Nvidia Shield TV UK Review: Nvidia’s streaming box isn’t just about 4K video; it’s also a supremely powerful and flexible games machine that puts consoles to shame. Here’s our full Nvidia Shield TV UK review.
Nvidia Shield TV: Design
Nvidia knows how to make sexy tech and the Shield TV box is easily the most trouser-stirring, pant-moistening streaming box out there. Those sharp angles glow an eerie neon green when the box is turned on, which looks pretty damn cool if you’re sat in the dark. And although the Shield TV is quite bulky compared with many streaming devices such as the new Apple TV, it’s still slender enough to slip into a narrow space on a shelf and can be stood upright using the optional stand.
On the back of the Shield TV you’ll find a strong array of ports, including HDMI to connect to a telly, two USB ports for hooking up external peripherals such as hard drives and keyboards, and an Ethernet port to get a wired connection with your router.
The Shield TV comes with a controller which can be used to skim around the blisffuly well laid-out desktop as well as controlling games, but we’d recommend stumping up a bit extra for the remote control. It’s a gorgeous little thing that’s more convenient for controlling the box, and it looks much nicer sat on your coffee table.
Nvidia Shield TV: Video streaming, apps and Chromecast
The Shield TV is easily the most future-proofed telly box out there for a couple of reasons.
First of all, it supports 4K Ultra HD at 60fps, something not matched by anything else on the market. For instance its nearest rival, the new Amazon Fire TV, can only stream 4K video at 30fps. Of course, there’s not much 4K content out there at the moment, but you’re all set when it becomes a regular service and you can enjoy your own 4K creations (plus those on Netflix and YouTube) for now.
Secondly, the 256-core Tegra X1 processor and 3GB of RAM packed inside make it the nippiest streaming box around. I never saw any slowdown or stutter when flicking through the gorgeous menus, running apps or gaming and it shouldn’t show its age for years to come.
Being an Android TV device, the Shield TV comes with Google Play access for downloading apps, music, movies and games. The collection of apps is growing every day, with the likes of iPlayer, Plex and Vevo all happily supported now. And if you want to muck around with standard apps, the Shield TV is fully compatible with Google’s Cast API, meaning all of those iOS and Android apps that play nicely with Chromecast will work.
If you download a lot of apps and games, never fear; there’s a microSD slot to expand the 16GB of on-board storage on the standard Shield TV model, and you can set the box up to automatically copy apps across when downloaded, which saves you the ballache of manually shifting or deleting them to clear up space.
Don’t like streaming much? Thankfully it’s dead easy to connect an external hard drive via USB to the back of the Shield TV, to play your own collection of movies and music. With support for pretty much every format of audio and video file going, I had no trouble playing even dodgy videos that I couldn’t get to work on our PlayStation 3, for instance.
Nvidia Shield TV: Gaming, game streaming and GeForce Now
The Shield TV also has solid gaming chops, making it as much a mini console as a streaming box. For a start, you can download and play Nvidia-enhanced games such as Half Life, Portal and Doom 3 (coming soon) to the Shield TV, something not possible on other set top boxes. And the bundled wireless controller is a comfortable device, packing all of the necessary buttons as well as long battery life (ten hours of non-stop gaming between charges) and an earphone port so you don’t disturb the rest of your household with frantic gunfire.
Streaming games from your PC is also a cinch if you’ve got a rig with a compatible Nvidia graphics card. Just make sure your PC and Shield TV are hooked up to the same router and install Nvidia’s GeForce Experience on your computer, then you can quickly and easily stream a selection of games straight to your telly. It’s a great feature that makes PC gaming that much more sociable.
Check out our Nvidia Shield Tablet LTE review for more info on Shield gaming and the controller.
As if that wasn’t enough, the Shield TV also sports Nvidia’s new GeForce Now service for streaming games from the cloud. GeForce Now offers 1080p 60fps streaming, a better experience than rival services such as PS Now. Just £7.49/month gives you access to a well-stocked catalogue of games which can be played as often as you like and Nvidia’s even throwing in your first three months for free as a taster.
Check out our GeForce Now guide for more info.
Nvidia Shield TV: Verdict
Nvidia’s Shield TV is a superb streaming box that’s ideal for vegging out to Netflix and other video services, as well as a solid competitor to gaming consoles thanks to its versatile nature. If Buddha was a couch potato, this would be his entertainment device of choice.
Check out our Shield TV guide for more on UK pricing and release date.