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After 3 years with a Chromecast, I just want Nvidia to make a new Shield TV
Every time I sit down in front of my TV and pick up the remote, I am reminded of the mistake that I made a couple of years ago when I decided that Google’s then-new Chromecast was good enough for my use. At the time, I was moving from Lebanon to France and I was faced with a decision: carry my 2017 NVIDIA Shield TV or my 2020 Chromecast with Google TV (4K)? I picked the latter and I’ve since regretted that choice many times. The Shield TV was near perfect and now all I really want is for NVIDIA to make a new Shield TV.
Three reasons made me go with the Chromecast with Google TV as my Android TV box of choice: it was newer, it was running the more modern Google TV experience, and it was guaranteed to be the first one to get Google’s new features and experiments. Since I write about Android for a living, the last argument made everything else moot.
Do you want NVIDIA to make a new Shield TV?
Little did I know that, as time passed, most of Google’s updates for Google TV would be borderline uninteresting to me — and mostly revolve around recommendations instead of adding new features. Or that the Chromecast would become a bit more annoying to use with each passing day. The paltry 2GB of RAM and 8GB of storage make for a randomly sluggish experience. Sometimes, everything flies and I see no skips or hiccups, then it slows down to a crawl all of a sudden. Usually when I try to use Google Assistant or any kind of voice input. Sigh.
I kept the Chromecast because I thought I'd appreciate the updates and new Google TV experience. I didn't imagine that storage would be a bigger problem.
And even now, after Google has rolled out speed, performance, and storage improvements, I still have trouble keeping all the streaming apps installed without running into storage problems. Back in Lebanon, I used Plex, YouTube, and Spotify. Here in France, if I only want to watch some football (the ⚽️ kind) and tennis, I need at least four extra streaming services and apps installed. So when I hit the storage limit on my Chromecast, I gravitated towards my Xiaomi Android TV and nearly stopped using the Chromecast altogether. It’s not an ideal experience, but it provides me with more storage for the apps I need.
Storage was never an issue on my 2017 Shield TV. Hiccups used to happen, but they weren’t as frequent. (At least until I stopped using it.) I could download and play powerful and demanding games on it too, without an issue. Since I’m not a heavy gamer, the Shield TV played the role of a make-shift console for me, providing me with a fun gaming experience at a fraction of the price.
And NVIDIA has impressively kept its Shield TV units up to date all the way back to the first 2015 model, negating most of my worries about being left with older software. That level of support on top of excellent hardware is the reason why I’m currently yearning for a new Shield TV.
I’ve rarely seen companies treat their products as well as NVIDIA did for its Shield line-up so it’s a bit of a shame that we haven’t seen anything new since the Shield TV 2019 which, let’s face it, wasn’t a winner on all fronts.
Few companies have treated their Android products as well as NVIDIA has done with the Shield TV.
In an ideal world, there’s a lab in a back alley inside NVIDIA’s headquarters where someone has been cooking up a follow-up Shield TV with more storage and RAM, a faster processor, HDMI 2.1, and support for all the new streaming formats, codecs, and technologies. And maybe, with its new trillion-dollar valuation and stock surge, there are enough green bills lying around to justify pursuing a side project that’ll keep us, Android users, happy.
The current streaming box market is gravitating toward cheap, disposable, sub-$50 streaming sticks and boxes which are fine for a year, maybe two, and then become dead weight. Even Google has decided that the Chromecast was too powerful and went for a more affordable and lower-specced Chromecast with Google TV (HD). If we want a more powerful Android TV box, it’s unlikely that Google or Xiaomi will provide it. NVIDIA was the only one that did this right in the past decade. I’d love if it did it again this year.