What is a Shield TV?
For many, Android TV boxes are a tough sell, as flattering many each new TV has a possess apartment of streaming apps pre-installed. That was because a strange Nvidia Shield TV was such a acquire surprise.
The box offering top-end hardware, a accumulation of video apps, 4K streaming, and entrance to a Nvidia GeForce Now gaming library. This done it a constrained choice for anyone looking for an affordable party hub.
One year on, Nvidia’s selected not to stone a vessel too many with a follow-up Shield TV, and has refined, rather than reimagined, a device, adding things like softened voice authority functionality and HDR support.
The finish outcome competence demeanour underwhelming, nonetheless after 3 days with it, we can endorse a upgrades are overwhelming and really make a Shield TV one of a softened streaming packages around. However, a tide unavailability of many of a many engaging features, such as softened diversion streaming and Zigbee intelligent home connectivity, make it feel a tiny like a v1.5 update.
Video: Shield TV review
Shield TV – Design and Controller
On paper a new Shield is technically roughly matching to a predecessor. It’s powered by a same NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor and an matching pattern of power, HDMI 2.0, twin USB 3.0 and Ethernet ports.
The coming of a X1 system-on-chip will provoke spec-heads, who were awaiting a device to run Nvidia’s legendary X2 follow-up, nonetheless for now a X1 chip is some-more than absolute enough. Nvidia claims a CPU/GPU multiple creates a Shield 4 times faster than a Fire TV and functionality-wise it still ticks all a right boxes.
The X1 is a same system-on-chip as that seen in a Nintendo Switch. It’s formed on Nvidia’s somewhat aged Maxwell architecture, nonetheless it’s means of 4K HDR playback during 60fps. Unless you’re formulation on upgrading to a TV with HDMI 2.1 after this year, this is as good as you’re going to get out of a streaming box.
Nvidia’s also managed to container a hardware into a significantly smaller chassis, scarcely a third smaller than a original, that is an considerable feat. My usually regard is that Nvidia’s cut a microSD label container from a design, that will be a pain for people who buy a elementary 16GB Shield and wish to download, not stream, video content.
Related: What is 4K?
The games controller and remote have had a some-more consummate redesign. For starters, they’re now enclosed with a console. The 2015 book usually shipped with a controller.
But Nvidia’s also given a controller a visible overhaul. The new chronicle looks like a cranky between an Nvidia Founder’s Edition graphics label and Xbox One pad. Personally, I’m not a vast fan of a bony design, that feels a tiny reduction gentle to reason than a well-spoken predecessor, nonetheless we am gratified with a under-the-hood hardware upgrades.
Haptic feedback was woefully absent from a strange controller, that done gaming feel somewhat reduction immersive, that is because I’m gratified to see it on a 2017 pad. The further of an IR conductor is another good touch, definition we can now change a volume on your TV regulating a gamepad – no need to collect adult your remote.
But for me a improvements to a controller’s microphone are key. Nvidia’s tweaked a mic so it can collect adult voices from a wider field, that sounds tiny fry, nonetheless it’s required for one of a Shield TV’s best new facilities – Google Assistant.
Assistant is Google’s chronicle of Amazon Alexa, and is designed to let we control intelligent inclination simply by articulate to them. Its further means we can now mountain web searches and control apps regulating on a Shield TV simply by observant “OK Google” followed by your authority when nearby your controller.
The underline worked a provide and during my time with a Shield we found a voice approval to be some-more supportive and accurate than a Kinect 2’s, nonetheless somewhat behind a Amazon Echo’s. The mic simply picked adult elementary commands such as “pause”, “play” and “next track”, nonetheless it would spasmodic event with some-more enigmatic queries. Trying to hunt for VeltPunch albums in a Google Play store lead to some false results, for example.
Related: What is HDR?
The functionality will also turn some-more useful once Nvidia’s Spot and Zigbee/Z-Wave wireless dongle are released. The Spot is Nvidia’s answer to a Amazon Echo Dot. It’s a tiny intelligent orator that plugs into any wall socket. Once plugged in it enables we to continue regulating Google Assistant when divided from a Shield.
The Shield supports a Samsung SmartThings ecosystem, nonetheless Nvidia has pronounced it intends to recover a wireless dongle will let it bond directly to any Zigbee/Z-Wave intelligent device in a nearby future. If a complement works rightly this could make a Shield a executive authority hire for any intelligent home setup. I’ll be updating this examination a impulse we get my hands on a Spot cold hang or nand a dongle.
Shield TV 2 – Software, 4K HDR Streaming and GeForce Now
The dongle and Spot aren’t a usually upgrades not now operative on a new Shield. When Nvidia denounced a Shield it done a vast understanding about a outrageous changes it’ll be creation to a GeForce Experience software, that is directly baked into a streaming box.
The dual biggest upgrades enclosed a opening boost to Nvidia’s GeForce Now remote play subscription use and a ability to couple your Ubisoft UPlay comment to a shield.
Nvidia claims a new GeForce Now program will let we tide titles during a graphics peculiarity homogeneous to a desktop PC regulating possibly a GTX 1080 GPU.
The UPlay ascent means Shield owners will be means to tide games from their Ubisoft library, such as Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, The Division, Far Cry Primal, Watch Dogs, Watch Dogs 2, For Honor, and The Crew, from a impulse they’re expelled on PC. UPlay competence not be a best store, nonetheless if this functionality carried on rolling out to other stores, like EA’s Origin, or even Steam, it would make a Shield a good choice for gamers frequently on a move.
The Nvidia Store’s existent gaming ecosystem is noticeably some-more grown than competing streaming boxes. The series of titles isn’t anywhere nearby as vast as Steam’s nonetheless it includes some dark gems and classics we won’t be means get on any tide era console. Scrolling by a library we was means to fast find a series of retro games I’ve been hungry to replay, like Jade Empire, flattering many all a Final Fantasies and Fear 2. Newer titles are a still a bit of a churned bag however, you’ll find some new titles like Shadow Warrior 2, nonetheless many games expelled within a final few months are noticeably absent. The gaming knowledge itself is great. Games simply streamed on my BT Infinity Broadband tie and we never suffered any critical drops in framerate or network errors during my time with a Shield TV. Downloading games is a tiny wily on a 16GB indication as there’s not adequate space to get many complicated games nonetheless a reduce finish Android games, like Banner Saga implement and ran fine.
Related: Apple TV review
Graphically though, games from a Android store, that is apart from Nvidia’s possess Store, are somewhat reduction impressive. As was a box on a strange Shield TV some Android games don’t upscale onto a vast shade that good and can humour from pixelation. How bad a effects are depends on a accurate pretension you’re playing.
Outside of this a usually other upgrades are a further of HDR streaming, nonetheless this will also be appearing on a strange Shield around a program upgrade.The Shield TV is now a usually pennon that offers 4K HDR observation and is a usually box to embody 360 Youtube videos.
The underline works good adequate and there’s a decent array of HDR 4K calm accessible on a Shield, that has entrance to all a renouned party apps you’d design – Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube and Google Play Movies, and some some-more enigmatic ones like Crunchyroll and Shudder.
Related: Best 4K TVs
Should we buy a Shield TV 2?
The Shield TV is now a best Android TV box around. The 2017 indication is noticeably faster than competing packages, such as a Amazon Fire, and has a significantly softened gaming portfolio. If we are on a marketplace for an all-in-one streaming box this is one of a best we can buy.
I wouldn’t suggest that existent Shield TV owners should rush out and buy one, however. Too many of a cold new facilities are possibly appearing on a aged Shield TV anyway, or haven’t been activated on a newer model, so it doesn’t nonetheless feel like a poignant upgrade. The new controller will be value picking adult separately, though.
Current-gen games console owners competence also onslaught to clear a squeeze as well, so a Shield is certainly a niche device.
For gaming, a Shield is during a best when used in and with an Nvidia gaming PC in your house, and creates streaming games from your PC to a TV in another room super easy. The glorious array of apps, streaming services, HDR and disdainful games is also really attractive.
With a elementary 16GB indication costing a large £189 and a 500GB chronicle retailing for £279, a new Shield TV is also one of a many costly streaming boxes around, that is a obstacle even when a facilities are considered.
Hopefully it’ll feel a tiny some-more sparkling and clear a high cost when Nvidia rolls out a GeForce Now and intelligent home upgrades after this year.
The Shield TV is still a best streaming box around, nonetheless a best facilities haven’t arrived yet.