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Nvidia Shield TV Review: Still the best Android TV package



When Nvidia Shield was announced and later released in 2015, it probably did not completely suggest the original high price tag for a base Android TV streaming box – at least in my opinion. Despite that, the updated 2017 model proved to be a completely different story thanks to a combination of exceptional hardware and up-to-date Android TV software.

We have not seen Android TVs that it probably should have, but many cable and network TV companies now want to adopt the system for their own payment payment systems. With AT&T, TiVO and Windstream all actively prepping Android TV products built using the platform, we will hopefully see Android TV mature.

Even with that said, Nvidia Shield TV is not just a basic Android TV box. It has some ̵

1; what I want to call – killer features, including video game flow (both internally and via internet connection).

Now that the device is much cheaper, it becomes an easier sale. Not to mention that with Valve's own Steam Link being discontinued, there are really not many ways to stream the Steam library to your TV on this anymore.

The interface is great and there is so much more content now, thanks to increasing streaming libraries. Then there are the benefits of Nvidia GeForce Now that being quite honest is actually quite superb in practice – even though I really had doubts.

Hardware

Nvidia Shield TV is a neat and slim streaming box with the angular-gamer aesthetic. To be honest, it's not all in your face that many other techniques are aimed at the gamer end of the market. Keeping the device black with smooth and smooth parts means it fits most home theater systems.

There's just so little for that. The shield TV can sit almost anywhere without taking up much space. I was shocked at how easy the whole package is, which can be a problem if you have a hanging HDMI cable plugged into the back – which I found out during setup.

Being so easily thought that any cable adjustments would completely move Shield TV, I thought it was worth noting even though it is a sliding coating on the unit's device. You can fix this with a $ 20 stand that changes the direction, but I personally prefer to have the Shield TV down.

The green angled LED lights to tell you when the Shield TV is turned on and fits the green color scheme known to Nvidia. Inside, nothing has changed. You'll still find Tegra X1 inside, along with 3 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage – more on that later. There is a lone HDMI port, two USB ports and an Ethernet port around the back for external connection.

There are some frustrations with the update of the 2017 hardware over the original 2015 model. A core problem is the removal of microSD card support, but you have the ability to extend internal storage via USB – which means the port removal is not too painful in my eyes.

Peripherals

] There are two specific models of Nvidia Shield TV available for purchase, one that comes exclusively with the Shield Remote and one that includes both the remote and a gamepad.

Of course, if you're not going to be games at all, then I suggest you go to the base model. Although the Shield TV comes with some free games via GeForce now, including Tomb Raider and Bioshock Remastered that play very well with the gamepad.

Shield Remote

I'm in love with the remote control, like a Chromecast spokesperson (they are my go-to gift to relatives and friends – I've literally bought four over the last 3 months) the lack of physical Remote control is the only real drawback I can see with the wireless casting system. Nvidia has completely knocked it out of the park with the Shield TV remote.

The classic Apple TV remote control was the absolute inspiration, but nothing negative, as the Apple TV remote was amazing. The curved metal plate is oh so comfortable in the hand, and the slim black is straight up my street.

When you press the buttons, you get satisfactory clicky feedback while the weight makes it lightweight but soothing solid. I found it very good when you looked at the interactive movie Black Mirror Bandersnatch, where you recently selected Black Screen and where to choose from on-screen options. Overall, it's one of the best parts of the whole package, that's for sure.

Well, that's my opinion though. In his first review, Ben was a little less than impressed with the Shield Remote. He lamented the slim profile, saying: "The thinness of this remote is more of a curse than it is a blessing.

" The sharp edges of the design of this remote do not give the device a very comfortable feel in the hand and I found constantly moving it to get a good grip. "

I really can't say that I agree. That said, I don't really like the volume control band that sits between the two grips. It's a bit temperamental and I often end up with the volume jumping around when I just get the remote control. I still love it though.

Shield Controller

Now the controller where the Nvidia Shield TV differs from the amount of cheaper alternatives, well that and the game flow elements. to be uncomfortable – suggesting good knowledge of game hardware – although Nvidia should, of course, have a good understanding of the game market.

It charges via micro USB, but it is by no means a problem in reality – it's just one cable, I found the battery to be pretty good too, even though the micro USB cable is too short, barely a few feet from the shield when connected to USB ports on the back

In his introductory review, [945518] 9to5Google's pointed out Ben Schoon's annoyance to the navigation buttons, and while I think he has a point, it really hasn't been much of a problem in my use. I have found the little touch strap to be a bit hypersensitive at times, and accidentally increases and decreases the volume when playing games.

Software and Ecosystem

So as you expect from an Android TV device, Nvidia Shield TV comes along with Android – especially the Android 8.0 Oreo flavor. Admittedly, we had liked to see Android Pie on this earliest stage in 2019, but this slightly older version of the operating system does not affect the daily use of this set-top box too much. [19659003] Expect all core integration with Google staples like YouTube, Google Play Movies and Play Music along with the ubiquitous Netflix and Spotify. In the US, you also get some more video streaming options that include Hulu and Sling. The massive core add-on is the inclusion of Amazon Prime Video native.

The ever popular Kodi streaming app is available just outside the box and opens a world of streaming options for the adventurous carpenter thanks to the world of add-ons, skins and more. Having been a Kodi user previously, I've since settled for the simple life and tend to stick to Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube, which fit me right now. That said, I can have a game with some Kodi add-ons for live TV and sports streaming at some point in the near future.

For anyone with knowledge of the rocky relationship between the alphabet and Amazon, this is still the first and only Android TV box to have an official Amazon Video app (without sideloading and the issues that can cause). If you want a native app, this is still the way to go.

The bonus with Android TV on the whole is that if you don't need to install apps thanks to the built-in app, in Chromecast support, giving even more opportunities.

You can download a whole host of Android games and third-party apps, which, although I haven't done too much, appreciate the opportunity to do so if I wish. 19659003] The problem of downloading many apps and games to your Nvidia Shield TV will definitely be the requirement for adoptable storage. 16GB of internal storage is not nearly enough in 2018, especially as even Android games reach up to 2 GB. I personally get a USB memory stick to increase storage.

Gaming and Game Library

This is a double-edged sword. While it's an Android TV alternative, you have the ability to play a game from your Steam Library if you have a decent enough home network connection. GameStream relies on the power of your home or gaming PC, so it's a little important to have a moderate capacity to really take advantage of sofa-PC games.

GeForce now allows you to register and play a large library of games, all of which can be played up to 4K resolution – even if I only have a 1080p TV, so I couldn't test it myself. I'm definitely due to a TV upgrade, but in all honesty I don't see much in 4K unless I'm on my PC.

Performance

Inside the Nvidia Shield TV is the Tegra X1 chipset which is the same CPU found in the Nintendo switch. This means that performance is comparable to previous generation titles. If you stream from your own gaming PC or home PC, then, as mentioned above, you will have at least moderate specifications to achieve decent performance.

I have a pretty decent 4K playable Ryzen 1700, GTX 1080 build and a solid internal network connection, so I've had brilliant performance when playing my game collection.

Your experience may vary, so it is worth checking your specifications against the minimum requirements for using GeForce GameStream (for simplicity: you need at least one GeForce GTX 660 or higher GPU. CPU: Intel Core i5 or higher, or AMD FX 6-Core or higher).

I ran the benchmarking test for the latest Tomb Raider restart when using GeForce Now and it managed an impressive 154 minimum FPS and a 244 maximum FPS with an average 196 FPS at 1080p Ultra settings. It was also over a network, so it made it even more impressive – although with a 60hz TV, many of these frames only ensured already impressive graphics performance.

I only noticed some frame drops because my Wi-Fi dropped out a bit at times during normal play during the first few hours of playing and testing the device, which led me to go for a wired Ethernet solution. Your experience may vary slightly, so it may take some trial and error with your home network to get optimal streaming performance for GeForce Now titles.

Final Thoughts

The price tag for Nvidia Shield TV is the most obvious drawback to the whole package. I think if you don't know what the console-coming streaming device is capable of, then it seems like an expensive $ 150 package, especially when similar Android TV boxes like Xiaomi Mi Box S are available for only $ 65

Of course, Xiaomi Mi Box S lacks many of the core competencies that make Nvidia Shield TV a more premium Android TV box. Well, it and the native Amazon Video app that can be almost fully controlled by Google Assistant. I think it alone makes it one of the best options for anyone looking for a complete Android TV experience with all their favorite streaming services linked.

The game features, excellent remote control, control pad and good performance make it a decent console in its own right. And with Steam Link now being shut down, it's actually a quality option that includes some decent extra features that Steam Link can't offer.

I get it with a PS4, Xbox One or Switch you get plenty of high quality exclusive, but the (admittedly smaller but growing) library available with GeForce Now makes this a great entertainment option without a fairly low monthly fee.

When you increase storage with an external USB memory stick, it opens up the ability to turn Shield TV into a potential console replacement or just a PC hybrid in the living room.

The biggest disappointment, in fact, is that Nvidia Shield TV does not even have a direct competitor despite being two years old at this time. Does it mean that all other Android TV boxes are bad? No, they do not meet very high standards for a unit made in 2017 – and it must be considered a downturn. Let's hope we see more brands jumping on the Android TV platform over the next 12 months, it could be a bumper year for the Android TV platform.

If you are a wannabe or established carpenter or you already have Shield TV, it would be great to hear what you think, plus if you have some important Android TV apps that would also be interesting to read. Get your comments below.

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