Nvidia Shield TV

Sure, it has a con­troller - but is it re­ally for gamers?

PCPOWERPLAY - - Contents -

Nvidia’s Shield is one of those things which is very ex­cit­ing as an idea, but a lit­tle less than that in ac­tion. Which, by the way, is not to say that it is a bad de­vice - far from it, it is an ex­cel­lent stream­ing box with a lot of great fea­tures and apps.

As a games con­sole that lever­ages the power of your beloved PC and its col­lec­tion of Steam games so you can play them on a nice big TV? Well, your mileage may vary on that front.

Set­ting up the de­vice is pretty sim­ple, and if you al­ready have an An­droid pow­ered tablet or phone, you can sim­ply port the set­tings from that to get the Shield di­aled in to your home net­work. Of course, like some walk­ing, breath­ing tech­no­log­i­cal curse, this did not work for me, though man­ual setup was sim­i­larly breezy. In a lot of ways it re­ally is just an­other smart box for your gog­gle box - a small plas­tic en­clo­sure and a near ubiq­ui­tous stick-style re­mote; but there’s a lot more go­ing on un­der the hood. There’s an Nvidia Te­gra pro­ces­sor, 16GB of on­board stor­age, gi­ga­bit eth­er­net, wire­less con­nec­tions, Blue­tooth, and HDMI 2.0b con­nec­tiv­ity along­side two USB 3.0 ports, which can be used to ex­pand the on­board stor­age.

It’s packed with au­dio and video codecs, and filled to the brim with ser­vices right out of the box - you get Nvidia Games, Net­flix, var­i­ous Google stores (the de­vice also runs An­droid Nougat, and runs it smoothly), Plex, Vudu, and more - and you can of course down­load more apps straight away, like Kodi. And of top of that, it’s got Chrome­cast baked in, and I sus­pect the most up­dated ver­sion - I’ve been run­ning a first-gen Chrome­cast for years and it has been get­ting very flaky. Cast­ing to the Shield is, on the other hand, easy and silky smooth.

It’s a re­ally great stream­ing box, and has in­te­grated into my house­hold (and gained my non-gamer flat­mate’s ap­proval) pretty eas­ily. But what about the games? Welp. I have no is­sues with cast­ing to my TV, my old Chrome­cast, or even to the Shield. I have ze­ros is­sues with my phone, and have gen­er­ally good sig­nal strength around the house. But stream­ing games from my PC were rid­dled with data dropouts and slow stream­ing speeds. Not un­playable, but not ex­actly the dream we’d been promised. As to stream­ing Nvidia’s own games re­motely - and there’s a good se­lec­tion - that’s even less doable. At first it in­sisted it had be switched to the 5GHz band, which I did, and then in­formed me that stream­ing was

As to stream­ing Nvidia’s own games re­motely - and there’s a good se­lec­tion - that’s even less doable.

im­pos­si­ble - my ping was too high. It’s a shame, be­cause the in­cluded con­troller in this ver­sion (there’s one with just the re­mote for $249) is re­ally quite good.

So is it good? There’s more to it - like An­droid games for in­stance - but ul­ti­mately it depends how you look at the de­vice. As a stream­ing box that can be ca­pa­ble of some nice tricks ev­ery now and then, it’s great.

As a PC-pow­ered games con­sole? Not so much, at least in my ex­pe­ri­ence. DaviD Holling­wortH

STReam­iNg box

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