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    Nvidia Shield TV (2019) review: This great media streamer is still just a little nerdy

    Over the final 4 years, the Nvidia Shield TV established itself as a great streaming video player for geeks. While it didn’t have the polish of an Apple TV, Fire TV, or Roku participant, it supplied a number of neat options for energy customers, reminiscent of the power to make use of it as a Plex server or—with an inexpensive dongle—even a sensible dwelling hub.

    Now, Nvidia has up to date the Shield TV with a brand new design, a decrease beginning worth, a a lot better distant, and a genuinely spectacular AI upscaling characteristic that sharpens HD movies on 4K TVs. At $150, it’s nonetheless an costly media streamer, however the brand new options ought to make it enticing even to non-nerds.

    Still, some indicators of the Shield’s inside geekiness stay. Getting essentially the most out the Shield TV requires some poking round by menus, and the underlying Android TV software program continues to really feel like a piece in progress. Though it’s simpler to suggest to a wider viewers than the previous Shield was, it’s not a transparent winner over different high-end streamers together with the Apple TV 4K, Fire TV Cube, and Roku Ultra.

    Choose your Shield

    The new Nvidia Shield TV is available in two types, however each characteristic the identical up to date CPU, the Nvidia Tegra X1+. More on that in a bit.

    The $150 model reviewed here’s a tube of grey plastic measuring 6.5 inches lengthy and 1.57 inches in diameter. There’s an HDMI port and a microSD card slot on one facet, and an influence connector and ethernet jack on the opposite. It additionally has a button that triggers a sound on the distant that can assist you discover it. Inside, there’s 8GB of storage and 2GB of RAM.

    Jared Newman / IDG

    Power and ethernet on one finish, HDMI and microSD on the opposite. Some rolling round is inevitable, however at the very least there’s no wall wart.

    According to Nvidia, the tubular design is supposed for laying on the ground alongside your different A/V cables, however I’m not bought on the thought. Hiding the Shield out of attain might hinder Wi-Fi reception and maintain you from utilizing the machine’s remote-finder button, however putting the tube out within the open simply appears awkward, with cables protruding of each ends.

    If you favor the Shield’s previous rectangular design, it nonetheless exists within the new Shield TV Pro ($200 at Amazon). It doesn’t have a microSD card slot or a remote-finder button, but it surely does have a pair of USB ports for connecting exterior arduous drives, sport controllers, TV tuners, or different equipment. It additionally has extra storage and RAM than the tube: 16GB and 3GB respectively, matching the previous-generation Shield TV field. As such, it’s the one one of many two fashions that may double as a Plex server, SmartThings hub, or an over-the-air DVR.

    In each circumstances, you’re getting a tool that may stream in 4K HDR, with each Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio decoding. The former can optimize the extra vibrant colours of HDR video on a scene-by-scene foundation, whereas the latter lastly permits for object-based soundtracks in Netflix. Unfortunately, Nvidia skipped out on supporting HDR10+, the non-proprietary different to Dolby Vision that’s primarily out there in some Amazon Prime movies, and it doesn’t help YouTube movies in HDR.

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