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Original Nvidia Shield Android TV (2015) vs New Nvidia Shield TV (2017)

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The original Android Shield (now the Shield Portable), a gamepad-like Android device with a 5-inch screen that distinguished itself as one of the first to use Nvidia's Tegra 4 processor. It is a powerful device that can do some really impressive things.

The new Shield TV costs just as much and has the same hardware, but Nvidia has had more than a year to build up its gaming features and really separate it from the competition. Even better, it includes a media remote in the box instead of as a $50 accessory, and a new controller features a hands-free microphone with the promise of Google Assistant support. It's an expensive media streamer, but gamers will find its streaming features and processing power very intriguing.

Version


The Shield TV is available in two versions: the standard $199.99 Shield TV with 16GB of storage and the $299.99 Shield TV Pro with 500GB of storage. The two models are otherwise identical. If you want to play a lot of Android games with the 16GB model, this is vital. You can get a NAS working with the Shield TV, and smaller (and less expensive) USB flash drives will work just as well.

Remote


The original Shield TV offered the Shield Remote as a $50 accesory, but the new Shield TV includes an updated Remote right in the box.

Controller


The microphone on the controller is possibly the most important hardware change. It's designed to pick up voices when sitting on a table in front of you, and when Google Assistant is added to the Shield later this year, the microphone will enable completely hands-free voice control, like a Google Home speaker. If you areNvidia Shield Android TV (2015), for updating your hands-free voice control, you'll need to purchase the updated gamepad for $60.

Hardware


In terms of hardware, the new Shield TV is identical to the original one, with the same Nvidia Tegra X1 APU. Android TV prevents us from performing our standard Android benchmarks on the Shield TV as if it were a smartphone or tablet, but we ran implementations of 3DMark and GFXBench GL to pin down some numbers.

The Shield TV also blew all other Android devices out of the water in GFX OpenGL, rendering 1,570 frames in the most intensive Car Chase benchmark. However, the iPad Pro beat out the Shield TV in the most challenging Manhattan benchmark, rendering 2,075 frames to the Shield's 1,574.

Android and Local Gaming


Nvidia built the Shield TV around three gaming pillars: Android games with the Shield TV's own Tegra X1, local PC games with GameStream, and streaming Internet games with GeForce Now.

For native Android games, the Shield TV is still one of the most powerful devices out there.

Besides local Android games, you can stream PC games from your computer over your home network thanks to Nvidia Gamestream. You need a solid gaming PC with an Nvidia GeForce graphics card.

Media


The Shield TV was the first 4K-capable media streamer. The new Shield TV keeps that feature, and adds support for high dynamic range (HDR) video over Amazon. Like most other new features, the original Shield TV will also be patched to support HDR.

The Shield TV is as capable and full-featured as any Android TV device, with plenty of big-name streaming media apps including Amazon, Crunchyroll, Hulu, Netflix, and Sling. It also provides access to Google Play's full library of music and video content. The Shield TV supports Google Cast, so you can stream video to it from your mobile device just like a Google Chromecast.

Others


Other new features on the Shield TV will be added to the original Shield TV with firmware and software updates.

Conclusion


Both of the Original Nvidia Shield Android TV (2015) and New Nvidia Shield TV (2017) support Netflix 4K, they can stream games from your PC or Nvidia's servers, and they can run Android versions of full-scale console games.

However, it's still a pricey Android TV device, and compared with full-fledged game systems like the PlayStation 4, the Xbox One, and the Wii U, its content library is minuscule.

If you are willing to watch the Blu-ray and DVD movies on Original Nvidia Shield Android TV (2015) and New Nvidia Shield TV (2017), the offordable way is to rip Blu-ray and DVD disc to a digital file and watch via USB.

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