Nvidia Shield TV in the test: The update makes the streaming box even better


Nvidia is giving its Shield TV streaming box a major update to firmware version 9. This is accompanied by an operating system update to Android TV 11 and a number of smaller improvements. The result: one of the best streaming devices ever to easily bring films and series from Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, Apple and other providers to the TV. On top of that, there’s the Nvidia GeForce Now Gaming platform. This makes the Shield TV a game console more than other streaming sticks and boxes. The test reveals how it keeps competing devices at bay and what the difference between Shield TV and Shield TV Pro is.

The best streaming boxes and sticks



tomson

Shield TV


NVIDIA

TV Stick 4K Max


Amazon Fire

TV 4K (2021)


Apple

TV 4K 32GB (2021)


Apple

TV 4K 64GB (2021)


Apple

Streaming Stick 4K


roku

Chromecast with Google TV


Google

Fire TV Cube


Amazon

Magenta TV Stick


telecom

Complete List: The Best Streaming Boxes and Sticks

Nvidia Shield TV in the test: stuffed with technology

The outer shape of the Nvidia Shield TV is refreshingly different: the manufacturer packs its streamer in a 16 centimeter long plastic tube. Power goes in on one side, image and sound come out on the other via HDMI. Nice detail: The new Shield TV has a mains connection, so it does not need an annoying plug-in power supply – a blessing in view of densely populated power strips. There was also space for a network connection, so that the tube can also suck 4K films and games with complex graphics from the network at full steam, regardless of weak WLANs. Inside the tube is Nvidia’s Tegra X1 processor, which is also used in the Nintendo Switch games console, for example. In addition, there are 2 gigabytes (GB) of RAM and 8 GB of memory for apps – this is the usual memory configuration for streaming players today. The Shield storage can be expanded via a microSD card if required. So that the densely packed electronics, including the power supply, do not overheat, a small fan inside provides a supply of fresh air. It is not audible in “quiet” fan mode (factory setting). In the “cool” setting, it whistles softly. However, the television acts as a soundproof wall, one meter in front of it there was silence in the test.

Typical Android TV 11: The app selection includes all imaginable streaming and gaming offers.

Typical Android TV 11: The app selection includes all imaginable streaming and gaming offers.

Nvidia Shield TV: New remote control

The remote control in the format of the small 35 gram Toblerone is also unique. It feels good in the hand and has illuminated buttons – the somewhat dim light turns on automatically with every movement. But it isn’t any better than the remote controls from the competition: the buttons appear to be arranged in a row of two without will. It takes a while before the thumb hits the fast forward and rewind button and doesn’t mix up the microphone and home button. The remote control controls the Shield TV via Bluetooth radio, so the tube can disappear behind the television. The remote control can control the volume of televisions and audio devices via infrared. The setup required for this is solved very nicely and simply in the menu. In general, the commissioning is hardly a riddle, Android users in particular feel right at home. Gamers can also register for free on the Nvidia GeForce Now platform.

Nvidia Shield TV in the test: Nvidia gives the full pipe!  The new remote control for the Nvidia Shield TV is nice and handy, but the button arrangement is not very distinctive.

The new remote control for the Nvidia Shield TV is nice and handy, but the button arrangement is not very distinctive.

Nvidia Shield TV review: 4K, HDR, Dolby Vision

There is nothing to complain about when it comes to operation, the Shield TV reacts to inputs with the remote control at lightning speed. Android 11 is beautifully clear and offers apps for all major streaming providers. Only Sky Ticket is missing. The fact that the voice control only works with a few apps is more a fault of Google than Nvidia. As expected, the picture quality is impeccable. The tube delivers 4K streams to suitable televisions without errors. It also masters HDR playback with higher color and contrast, including the refined Dolby Vision version.
Nvidia Shield TV in the test: Nvidia gives the full pipe!  The AI ​​upscaling function of the new Nvidia Shield TV upscales HD to UHD (4K) with subtle resharpening.  The demo mode makes this strikingly clear.

The AI ​​upscaling function of the new Nvidia Shield TV upscales HD to UHD (4K) with subtle resharpening. The demo mode makes this striking.

The small Nvidia streamer is really strong with films in HD and SD quality. The so-called AI upscaling can be switched on. In the “Optimized” setting, the image looks subtly sharper, in the extended setting it pays for the even greater impression of sharpness with unsightly side effects such as double contours and artefacts. The AI ​​upscaling is available for films and series from Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, for example, but not in connection with all apps.

The GeForce Now platform offers a large and affordable selection of games.

The GeForce Now platform offers a large and affordable selection of games.

Nvidia Shield TV: Very good for gamers

Gamers will also enjoy the upscaling function. Of course, it can’t miss a 4K look like block graphics, but is intelligent enough not to make high-resolution games worse. In addition, the Shield TV brings the games from GeForce Now to the screen without delay, with the update there is 4K resolution and HDR. This quality is still unique compared to the streaming box competition, plus the cloud gaming offers from Steam and Stadia. However, the game controller costs around 75 euros extra. Great: The update is even available for the first Nvidia Shield TV from 2018.
  • Perfect picture quality
  • Very good sound including Dolby Atmos
  • microSD slot so close to the HDMI port that it’s barely usable for media playback

Nvidia Shield TV: test conclusion, Shield TV Pro comparison

The combination of a fast streaming player and a cheap game console still has its appeal. The Nvidia Shield TV with its striking tube shape is a popular, high-performance streaming box for televisions. The clear Android 11 menu makes it easy to use, and the remote control is very handy. Since the market launch, more and more functions and apps have been added via updates, such as Disney+ and Apple TV. The Shield TV is only quite expensive for streaming films and series, but it is worth it for gamers thanks to access to the GeForce Now gaming platform. If the box is also to be used as a media player for films and more, the slightly more expensive Shield TV Pro version with two USB ports is a good choice. It comes with more RAM (3 GB instead of 2 GB RAM and 16 instead of 8 GB memory for apps).



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