Nvidia’s Shield Android TV set-top box arrives with Netflix-like GeForce NOW game streaming
Nvidia has officially launched the Shield set-top box in the UK and across Europe, bringing the 4K-ready, Android-TV powered micro console across the Atlantic for the first time. Following a successful launch in the US, Shield Android TV looks set to be the first 4K, 60fps streaming box available in the UK, neatly beating Amazon’s Fire TV with 4K by four days.
With Nvidia’s own Tegra X1 processor and 3GB of RAM running the show, Shield Android TV should be a seriously powerful set-top box – so much so that Nvidia is promising unparalleled gaming performance and “up to 34 times” more speed than other media streamers. It will be able to stream 4K video at 60fps and play back 24-bit, 192kHz audio files, but considering the 256-core Maxwell GPU shares much of its architecture with Nvidia’s GeForce graphics cards, it will also be able to play any game currently available on the Android TV version of the Play store.
Nvidia isn’t stopping there, either. Shield Android TV will include GeForce NOW, a game streaming service that the company wants to become the “Netflix of games”. Rather than download games individually, they can be streamed from the web, with the processing and rendering handled by a server in the cloud. There will be a choice of around 50 games at launch, including major releases from the Batman and Lego franchises, which will be available for free to Shield Android TV customers for the first three months – after which it will cost £7.49 a month. Newer, AAA titles will also be available for purchase separately, including The Witcher 3, Saints Row: Gat out of Hell and Resident Evil: Revelations 2.
There will be two models available at launch; the 16GB SHIELD and the 500GB SHIELD Pro. The latter uses a mechanical hard disk to squeeze in more storage, but both models have a microSD card slot for adding extra capacity. 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 LE are both on board too, for getting online and for connecting the bundled Shield gamepad and voice-enabled remote control.
With Android TV getting wider developer support and Nvidia’s gaming focus, the Shield Android TV looks like a serious set-top box, whether you’re interested in multimedia playback or game streaming. We’ll be taking a closer look later this week to see how it stacks up to the Nexus Player, but in the meantime you’ll want to start saving; the basic 16GB model is set to cost £149.99, while the 500GB Shield Pro will set you back £219.99.