NVIDIA SPOT about to expand features, capabilities of NVIDIA SHIELD TV
The NVIDIA SPOT is about join a tug of war between Google Home and Amazon Echo for the smart home market in 2017.
It’s pretty safe to say that NVIDIA – makers of the powerful SHIELD TV game console – is pulling for Google.
While there is no official list of how many products will work with NVIDIA SPOT, we know that it runs on Google Assistant and Samsung SmartThings.
For NVIDIA SHIELD TV fans, that means you can already get a rough idea about smart home products that will be compatible with NVIDIA SPOT.
What is NVIDIA SPOT?
NVIDIA SPOT is a tiny orb-shaped device that will carry out your voice commands similar to an Amazon Echo.
CES 2017 brought news of an updated NVIDIA SHIELD TV, which will serve as a smart home hub for SPOT. NVIDIA SPOT is a golf ball-sized addition sold separately that plugs into electrical outlets.
With multiple NVIDIA SPOTs sprinkled across your home, you can speak naturally. (No yelling!) And you will seamlessly get things done.
Say “OK Google, make me coffee.” You’ll get a voice response from your Assistant saying you’re coffee is brewing.
You can also multitask with short voice commands reminiscent of the customizable “activities” seen on the Harmony Hub Elite remote.
In a video demo at CES, a man waking up says his NVIDIA SPOT, “OK Google, start my day.” Google Assistant responds by saying that the coffee is starting, and the thermostat is being turned up. Before the man leaves his house, he announces to NVIDIA SPOT that he’s going.
“Shutting down your house,” Google Assistant responds. “Have a great day.”
The only thing our man with the NVIDIA SPOT has to do is walk out the door.
How does NVIDIA SPOT work?
Using ambient intelligence, the actual computing is done on the SHIELD TV console. The software is designed to be responsive to the user no matter where you are.
NVIDIA SPOT has far-field processing and echo cancellation so it picks up your speech naturally 20 feet away. If you have multiple NVIDIA SPOTs in a large room, it also triangulates where you are with Beamforming – a technology also seen in quality WiFi routers. Beamforming in NVIDIA SPOT uses the different arrival times of your voice to triangulate your location in the room. The benefit? Beamforming will focus the antennas to the person actually talking.
So you can order an Uber, or ask for the day’s news. NVIDIA SPOT knows where you’re at. For SmartThings connectivity on SHIELD TV, you will need to buy a separate dongle.
Jen-Hsun Huang, founder and chief executive officer of NVIDIA, recently suggested that the concept behind NVIDIA SPOT was to take features a step further than Amazon Echo.
“We thought: why have two devices when you can have one?” Huang said during his remarks at CES 2017.
NVIDIA SHIELD TV SPECS 2017
The upgraded NVIDIA SHIELD TV for 2017 streams Netflix and Amazon Video in 4K HDR. That’s a first in the streaming box world. 4K support will be available for YouTube, Vudu and other platforms as well.
Unlike its predecessor, the SHIELD TV in 2017 comes with a game controller and remote.
People can also use a new app on SHIELD TV to stream 4K HDR games to a television.
SHIELD TV voice control
Imagine being in a Netflix-and-Chill moment with your girl. You say, “OK Google, show me some popular TV shows.”
She gets you out of the action-adventure genre saying, “Just Drama,” You chime in saying, “Only recent ones.”
Android TV responds to all your requests without you touching remote.
You can also say things like: “Play trailer from Stranger Things.” Netflix will boot up the trailer. Again, sans remote. You can also use voice commands to peruse photos in Google Photos.
But watch out on the photo- curation front. Say something like, “OK Google, show pictures from our weekend in Las Vegas,” and you might be screaming Noooooooo!!!!
Software updates are coming to the previous generation of NVIDIA SHIELD TV to bring most enhancements in the 2017 upgrade.
What can I control with NVIDIA SPOT?
The Nest Learning Thermostat made a couple of zippy cameos in the promo video for the new NVIDIA SHIELD TV. For the uninitiated, Amazon Echo users have been using their Nest Thermostat for a while now.
It’s no surprise that Nest, a Google-owned company, would be featured so prominently in NVIDIA SPOT’s debut. I can only imagine the handiness of pairing NVIDIA SPOT and a Nest Thermostat. If you were hanging out in your man cave downstairs, but knew your wife was coming home, you could probably say, “OK Google, change the upstairs thermostat to 72 degrees.”
Back to the important work of Mass Effect: Andromeda.
Samsung SmartThings compatibility
Music, news and podcasts are talked about on the NVIDIA web site. This will likely be your SHIELD TV or NVIDIA SPOT streaming content from NPR, TuneIn and iHeart Radio just like Amazon Echo. There are a number of tantalizing possibilities with you look at what’s already compatible with Samsung SmartThings. Bose home theater and the superb Bose Sound Wave Music system are among the speaker systems that Samsung features on its SmartThings web site.
Advanced lighting for in and outside the home have also been mentioned and shown in demos. Specifically, NVIDIA has shown Phillips Hue Personal Wireless Lighting as an example of what will work with NVIDIA Spot.
Those three areas are where NVIDIA SPOT is going to start out. No release date has been announced for the NVIDIA SPOT. The NVIDIA SHIELD TV and the SHIELD TV Pro version can be ordered now. The Pro version of SHIELD TV comes with a headset jack and 500GB of storage.
Founder and Editor of The Cord Cutting Report. Before launching the site in 2016, he worked for more than two decades as a staff writer or correspondent for a number of daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe. His enthusiasm for tech began with the Atari 2600. Follow @james_kimble