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Hands-on with the new NVIDIA Shield TV (Update: on sale today)

Nvidia's new Shield TV adds 4k HDR support and Google Assistant to the already popular media streaming console. Available for $199 from today.

Published onJanuary 16, 2017

A look at the 2017 NVIDIA Shield TV.

Update, January 16: The NVIDIA Shield TV 2017 is available for purchase from today. The regular 16 GB version costs $199, the same as its predecessor, while the larger pro version comes in at $299 with 500 GB of storage and will be available from January 30.

Buy/pre-order yours at the official NVIDIA website or from the Amazon links below and find out how else the new NVIDIA Shield TV has to offer in our hands-on underneath.

Previous post, January 7: The original NVIDIA Shield was a great device. It helped gamers to bring high-quality gaming content from their computer to the living room, and continued to evolve the media streaming experience with a single device. The Shield was part of an evolving technological revolution that moved much of our media to the cloud, and now that our TV’s are getting better, streaming needs to get better to catch up. That was NVIDIA’s thinking over the last year, and they have opted to update their SHIELD TV to fit in with the current generation of 4K HDR media.

Physically, the new Shield TV is much smaller than the previous iteration. Coming in at just a bit larger than a Pixel XL, it can easily fit into any home environment. It keeps the same tessellated design that was so popular with the previous generation, and somehow shrinks it down to about 2/3 the size. The controller takes on a similar style, and was also shrunk down to fit better in the hand and match the general theme of the console. This controller felt a lot more solid in the hand in my opinion, as the triggers were plenty tactile while the frame felt a lot more sturdy than the previous generation.

While the looks of the new Shield might be impressive in its own right, the real star of the show is the software. The new Shield TV can play back 4K HDR video, and NVIDIA is saying it offers 4x the performance of other content streamers on the market. Thanks to the Android TV OS, the Shield also offers thousands of apps that users can enjoy their content from — whether it’s Netflix or YouTube, Hulu or Spotify, the Shield TV has it.

On the gaming side of things, the newest Shield TV is much of the same, with a few extra tweaks built in. NVIDIA announced GeForce NOW at CES as well this year, which gives gamers the ability to render their games from NVIDIA servers for a flat rate. If you have a capable gaming PC of your own, you can also stream content directly to your TV through the SHIELD, which now supports 4K HDR content as well.

If hardcore gaming just isn’t your thing and you prefer simplistic mobile experiences, you also have access to the Google Play Store and all the games within. There are a variety of experiences available for almost any consumer, so there should be something for you no matter what experience you are craving.

Android TV box

One of the most interesting parts of the new Shield TV is the integration with Google Assistant. The Shield TV now offers many of the features that used to be exclusive to the Google Pixel and Google Home, right from the comfort of your couch. The company also announced a new microphone module called the Spot, which helps to extend the reach of your SHIELD assistant. It can be placed anywhere in your home, and uses directional sensing to know who is talking, even in noisy situations.

What are your thoughts on the NVIDIA Shield TV? Let us know in the comments.

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