NVIDIA SHIELD (2015)
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||5.1 x 1 x 8.3 inches|
|Item Weight||4.15 Pounds|
About this item
- Enjoy infinite entertainment on a single, easy-to-use device, including movies and shows in 4K—now with HDR, the next big thing in TV technology. Plus, access your favorite songs at the touch of a button, and a new generation of great games.
- Get the best experience in Netflix and YouTube with support for 4K HDR in Netflix, 4K 60fps in YouTube, and universal voice search and private listening in both. Plus, access thousands more apps, including favorites like CBC News, Spotify, MLB.TV, Plex, Twitch, Crackle, and Kodi (XBMC) — all powered by Android TV.
- Just say what you want to see and let Google's revolutionary voice search technology find it within seconds. Then get the most comprehensive search results of any streaming device with results from over 60 apps, including Netflix, YouTube, HULU, HBO, VUDU, and more. And Chromecast is built-in, so you can cast from your Android or iOS phone to the big screen.
- Expand your entertainment with the most advanced gaming of any streaming media player. Play next-gen Android games only available on SHIELD or stream popular PC games from the cloud with GeForce NOW.
- Experience unbeatable performance that delivers the best streaming media experience—3X faster than Apple TV, 4X faster than Fire TV, and 10X faster than Roku 4. SHIELD features 16 GB of storage (expandable up to 128 GB), the SHIELD controller, and an HDMI cable
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From the manufacturer
Rule the Living Room.
Transform your TV experience with NVIDIA SHIELD. The hottest movies and shows in brilliant 4K HDR. Your favorite songs at the touch of a button. And a new generation of great games.
Features at a Glance
- NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor
- 256-core NVIDIA graphics
- 64-bit CPU
- 3 GB RAM
- Android TV, Google Cast Ready
- HDMI 2.0b, 4K Ultra HD with HDR
- 16 GB storage
- MicroSD card slot for additional storage
- 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi
- Gigabit Ethernet
- Two USB 3.0, one micro-USB port
- SHIELD controller included
Let Google’s advanced voice commands do the work for you. Quickly find what you want with search results from over 60 top apps, including Netflix, HULU, VUDU, HBO, YouTube, and more. Even cast a show or pictures to your TV from your PC, Android, or iOS device with built-in Google Cast.*
*Casting optimized for selected services only. Streaming quality for other content might vary. Supported operating systems and devices: Android 2.3 and higher, iOS 7 and higher, Windows 7 and higher, Mac OS 10.7 and higher and Chrome OS (version 38 or higher).
TV Shows and Movies in 4K HDR
Watch in 4K HDR from apps like Netflix*, KODI (XBMC), and PLEX. Enjoy rich Dolby 7.1 or Dolby Atmos surround sound**. And plug your headphones into your SHIELD controller or remote for private listening.
Marvel’s Daredevil MARVEL & ABC Studios
*Netflix Ultra HD and HDR limitations apply. Visit nflx.it/4K and nflx.it/HDR.
** Audio pass-through
*** SHIELD stand sold separately
Built to Perform
The advanced NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor delivers up to 25 times the performance of popular streaming devices*. Plus, with 16 GB of storage, a MicroSD slot, and USB 3.0 ports for expandable storage, you now have the speed, power, and storage to rule the living room the way you want.
*Compared to Roku 3 (GFXBench T-Rex benchmark)
More Ways to Game
Stream PC Games from the Cloud
GeForce NOW lets you stream a library of new and classic PC games at up to 1080p* resolution at 60 FPS from NVIDIA gaming supercomputers in the cloud. Enjoy a collection of 50 classic titles or buy newly released games from our online store and play them immediately—all for just $7.99 per month. Sign-up for our free three-month trial today!
*See www.geforcenow.com for more details.
Play SHIELD Games on the Big Screen
SHIELD is the best way to enjoy premium Android games—from family favorites and indie hits to the most advanced Android TV games with rich gameplay and intense multiplayer action.
A World of Entertainment and Games
Transform your TV experience with 4K HDR streaming, advanced gaming, and Android TV — only on the NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV streaming player. NVIDIA SHIELD is an amazing 4K HDR (as well as Full HD) home entertainment system, delivering incredible resolution and picture quality in favorite apps like Netflix, HBO, HULU, YouTube, VUDU, ESPN, Major League Baseball, NBA, Showtime, Disney, KODI, and PLEX. Vivid 10-bit color and rich Dolby 7.1 and Dolby Atmos surround sound make this a true home theater experience. Or plug your headphones into your SHIELD controller or SHIELD remote for a private listening experience. Say "Oscar-winning movies" or "launch Netflix" and let Google's advanced voice commands find content for you on your Android TV. Universal search capability provides access to the most comprehensive list of search results from over 60 top apps, including Netflix, HULU, VUDU, HBO, YouTube, and more. Get personalized recommendations on your home screen. Even cast a show or pictures to your TV from your PC, Android, or iOS device with built-in Google Chromecast support. SHIELD makes your smart TV experience fast and easy. Download premium Android games – from family games and indie hits to the most advanced Android TV titles with rich gameplay and intense multiplayer action. Or join GeForce NOW to connect to NVIDIA's gaming supercomputers and enjoy unlimited streaming of popular PC games or buy newly released games from the online store. Enjoy what The Wall Street Journal calls “the highest performing streaming TV set-top box ever made”. NVIDIA SHIELD delivers over 3X the performance of new Apple TV, new Fire TV, or Roku 4. NVIDIA SHIELD comes with 16 GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot for external storage, 802.11 2x2 wireless AC with MIMO, Gigabit Ethernet, and two USB 3.0 ports, as well as a game controller and HDMI cable.
Top reviews from the United States
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Only complaint is the Google play store is not the full featured one you'd find on your phone, and there are games I'd love to play on the big screen but cannot sure to this feature. They'd also have to be configured to work with the controller, and even if they did have the full play store it would be useless since the games are designed for touch screen only.
Buyer beware - Nvidia is phasing out this first generation model in anticipation of the release of the second, so sellers are gouging buyers with high prices for used product. If you are wanting to get one, check your local electronics store, or wait for the new model.
* Apps are buggy, and tend to crash frequently (Learnback Launcher has crashed 3 times in the last week alone)
* Amazon Prime is now included, but the app is a little sluggish, and the experience is definitely not the same as when using the Fire Stick
* My gaming remote broke (two buttons stopped working), and was replaced by NVidia. It worked fine for a month but now it just refuses to sync with the device. Effectively, I can't use the Shield's gaming ability, which is fine since my favorite games tend to crash out more often than not.
Don't get me wrong - I loved this console when it was announced and was eagerly waiting for its release. Based on the hardware and all the specs released, it seemed like a killer product. It was the perfect device for home entertainment - A 4K capable Netflix device with some casual gaming on the side. After having owned this for nearly a year, I think its safe to say that the execution has simply not lived to the expectations.
Before getting to the not so great aspects, I have to say that this is a gorgeous looking device that looks stunning from any angle. It is sleek, and sharp. The straight lines and the aggressive corners all make for a very compact and unique package. The green LED that runs across the top bezel also helps add to oomph.
Turn on the device and you are greeted with an easy to use interface that "learns" to show things that you like. The Android OS is pretty awesome at syncing everything together, and if you've ever used any smartphone, you should feel fairly comfortable navigating the various apps that are available, and downloading more from the app store.
Unfortunately, this is where the problem begins. The OS is simply not designed to be used in a device like the shield. It feels like NVidia has simply molded the OS to somewhat fit, and has done a very sloppy job in the process. The Netflix app, which I use a lot, constantly drops the multi channel audio streams - movies and TV shows that I know have surround sound often play in stereo (I have the Shield hooked up to my receiver with a 5.1 setup). More often than not, I am forced to close the app and restart it to get the surround sound option back.HBO GO has the same issue, and surround sound is something that is never provided, even though I can play the same title back in full surround while using ChromeCast. There is no option for Amazon Prime videos.
Apps seem to crash more often than not (refer the picture I've attached). This can lead to a lot of frustration, especially if you are an ardent gamer. I love playing Asphalt 8 on the shield, when it works. However, the frequency of crashes have increased, and this just makes it not worth it.
The fact that app updates take forever to be available on the Google Play Store for this device is another issue - the latest Asphalt 8 update took over a month for us Shield users. This can be annoying, as one cannot participate in the multiplayer events while on the older version.
If all these kinks are fixed and the apps are more stable, this device could be awesome. However, if you are looking for something to watch 4K streaming content seamlessly, you might be better served by one of the many other alternatives available today.
First a brief history of my experience with TV based Android devices. Before taking the plunge and buying this device, I had an Ouya, which I preordered before launch (which I liked a lot, despite all the haters) and a year after that I purchased a Mad Catz MOJO (which I loved other than its terrible controller). The Ouya had its own custom interface. The MOJO ran standard Android and you could easily modify it with custom launchers and the like, which made for a great full Android experience. The Shield TV on runs Android TV which itself is... not so great.
Let's start with the Android TV OS itself. This flavor of Android is essentially gimped. Many apps that would run fine on devices such as this one are simply not available in the Android TV version of the Play Store, even if you've already purchased them in the standard Play Store. The Android TV play store keeps its own history and "my apps" list seperate from the standard Android version. What this means is that if you've got a good stable of apps you already purchased on your phone or tablet, when you sign onto your Android TV device, there's a good chance most of them will not be available. For the technically minded there are some things you can do about this - for example you can root the device, install custom firmware or other helper apps, but its frustrating that such steps are necessary. Also, if you an install an update while rooted, you lose root and have to go through the process again.
Similarly, if you have a collection of apps and games in the Amazon appstore/Amazon underground, expect most of them to be unavailable for download on the Shield TV, unless you root and spoof the device type.
Sideloading apps is relatively painless , however, sideloaded apps do not to show in the main Android TV launcher. I highly suggest getting Sideload Launcher as a painless way to remedy this issue. Without an app like Sideload Launcher, you have to go into the settings, then into apps and then find the app in the list and launch it from there which is a huge pain.
With those gripes out of the way, let's look at the hardware itself. The Shield TV itself is a stylish looking device with a good amount of ports, including a USB 3.0 port and an ethernet port along with its standard USB 2.0 port, micro USB port, standard HDMI 2.0 port and a custom power jack. There's a stand available to purchase separately if you want to sit it vertically, but I had no desire for that. Included with every Shield TV is a Shield Controller. The controller itself feels very good, if not quite up to the standards of Sony, Nintendo or Microsoft. It works with a custom wireless protocol that operates over Wi-Fi to reduce input lag. It's the most responsive of all the wireless controllers I've used on any Android device. It also has a rechargable battery built in, which lasts between 30-50 hours, and the controller includes a standard headphone jack and micro usb port for charging.
One frustrating point about the controller is the fact that it has a touchpad that isn't recognized by the Shield TV. If you scan the NVIDIA forums, Google is blamed as the culprit for this. It's a shame since the touchpad would be especially helpful for using apps like Chrome or ES File Manager and its mystifying why anyone would have decided it was a swell idea to reduce the functionality of the controller in this fashion. The other minor quibbles I have with the controller itself is that the volume + and - keys, just below the useless touch pad, feel extremely loose. Oh and if you plan to root this and install a version of standard Android instead of Android TV, your controller won't work wirelessly, you'll have to plug it in with a micro USB cable (one is included in the package).
So far you might get the impression I hate the Shield TV when quite the reverse is true. Yes, there are some very frustrating issues. Still, I am extremely satisfied with this device overall. It would just have been that much better if the mindboggling issues mentioned above were resolved. I'm not going to run down the tech specs of the Shield TV or post benchmark results as that's been done to death since this device came out nearly a year ago. You can go in today knowing you'll still be getting one of the most powerful Android devices out there and that will run about everything you can throw at it really well.
The Shield TV really succeeds as a media device with its 4k 60fps support. Netflix is built in but Netflix users as of the time of this writing need the more expensive streaming package to stream 4k video. There's a healthy amount of other streaming apps available as well. Aside from the standard media apps you can also install things like Kodi to vastly expand the options you have to watch media on both local media, local networks, or on the internet. Performance is great and the issues earlier versions of Netflix had on the unit have been fully ironed out.
When it comes to games, you have loads of options. If you're into emulation you can run games from many older systems in multiple emulators. There are even decent versions of Dolphin available (Gamecube and Wii emulation) but MOST games are still not full speed in that, so don't buy a Shield TV expecting full speed GameCube and Wii emuation. There aren't a ton of emulators available in the Android TV Play Store, but there are a few notable ones in there, particularly Retroarch which supports multiple systems and has a fancy new Playstation-like interface. You can easily sideload the APKs for any emulators you have that aren't in the Play Store. You can generally expect to run games from most systems up to the 32bit era at full speed in one emulator or another with a few exceptions like the Saturn and jaguar. UOYabause can run SOME saturn games at full speed, but its general compatibility is still low at the moment.
As far as native Android games go, there are some nice Shield exclusives like Doom 3, Portal, Half Life 2, Borderlands the Presequel, Resident Evil 5 and Metal Gear Solid Rising Revengance. You also have access to favorites like Octodad, Goat Simulator (which is currently free in Amazon Underground) and a host of others. The selection of Android TV specific games is a bit lacking, but again, you can sideload plenty of games that don't show in the Android TV Play Store. If you're lucky, you may even find a game or two that you can install from the Play Store web-based interface.
If you have a PC with an Nvidia GeForce 650 or better, you can take advantage of GameStream, whcih lets you stream apps from you PC over your local network. This options works MUCH better when done over a wired connection at both ends. You can link up directly with steam, but not all games are natively supported. You can also set the device to run any app from your computer so you can launch non-steam games or even things like PC web browsers on it as well.
GeForce Now is also available, but I don't have much interest in it. It's NVIDIA's sort-of Netflix for gaming option and the selection is pretty limited. You get some free time with the service if you want to check out and I might some day, but for now if you're interested in this feature, reading the reviews of others will tell you that it works, its expensive and it performs best over a wired internet connection.
I'll close the main portion of this review with some extra tidbits that improve the experience a bit. First, one app that is a must is ES File Manager. This app does so much it's hard to believe. Note that some people have complained that the recent version has thrown adware into it, so that's something to be conscious of. Back to the point, aside from being a nice file manager, it also allows you to manage your apps, your network connections, network shares with a PC, has a built in web browser and built in hotspot support. I often set my Shield TV up as a hotspot, finding it works much better than the dedicated range extenders I have in the house. The only downside is you can't use the Shield Controller wirelessly while the hotspot feature is enabled. You have to turn off the hotspots and set the device to look for local hotspots before it will recognize the controller wirelessly again.
Another great extra is that in the latest update to the OS, you can use either a micro SD card or USB device as internal memory, allowing you MUCH more space to install apps than you'd get with the standard 16 GB version. There's also a 500GB pro version available that sort of negates the need for this feature, but it costs $100 more.
I also highly recommend a small keyboard/trackpad combo if you're going to use the device for more than gaming along with a USB hub. I usually have 3-4 USB devices, including other third party gamepads, a keyboard/trackpad device and a bus-powered USB 3.0 external drive, connected to the Shield TV at any given time.
I have to say at times, I've really missed my MOJO which I moved to another room after getting his since its so much easier to get apps onto that device since it uses regular Android. If you root the MOJO and use an app like Market Helper, you can spoof its device type allowing you to download any apps you have already purchased from both the standard Play Store and the Amazon App Store/Amazon Underground that would otherwise be considered incompatible even though they work fine on the device. The MOJO is considerably less powerful than the Shield but I vastly prefer the interface. Note that the MOJO isn't great out of the box and requires a lot of tweaking, but that tweaking is MUCH simpler on the MOJO than it is on the Shield TV.
The Shield TV is a powerful and satisfying Android TV device. It is highly recommended either as a media or gaming device. Emulation fans in particular will love the performance. It's really a shame that the Android TV OS holds it back and that if you take steps to install standard Android you lose some functionality. I don't regret for a second getting this device, it just makes me long for standard Android that is as powerful as this one. If you want an Android box that provides you with lots of options for local and network games and media, right now this is as good as it gets.