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Nvidia Shield TV Pro review

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The Nvidia Shield TV Pro: Why? The best streaming device on the market is a streamer that costs less than the Nvidia Shield TV Pro.

You can stream the latest movies and shows from Roku streaming sticks to Fire TV Cubes. The Shield TV Pro is the best choice if you want more power from your TV’s gadgets.

The Shield TV Pro, an Android-powered set-top box/ games console is a powerful streaming device that is sure to please both movie lovers and gamers.

It can stream high-quality PC gaming to your TV or 4K movies in multiple formats. However, it does not offer the same value as previous models.

 

Nvidia Shield TV Pro prices and availability

Nvidia Shield TV Pro available now for $199.99 (PS179.99). The console, new remote control, and 20 classic (but not so old) PC games are included in the $199.99 (PS179.99) price. You can also stream them over the internet through the GeForce Now service. This allows you to expand your purchases.

It’d offer improved internal hardware, and some new features that we’ll be discussing in a moment.

The last-gen box, remote, and mic-packing Nvidia Shield Controller were all available for the same price. The Shield is a superior device with more features and a faster processor. However, it’s difficult to determine if the Shield’s latest version represents a better value than the previous Shield. This is despite the fact that it will pair with any PS4/Xbox One gamepad, as well as the newer PS5 DualSense controllers.

The Nvidia Shield TV Pro is the only TV that can match it, other than its older siblings. While the Amazon Fire TV Cube is as powerful as a TV streaming device and film-making device, it is not as affordable as the Shield TV Pro. The Shield TV is a great option if you have the budget.

 

Design

Given its power, the Nvidia Shield TV Pro can be small. It’s shaped like a wedge and has some angular indentations carved on it for posterity. It is about the same size as two Kindle ereaders stacked together. In a pinch, it would fit in your back pocket.

It can be placed flat or tall (when it is attached to a separately sold stand accessory), and will sit alongside your other AV gear. The ‘on’ status of the device is indicated by a neon green strip. You can adjust its intensity if it seems a bit garish.

Two USB 3.0 ports are located at the back, as well as an Ethernet port, four-khr-compatible HDMI port, and a proprietary power source. Wi-Fi (802.11ac dual band) and Bluetooth 5.0 are included for wireless accessories. However, the only cable that is included in the box is the power cord. You will need to provide your own HDMI (and USB, if necessary) cable.

 

There is 3GB RAM under the hood and 16GB storage. Although the RAM has remained unchanged, we have seen Shield models that offer up to 500GB of storage. The two USB ports make it easy to add external storage, as well as plugging in a keyboard or mouse.

The processor is what has changed most since the Shield TV range was launched in 2015. The Tegra X1+ processor is on-board. This represents a 25% performance increase over the retiring Tegra X1. It’s part of the same family that powers the Nintendo Switch models.

The Shield TV family is no slouch when it comes to performance. However, the X1+ makes everything feel a little snappier and facilitates some of these new features.

 

Interface and features

You’re familiar with the Nvidia Shield television if you have used Android TV before. The experience is the same as the original Android TV experience, but with some tweaks to accommodate the Shield TV Pro’s features.

You can choose from rows of content based on the apps you have installed. The top row shows you your most frequently-used apps. The rows below offer rich artwork and content recommendation bits based on the app’s features. You can hide or reorganize all of this as you wish.

You can access all major streaming services in 4K / HDR format with the Shield TV Pro, including Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer. Plex is a media server app that allows you to play a variety of Android TV games, including some exclusive to the Shield TV Pro. Those who are happy to avoid the potential pitfalls will also have access to a number of retro gaming emulators.

Be aware that not all Android apps you have on your phone come with an Android TV version. It can also be frustrating to browse the Android TV app store – you may feel that you are not being shown every app that is available in a search.

 

The 2021 update brought some changes. App shortcuts were removed from the home screen and the app view was expanded to allow you to see more services at once. A Discover tab now offers content recommendations and banner promotions for Disney Plus. Although it’s a better interface than before, it’s toodifferent.

Plus, Google Chromecast is built-in here, so any Chromecast-supporting mobile app that you want to throw up onto the big screen via the Shield will be supported here.

All this information can be accessed using voice commands. Voice commands are possible from any section of the interface, or within an app. The remote includes a microphone. Google Assistant is the built-in voice assistant, but you can also control the Nvidia Shield TV Pro with Amazon’s Alexa. The Shield TV Pro can be used as a smart home hub and a media player as well as a gaming box.

What’s new with the Nvidia Shield TV Pro in terms of features? Video playback performance is the main reason.

Shield TV supports many HDR formats. However, it can now play Dolby Vision content. This premium format adjusts brightness and contrast levels frame-by-frame using metadata. It’s a highly rewarding feature that adds depth and dimension to scenes if your TV supports it.

 

The Shield also supports Dolby’s premium cinema formats including Dolby Atmos. This can make sounds appear from behind and above the movie viewer as well as in front.

A new AI image upscaler can be turned on and off with a push of a button. It transforms content below 4K resolution.

An algorithm based on thousands of hours of footage is used to power the system. It can be processed locally and sharpen any softer sources making them suitable for your 4K TV. Standard-definition sources like YouTube are also supported by the system, which runs on a 1080p display.

It won’t work with every app. Anything above 30fps or 1080p will not accept it. There are times when it can be too aggressive and an artistic intention may require a softer focus. It’s a great addition, and a side-by slider was left in the menus for you to use as a demo tool.

GeForce Now and GameStream

The GeForce Now service is what sets the Nvidia shield TV Pro apart from other streaming boxes. You can access top-of-the-line PC games from your TV regardless of whether or not you own a gaming PC – as long as your internet connection is fast enough to reach consistent speeds. GeForce Now is free to use at the moment, but it is still in beta. It remains to be seen how much it will eventually cost.

This feature creates a virtual computer on Nvidia’s remote servers. It makes use of super-charged components that deliver high-resolution visuals for demanding games.

These video streams are then streamed into your Shield TV Pro as video feeds. You can control the TV Pro remotely. All you need is an internet connection fast enough to prevent the video from stuttering while you play. Similar to Google Stadia.

Nvidia has made many improvements to GeForce Now throughout the years. You can play your favorite games at high resolutions (up to 4K) and 60fps with a strong internet connection. For stable streaming at 1080p/30fps, a recommended speed is 25Mbps.

The games GeForce Now supports are constantly expanding (opens new tab). To add to your library, simply link your Steam account. Any supported games that you have purchased from there will then be playable through GeForce Now. GeForce Now allows you to purchase games directly from Steam.

GeForce Now started as a Netflix-like subscription, offering access to a variety of games for a monthly charge. The service is still available, and Shield TV Pro owners have access to 20 included games, including Batman Arkham City and a few LEGO games. These are not new titles but they are welcome to be included for free.

However, it’s not always easy. Some games have better support than others, such as those designed with gamepads from the start. You’ll occasionally be pushed into the Steam “Big Picture” interface, left wondering what’s happening, and then be presented with a popup starter menu launcher window to your particular game.

Nvidia Shield TV Pro does not come with a controller. The excellent (pictured) Nvidia Shield Controller is now available separately.

There are many benefits to streaming games, beyond the low hardware requirements. Games load instantly without the need for downloading tens to gigabytes in advance. All the latest updates and patches are automatically applied.

GameStream is a Shield TV Pro feature that offers a similar concept as the GeForce Now service. You can stream most from any computer with a compatible Nvidia GPU to the Shield TV Pro, provided that it has a Nvidia GPU.

This requires some fiddling, and it is not recommended for those who do not have a gaming computer in another room. However, it emphasizes the versatility of Nvidia’s powerful box.

 

Remote

The box contains a new remote control and has been thoughtfully redesigned. Instead of being flat, the remote control is now shaped like an prism and has dedicated playback controls as well as a selection wheels. It also includes a dedicated Netflix button, as well as a microphone-on button and Quick Menu button that can be customized in the interface to jump to any function.

You can also use the remote as an IR blaster to control your TV. It will also beep if it is lost if you use the Nvidia Shield TV mobile application.

The remote uses AAA batteries instead of the button-shaped watches batteries. It’s not as user-friendly as the original Shield remote’s rechargeable USB power supply.

You want something less expensive? You might be interested in the Nvidia Shield, a new and improved standard.

 

Nvidia Shield TV Pro is available alongside a standard Nvidia Shield model priced at $149.99 / PlayStation129.99. It’s very similar to the Pro in terms of its capabilities, and has the same processor bumps and upscaling options.

However, their industrial design is quite different. The standard Shield looks like a relay baton and is meant to be hidden behind your TV. It is the cylindrical shape that is used for Wi-Fi signal booster properties. The new remote is also included.

Nvidia’s Pro model is designed for gamers who like to play under the hood. It has 8GB of storage and 2GB RAM.

Verdict

This Nvidia Shield TV Pro Edition has very little new, but it is a great product to have. It is unrivalled in 4K HDR streaming capabilities. The device supports many apps thanks to its Android TV foundations. There are also numerous opportunities for gamers to play games locally or over the internet through the GeForceNow service.

There is a steep learning curve with the Shield Pro’s many features. You will also need strong internet connections to make the most of its gaming capabilities. Android TV’s interface also needs some tweaking (as GeForce Now’s game browsing library). But, Android TV is not Nvidia’s fault.

The only thing that is disappointing about the Shield Pro is its price. It is priced at the same as the Shield TV Gaming edition. However, it does add a processor bump and an upscaling feature. We were not fans of the Nvidia Shield controller bundled with this product. This means that what was an already expensive streaming option offers less value than previous generations.

It’s a great device and I highly recommend it. It may be a bit disappointing to learn that the Shield TV Pro is no longer the bargain it was once.

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