NVIDIA has now unveiled a new 2017 version of its platform with some hefty new changes. Like the previous version, the new Shield offers up 4K ultra HD content support, built-in streaming of the movies and other programming from a plethora of apps and access to new sources of content from Netflix and others.
The $199 device (or $299 for a larger version with a built-in 500GB hard drive) has big ambitions: Nvidia wants Shield TV to be not only the only streaming TV box you just need, but also a gaming console, a smart home device and a personal digital assistant all in one. Yet it is also virtually unchanged in terms of internal hardware from what Nvidia first released in the 2015. Software makes it feel like a completely new device, however – and that is going to benefit both existing users and those new to the Shield platform.
The update brings the 2015 Shield TV up to Android 7.0 Nougat, adds apps for the Amazon Video, Twitter, Comedy Central, and NFL, and offers a new Nvidia Games hub as a centralized place to access games. Moreover, the GeForce Now cloud streaming has been upgraded to offer up to GeForce GTX 1080 graphics, while local GameStream feature can now stream games from your gaming PC at up to 4K HDR.
Furthermore, the new streamer is simply much more robust all around, with the additions like Google Assistant built-right in and other enhancements that clearly show how NVIDIA wants its new shield to not only compete with other set-top boxes but also act as a piece of strong competition to Amazon’s own Echo device. As such, the 2017 Shield also includes an AI microphone peripheral system that can be turned to always-on listening functionality and placed around the house for voice command of the Shield’s numerous functions. This particular innovation in 2017 device is called NVIDIA Spot.
The Shield TV update is out for owners of the original 2015 device, but users who want the new features of the recently announced 2017 model — including improved performance and Google Assistant smart home control — will have to wait until the new hardware releases later this month.