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Nvidia, Google Release Shield Android TV Device, Starts At $199 (Updated)

Living room devices are constantly getting smaller in physical size, yet increasing in the number of features installed to make them the only piece of technology you'll need in the living room (other than your TV). Nvidia believes this is an ongoing "battle for the living room," where companies are trying to provide even more than their competitors to make their devices stand out. At Google I/O, Nvidia finally released its Shield Android TV device.

Shield was first introduced at GDC earlier this year, with a heavy focus on gaming. However, Shield is also an Android TV device and features multiple entertainment apps such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube and Sling TV. More apps are on their way soon, including HBO's standalone app, HBO Now. Users can also buy and rent movies through Google's Video and Music app.

Nvidia Shield
Operating SystemAndroid TV
CPU/GPUTegra X1 (8-core, 64-bit ARM CPU; 256-core Maxwell GPU)
Memory3 GB
Storage16 GB, 500 GB
Network802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, Gigabit Ethernet
I/OHDMI 2.0 (HDCP 2.2), Micro USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, MicroSD slot

Shield also has the ability to play movies and shows in 4K. Apps like Netflix already have a few titles available in 4K resolution. However, Netflix requires a constant 25 Mbps download speed in order to display in the higher resolution. The device's gigabit Ethernet port is a big plus in this regard, so users with more than enough bandwidth shouldn't have any streaming issues.

Thanks to the Android system, Shield has access to titles on Google Play as well as Nvidia's own lineup of streaming titles through GRID. The company requires a minimum of 10 Mbps for games streaming at 720p and 60 frames per second, and 30 Mbps for 1080p and 60 frames per second. Right now the service is free until the end of June, after which players will have to pay a premium to access 1080p streaming.

With today's announcement at Google I/O, Shield is now available in the U.S. in 16 GB and 500 GB models (we know, odd, right?) priced at $199 and $299, respectively. Customers in Europe won't be able to get their hands on Shield until the holidays. The package already comes with a Shield controller, but you can buy another one for $59. Other add-ons include a stand for the device that costs $29, and a non-gaming remote for $49.

With Nvidia throwing its hat into the living room system arena, it will be interesting to see how the company utilizes Google's Android system against competitors such as the Apple TV or Amazon's Fire TV. Fortunately, we have a review of Shield coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled for our take on Nvidia's latest creation.

Update, 5/29/2015, 10:05pm PDT: We were mistaken about the storage size for the second Shield model. We've changed the text accordingly.

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  • whiteodian
    Stand - $29, Non-Gaming remote $49. God damn, that is spendy!
    Reply
  • PaulBags
    Expensive. Will there ever be an international version, and with geo blocking would there be any point?
    Reply
  • Emanuel Elmo
    the two models being offer are 16GB and 500GB storage
    not as you say in the article

    Here is the link for confirmation. Directly from the source unless they have a typo
    http://shield.nvidia.com/android-tv
    Reply
  • sc14s
    Its pretty simple to set up a vpn on an android device so geo blocking should be a non issue. (I use a vpn on my phone and laptop for work and on my desktop for uhh.. activities that my isp likes to send me notices for.
    Reply
  • photonboy
    So... add in a 500GB HDD which is pretty much essential and you're paying nearly EXACTLY the same price as the XBOX ONE (if factoring games in bundle).

    For an unproven device that's a pretty tough sell, and for those buying the $200 model only to discover they need to go buy an HDD soon... well I'd not be happy.

    Love the concept... like NVidia... think it will fail.

    GRID as a delivery sytem is just too problematic, not to mention the added cost to Stream games so we can... what SAVE money on a more expensive console? Help me out with the logic here?

    Also, not sure how it will end up competing with Steam if we get some pretty competitive Steam models on the lower end.
    Reply
  • photonboy
    Update:
    I get there are streaming games and locally stored games, however to properly use this device it seems like we'd need:
    a) a 500GB HDD or better for locally stored games, AND
    b) a good network (more money) if even available for streaming games.

    So any price advantage disappears for again what's a largely unproven product. When the PS4 and XBOX ONE will be adding streaming support as well it's really hard to recommend this device.
    Reply
  • jasonelmore
    Stand - $29, Non-Gaming remote $49. God damn, that is spendy!

    yeah but your getting a insane value on the box itself. It's the only 4k netflix streamer on the market. $200 gets you the $50 controller and a 4k Streaming or HARDWARE DECODE box.. thats worth price of admission all by itself to a lot of ppl.

    the gaming aspect is just a bonus.. Also, Finally we can use "dish anywhere" on a set top box (since this is android) which lets you basically mooch satellite TV for free off your parents dish network account.
    Reply
  • photonboy
    15949946 said:
    Stand - $29, Non-Gaming remote $49. God damn, that is spendy!

    yeah but your getting a insane value on the box itself. It's the only 4k netflix streamer on the market. $200 gets you the $50 controller and a 4k Streaming or HARDWARE DECODE box.. thats worth price of admission all by itself to a lot of ppl.

    the gaming aspect is just a bonus.. Also, Finally we can use "dish anywhere" on a set top box (since this is android) which lets you basically mooch satellite TV for free off your parents dish network account.

    4K is a good point, though I think it's still a hard sell. It sits comparable to last-gen consoles in price and behind current consoles (though comparable to XBOX ONE when we compare $300 model with HDD).

    As I said, if you want to justify streaming games you'll have to pay more for internet bandwidth.

    If you really want 4K there are soon to be a lot of devices that will support this for as little as $30 likely (such as a new 4K Chromecast). Sure that's media only but again the NVidia box is unproven so it's relying on early adopters and streaming success to get traction.

    It's simply in a weird niche area that I think will have a hard time succeeding.

    (On the other hand, lots of confusion on whether we'll get updated XBOX ONE and PS4 consoles. Nobody wants different hardware on same consoles... I think the best approach would be to include the new encoder in future versions but offer a USB adapter if that's technically possible)

    Long story short, for most people in the near-future I think they'll end up going:
    a) console refresh (or addon) if that happens, or
    b) ROKU or Chromecast 4K update
    Reply
  • photonboy
    4K on console:
    While Netflix currently requires an H.265 decoder, it's theoretically possible to use the APU in the XBOX ONE or PS4 to decode the incoming H.265 4K video signal.

    I suspect there's enough processing power already, or if not that the decoding algorithm could be improved to make it so (especially if it's only in x86 format and not utilizing the GPU at all).

    Anyway, I should shut up now.
    Reply
  • Quixit
    4K on console:
    While Netflix currently requires an H.265 decoder, it's theoretically possible to use the APU in the XBOX ONE or PS4 to decode the incoming H.265 4K video signal.

    I suspect there's enough processing power already, or if not that the decoding algorithm could be improved to make it so (especially if it's only in x86 format and not utilizing the GPU at all).

    Anyway, I should shut up now.

    There is a rumor that they're working on just that. Both already support outputting 4K @ 30fps (enough for video) so the hardware is there.
    Reply