hundreds of hours of footage that’s after that processed locally and will hugely sharpen content, so that it is search amazing of your 4K TV.
The upscaler doesn’t focus on every video source (nothing below SD such as a super old YouTube video, for example, or anything above 4K30) nonetheless it excels at building HD content from the last twenty years look like it had been shot earlier this season with a 4K video camera.
Among the best types of this upscaling building a difference was first during Superbad, streamed on Netflix found in HD. With the upscaler on, you could start to see the light reflecting off the actors’ eyes, find out the images on the shirts and could evidently see tiny details just like the nutrition label on a pack of chips Michael Cera and Jonah Hill’s individuals had during lunch.
For some, this degree of detail is unnecessary – who cares what characters in a decade-old film wore? – but also for others, this is definitely precisely the sort of clarity worth spending money on.
(Image credit: Nvidia)
The flip side of the is that, for the reason that Nvidia Shield supports the highest-end HDR format around right now, some content doesn’t even need upscaling. Such was the circumstance for OUR WORLD on Netflix which we could actually watch in jaw-dropping Dolby Vision. Watching OUR WORLD on the Shield was a visible treat with beautifully saturated vistas of the Sahara and Borneo, and inky blacks of the ocean depths and night sky. Assuming you have a TV that helps it, it’s worth witnessing for yourself.
When it had been time to jump in one scene to another, the Shield could buffer the new articles quickly and had minimal issues with pop-in on the house interface. (Though, if it’ll remain that way later on after Google’s up coming update continues to be to be observed.)
In fact really the only issue with the TV’s performance is that Android TV could be a little buggy. Earlier versions of the software program before the hottest release were referred to for crashing, even though Google has done an excellent job repairing that on the most recent version, we’re definitely skeptical of bugs and program crashing errors returning with a vengeance.
(Image credit: Future)
Who’s it for?
Premium Cord-Cutters and Streamers: The brand new Nvidia Shield is reduced 4K HDR/Dolby Perspective streaming player. It’s certainly not the least expensive gateway into 4K streaming, nonetheless it is probably the most effective. If you’re seeking to dabble in high-end formats, it is the player to get.
Discerning Cinephiles: Since AI upscaling really targets the small highlights in a scene (the lettering on a tote of chips, the lines and wrinkles in someone’s encounter, etc…) comparatively observant cinephiles are certain to get the maximum entertainment from the upscaling top features of the new Shield.
Who’s it certainly not for?
Budget Cord-Cutters: The Shield is powerful and fast, absolutely, but no person will lay claim it’s the least expensive 4K HDR streaming participant in the marketplace. It’s not also the least expensive 4K HDR person to provide Dolby Vision. So, having said that, you can save a good amount of money if you don’t mind skipping from some features. We wouldn’t recommend it, but entertainment budgets happen to be tight and the Shield’s upscaling tech can be extra of a nicety when compared to a necessity.
HDTV Owners: We’d produce the same argument for High definition tv owners thinking of buying a new streaming participant – the Shield is most likely more power than you’re have to. You can save a heap of money by choosing something similar to the Roku Express rather.