Published On: Thu, Jun 18th, 2015

Android TV By Nvidia Shield – The Best Way To Experience It

Nvidia has already built two Shield devices in the past, but their latest hardware to carry the brand differs a little since it’s the first non-portable in the lineup. The Nvidia Shield is an awesome gaming system, but a mediocre set-top box.



Shield Design

  • 16GB (reviewed) and 500GB storage options.
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1.
  • Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 2.0, USB 3.0×2, Micro-USB and MicroSD ports.
  • Android 5.1, with Android TV and Google Cast.
  • Nvidia Tegra X1 processor, with 256-core GPU and 3 GB RAM.
  • 4K Ultra HD output ready.
  • 7.1 and 5.1 surround sound audio output via HDMI.


This is the world’s first-ever 4K Android TV set-top box, and the first widely offered streaming device that’s capable of handling Ultra HD. That means, unlike the Roku 3, Chrome-cast or even Amazon Fire TV, you can actually connect this to a 4K TV in your home, throw on Netflix or YouTube, and be treated to stunning 3,840 x 2,160 resolution content. But it’s also a very different device in many respects, thanks to Nvidia’s gaming DNA and the attention it pays to that market as a result. There’s the aforementioned 4K output support, which is more valuable to gamers than to movie and TV-watchers at this stage, but special features don’t end there. The Shield runs Android TV, which means it is similar in many ways to other devices that do the same thing, like the Nexus Player from Google, for instance.


The Shield is a unique streaming device because of its power, too. Nvidia has put so much power behind the device that it is basically overpowered for the current needs of most users, which is in stark contrast to the rest of the field. Streaming boxes normally sport only modest internal specs, since they aren’t powering super high-resolution displays and mostly only have to deal with HD video.


There’s a lot of potential in the Shield, thanks to its killer specs. But until Google gets Android TV’s act together by curbing its urge to push first-party content and working with developers to create more native apps, the Shield will stay a “good, but not great” addition to growing number of set-top boxes trying to dethrone Roku from its top spot. The Shield is one part set-top box and two parts gaming system. The latter is better and more functional than the former, but even the former is not without its benefits. More limiting, however, is the fact that Netflix in 4K only works with TVs that are HDCP 2.2-compliant. At this time, TVs packing this content protection software are few and far between.