NVIDIA Shield 2019 review – TechSwitch

    Nvidia has a brand new household of Android TV-based streaming gadgets, as tipped early by way of a few leaks from on-line shops. The new Nvidia Shield TV ($149) and Shield TV Pro ($199) change the prevailing Shield TV technology of {hardware}, which debuted in 2017. Both new Shields provide new Tegra X1+ processors, which outperform the predecessor chip by about 25%, and make potential considered 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 help Dolby Vision HDR content material, in addition to Dolby Atmos encompass sound. The variations between the 2 gadgets heart primarily round bodily design, with the Shield TV adopting a cylindrical tube design, and the Shield TV Pro wanting extra like its predecessor (mainly a small set-top field type issue). The Shield TV Pro additionally will get extra RAM (3GB versus 2GB), extra storage (16GB versus 8GB), the power to transcode 1080p streams when performing as a Plex Media Server, help for the SmartThings Link to show it right into a SmartThings sensible residence hub and superior Android gaming help, together with two USB 3.0 ports.

    I’ve been utilizing the Shield TV for round per week now, and that is positively a worthwhile improve for anybody trying to get the absolute best expertise accessible in an Android TV residence theater system. Nvidia has clearly completed quite a bit to survey the market, take a look at every part that’s come out within the two years because it final up to date this {hardware} and ship generational enhancements that assist it stand out from the gang in significant methods.
    Android TV now ships on plenty of sensible TVs, and there have been many generations of Roku and Amazon Fire TV gadgets 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 spend money on a brand new devoted streaming media field. Nvidia has at all times delivered plenty of worth for the upfront price of their streaming {hardware}, with constant updates over the lifetime of the gadgets that add loads of new options and enhancements. But this new {hardware} packs in some glorious options not potential with software program alone, and which are additionally distinctive while you look throughout the choices accessible on this class.
    AI upscaling
    Chief among the many additions Nvidia has made right here is the AI upscaling made potential 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 properly. 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 providers with giant portions of non-4K content material, you won’t be getting essentially 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 educated 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 capability to supply visibly sharper photographs that look nice, particularly on my LG C8-series OLED 4K TV.
    The Shield TV’s tech is educated on standard 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 accessible in 4K, regardless of now plenty of TVs supporting that decision, this can be a massive benefit for Nvidia, and once more one which they uniquely provide amongst their friends.
    Dolby every part
    These new Shields additionally help Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos throughout extra providers than the rest on the market available on the market proper now. These HDR and encompass sound modes actually do provide the perfect audio-visual expertise you may get, offered you will have TVs and audio output gear that helps them. But what you won’t know is that even on different streaming {hardware} that technically help these requirements, they won’t be supported throughout all providers.
    Shield TV helps Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos throughout Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Vudu and Movies Anywhere, so you need to be getting essentially the most out of those applied sciences, too. I requested concerning the forthcoming Apple TV+ service, which is rolling out to Roku gadgets, as an example, 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, nevertheless.
    Like AI Upscaling, Dolby help throughout every part won’t seem to be an enormous aggressive benefit, but it surely’s completely a decision-tipping issue for individuals in search of the absolute best A/V expertise in a house streaming system.
    New and improved distant
    Nvidia is delivery 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 approach. 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 numerous new buttons! Yes, Nvidia truly put buttons on their distant management — what a novel idea! Whereas the distant from the final technology appeared to be adopting plenty of the questionable decisions 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 properly 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 operate, too. Chalk up a win for human-centric design with this distant, because it’s a pleasure to make use of.
    Simple bodily design
    The design of the system isn’t 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 excellent 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 affords expandable storage by way of the microSD slot.
    Bottom line
    Nvidia’s new Shield is a superb possibility for anybody in search of a flexible streaming system, with entry to all of Google’s Play Store apps for Android TV, and help for the newest AV requirements. Its actual bonus benefit is that AI upscaling, nevertheless, which is one thing that Nvidia is uniquely poised to do properly, and which matches a great distance in making that $149.99 worth level, seem to be an incredible worth.

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