Nvidia has a brand new household of Android TV-based streaming units, as tipped early through a few leaks from on-line shops. The new Nvidia Shield TV ($149) and Shield TV Pro ($199) exchange the present Shield TV technology of {hardware}, which debuted in 2017. Both new Shields supply new Tegra X1+ processors, which outperform the predecessor chip by about 25 %, and make attainable certainly one of this Shield’s new spotlight options: AI-powered 3K up-conversion for HD content material.
Both Shield TV and Shield TV Pro additionally assist Dolby Vision HDR content material, in addition to Dolby Atmos encompass sound. The variations between the 2 units middle primarily round bodily design, with the Shield TV adopting a cylindrical tube design, and the Shield TV Pro wanting extra like its predecessor (principally a small set-top field kind issue). The Shield TV Pro additionally will get extra RAM (3GB vs. 2GB), extra storage (16GB vs 8GB) the power to transcode 1080p streams when appearing as a Plex Media Server, assist for the SmartThings Link to show it right into a SmartThings sensible dwelling hub and superior Android gaming assist, together with two USB 3.0 ports.

I’ve been utilizing the Shield TV for round every week now, and that is undoubtedly a worthwhile improve for anybody trying to get the absolute best expertise obtainable in an Android TV dwelling theater system. Nvidia has clearly finished so much to survey the market, take a look at all the pieces that’s come out within the two years because it final up to date this {hardware}, and supply generational enhancements that assist it stand out from the gang in significant methods.
Android TV now ships on quite a lot of sensible TVs, and there have been many generations of Roku and Amazon Fire TV units launched since we final noticed a brand new Shield from Nvidia – all of which provides as much as needing to actually do one thing particular to ask for $149.99 from shoppers to put money into a brand new devoted streaming media field. Nvidia has at all times delivered quite a lot of worth for the upfront price of their streaming {hardware}, with constant updates over the lifetime of the units that add loads of new options and enhancements. But this new {hardware} packs in some wonderful options not attainable with software program alone, and which are additionally distinctive whenever you look throughout the choices obtainable on this class.
AI Upscaling
Chief among the many additions Nvidia has made right here is the AI upscaling made attainable with the brand new Tegra X1+ chip. You may need heard of ‘upscaling’ earlier than, and also you may even suppose that your TV already handles that effectively. But what you in all probability don’t know is that usually content material from streaming media sources doesn’t truly get upscaled by your TV, which suggests when you have a 4K show however are sometimes watching YouTube or different companies with massive portions of non-4K content material, you won’t be getting probably the most out of your {hardware}.
Nvidia has addressed this with on-device 4K upscaling, which is powered by on-device machine intelligence that has been skilled on a deep neural community to show each 720p and 1080p alerts into a lot sharper, 4K-equivalent photographs. Having used this on a wide range of content material, together with media streamed from YouTube, non-4K Netflix content material and stuff from Plex, I can attest to its capacity to supply visibly sharper photographs that look nice, particularly on my LG C8-series OLED 4K TV.
The Shield TV’s tech is skilled on in style films and TV exhibits, and so does a remarkably good job of guessing what the 4K model of the HD picture it’s ought to correctly appear like. Considering that there’s a ton of content material on the market that hasn’t been made obtainable in 4K, regardless of now quite a lot of TVs supporting that decision, it is a massive benefit for Nvidia, and once more one which they uniquely supply amongst their friends.
Dolby Everything
These new Shields additionally assist Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, throughout extra companies than anything on the market available on the market proper now. These HDR and encompass sound modes actually do supply the perfect audio-visual expertise you may get, supplied you’ve got TVs and audio output gear that helps them, however what you won’t know is that even on different streaming {hardware} that technically assist these requirements, they won’t be supported throughout all companies.
Shield TV helps Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos throughout Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Vudu and Movies Anywhere, so you have to be getting probably the most out of those applied sciences, too. I requested in regards to the forthcoming Apple TV+ service, which is rolling out to Roku units, as an illustration, however Nvidia didn’t have any information to share simply but – it does seem to be it’s a good suggestion to remain tuned on that entrance, nonetheless.
Like AI Upscaling, Dolby assist throughout all the pieces won’t seem to be a giant aggressive benefit, but it surely’s completely a choice tipping issue for people who find themselves in search of the absolute best A/V expertise in a house streaming system.
New and Improved Remote
Nvidia is transport the brand new Shield TVs with a model new redesigned distant within the field. There’s a devoted ‘Netflix’ button, which is a pleasant contact, however the distant total is simply an enchancment over each Shield remotes previous, and different competing remotes, in each method. It’s powered by AAA batteries (included) and it has a brand new pyramid-shaped physique design that makes it simpler and extra nice to carry.
There are additionally a number of new buttons! Yes, Nvidia truly put buttons on their distant management – what a novel idea! Whereas the distant from the final technology gave the impression to be adopting quite a lot of the questionable selections Apple has lengthy been making on their remotes, this one feels prefer it’s made with people in thoughts, with devoted play/pause, again, ahead, quantity and different buttons. A wealth of buttons.
This distant additionally has automated backlighting, which is able to serve you effectively when utilizing it in a darkened room. Because of the bulkier physique design, it additionally stands on its finish, and there’s a misplaced distant discovering perform, too. Chalk up a win for human-centric design with this distant, it’s a pleasure to make use of.
Simple bodily design
The design of the system will not be flashy, however it’s sensible. There’s an Ethernet port, an influence connector, an HDMI port and a micro SD card slot, dividing throughout each ends of the tube. This makes it good for putting behind a console or media bench, on the bottom or subsequent to your different energy cables.

It nonetheless gives hardwired connectivity choices in case you do issues like in-home recreation streaming or GeForce NOW cloud gaming, and it presents expandable storage through the microSD slot.
Bottom Line
Nvidia’s new Shield is a good choice for anybody in search of a flexible streaming system, with entry to all of Google’s Play Store apps for Android TV, and assist for the most recent AV requirements. It’s actual bonus benefit is that AI upscaling, nonetheless, which is one thing that Nvidia is uniquely poised to do effectively, and which works a great distance in making that $149.99 worth level seem to be an incredible worth.

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