Nvidia Shield TV lev­els up to full-fea­tured PC gam­ing with free Ge­force Now beta

The best me­dia streamer for geeks gets even stronger.

PCWorld (USA) - - News | S5mark A Rootkit In Disguise - BY BRAD CHACOS

Nvidia’s duel­ing Ge­force Now ser­vices just got a lot less com­pli­cated—and a whole lot more ap­peal­ing for Shield TV own­ers. Orig­i­nally cre­ated as a Net­flix-like all-you-can-play sub­scrip­tion ser­vice for Nvidia’s set-top box, the waters be­came murkier with the beta launch of the wildly dif­fer­ent ( go.pc­world.com/gfno) Ge­force Now for PCS and Macs, which es­sen­tially runs the PC games you al­ready own on an Nvidia server in the cloud. Re­cently, Nvidia an­nounced that the ser­vices are uni­fied. Shield TV now runs the same ver­sion of Ge­force Now as the PC and Mac.

Bet­ter yet, Ge­force Now is still free while it’s in beta. And while PC and Mac users have to regis­ter for the beta and cross their fin­gers

that they’ll be ac­cepted for the ser­vice, “Ac­cess to the Ge­force Now beta is in­cluded with every Shield TV,” Nvidia says ( go. pc­world.com/frbt). That guar­an­teed ac­cess makes the $200 Shield TV ( go.pc­world.com/ amnv)— al­ready the best me­dia streamer for en­thu­si­asts ( go.pc­world.com/nsh2)— an even more en­tic­ing propo­si­tion.

Ge­force Now grants you ac­cess to a vir­tual PC on Nvidia’s servers, and any progress you make in of­fi­cially sup­ported games on your Shield TV will carry over to your com­puter as well. Games down­load in­stantly, and Nvidia’s been dili­gent at adding sup­port for more ti­tles. When we first ex­am­ined Ge­force Now in depth in Fe­bru­ary ( go.pc­world.com/nvgs), 150 games were sup­ported. Now it’s up to 225, in­clud­ing the ma­jor­ity of the most-played games around. Rocket League, Dota 2, Play­erun­known’s Bat­tle­grounds, Fort­nite, League of Leg­ends, War­frame, Witcher 3— they’re all avail­able to start stream­ing on Shield TV now ( go.pc­world.com/gnsp). As a legacy of the pre­vi­ous ser­vice, Nvidia says Shield TV own­ers can play se­lect ti­tles for free.

If your net­work can han­dle the band­width de­mands, games should look much bet­ter on the new ver­sion of Ge­force Now. While the now-de­funct ver­sion for Shield TV re­lied on the con­sole’s Te­gra chip for visual oomph, the stream­ing ser­vice sim­u­lates full­blown Ge­force GTX graph­ics cards, play­ing games at up to 120 fps with visual qual­ity cranked. (Don’t for­get that the cur­rent Shield TV can dis­play 4K HDR vi­su­als, too.)

La­tency has long been the ar­row to the knee for would-be stream­ing ser­vices, but Ge­force Now plays sur­pris­ingly smoothly in our ex­pe­ri­ence ( go.pc­world.com/gnhe). Bet­ter yet, the ser­vice keeps your games and graph­ics driv­ers all patched and up-to-date, so there’s none of the usual main­te­nance as­so­ci­ated with PC gam­ing.

What you need to know: The only catch? Nvidia hasn’t an­nounced when Ge­force Now will exit beta, or how much it will cost when it does. The Shield TV’S prior Ge­force Now sub­scrip­tion cost $8 per month; this on-de­mand stream­ing in­car­na­tion has the po­ten­tial to cost much more. Re­gard­less, this is a sig­nif­i­cant up­grade for the Shield TV, and fur­ther ce­ments its sta­tus as the streamer that geeks should get.

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