Two New Models of NVIDIA SHIELD TV Are Now on Sale
The next generation of NVIDIA Shield TV streaming media players just hitting store shelves today.
NVIDIA officially announced the specs of two new SHIELD models — SHIELD TV and SHIELD TV Pro.
News about a new generation of SHIELD TV devices began emerging over the summer through public documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission. With today’s announcement, NVIDIA finally doled out all the new specs and features for both new SHIELD models.
NVIDIA last upgraded the SHIELD hardware in 2017, and has had a robust series of updates to its Android TV software. The two new Shield models mark a generational change for its hardware and software.
Here are the top highlights.
More powerful hardware
The new Tegra X1+ processor is basically the newer, and faster heart of the two Shield TV models. It’s what is making Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos and some dramatic picture upscaling possible.
The earlier generations of SHIELD were already known for 4K picture resolution. But the Tegra X1+ is powering artificial intelligence technology to upscale 720p and 1080p picture resolution to 4K. NVIDIA says the new Tegra X1+ promises to deliver a 25 percent improvement in speed and performance compared to its predecessor.
Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos
Home theater enthusiasts have long known that Dolby Vision is the superior format compared to HDR10. The problem has been HDR10 has been more widely adopted by media companies. And hardware manufacturers have been slow to respond.
Amazon just added the Dolby Vision support to the new Fire TV Cube. And Apple TV supports Dolby Vision. That’s pretty much it for major streaming devices. The previous generation of SHIELD supported Dolby Atmos, but having the superior audio format with Dolby Vision is a significant upgrade overall.
AI Upscaling HD resolution
Maybe you’ve heard the term “upscaling” before. But don’t be fooled. NVIDIA has developed its own “AI upscaling” function on the SHIELD offers a dramatic improvement to 720p and 1080p resolution. (Of course, you will need a 4K television to enjoy the benefit.)
There are some dramatic examples of it already appearing online. And if you buy a Shield, you can use some of the tools on the device to see a side-by-side difference of an enhanced picture versus 720p or 1080p resolution.
NVIDIA has been known for its work in the realm of artificial intelligence for some time. But I don’t think anyone saw this coming (including Apple). I haven’t tested out a new Shield TV yet for myself, but the examples being shown online of AI upscaling could be a huge game changer in the world of streaming.
WiFi is great and all, but if you’re serious about tapping into the fastest Internet speed possible, you’re not going to mess around with WiFi unless you absolutely have to.
Having a Gigabit Ethernet connection is a solid move by NVIDIA because chances are you’ll not only be streaming in 4K Dolby Vision, you’ll also be doing some serious gaming when you have the TV to yourself.
Gaming / GEForce NOW
With the faster Tegra X1+ chip, Shield users will be able to enjoy the benefits of GEForce NOW without the need for an expensive gaming rig. The cloud-streaming software has access to more than 400 games. And for now, the service remains free while in beta. That includes free-to-play games such as Fortnite.
Upgraded Remote Control
The new remote control for SHIELD has a number of improvements. It’s powered by AAA batteries. The buttons are backlit automatically in a darkened room. There are dedicated buttons for Google Assistant, Netflix and volume control!
Standalone Media Server
NVIDIA decision to keep the SHIELD PRO in the mix is a significant one for fans using SHIELD as a PLEX Media Server. The PRO has 3GB of memory, 16GB hard drive and two USB ports. Having this setup means that you can still make the SHIELD PRO an expandable device by connecting an external hard drive, and even by tapping into your movies and music that you bought elsewhere.
Where to buy
SHIELD TV and SHIELD TV Pro are available now and ship in the U.S., Canada and select European countries. SHIELD TV starts at $149 with remote. SHIELD TV Pro with remote, 3GB of memory and 16GB of storage is available for $199.
So what’s your favorite upgrade on the latest generation of NVIDIA Shield TV? Tell fellow readers in the comments below.
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