In 2015, Nvidia launched what was soon to be the best android TV box on the market, the Shield TV. This little black box has set the industry standard as to what an android TV box should be – powerful, user friendly and boast an attractive design. It fits perfectly into the living room eco-system, while not looking too obtrusive or out-of-place.
The question on this writer’s mind is how Nvidia could improve upon their previous effort, that, quite frankly, blew all of its’ competitors out of the water, or the living room in this case.
CES 2017 brought about the unveiling of Nvidia‘s second iteration of its’ Shield TV, boasting an extremely lightweight and overall more compact design, in comparison to it’s predecessor. The controller has also been subject to a bit of a face lift, with a more angular approach, also roughly 20% smaller, according to Nvidia. Although I haven’t gotten my hands on one, the controller is supposedly more ergonomic and feels great in the hand, allowing a few more hours gameplay before your hands start to tire.
The console’s internal specs have only undergone minor tweaks, leaving some disappointed. The new Shield has the same Tegra X1 chip and still has 3GB RAM, which will still outperform similar products. The fact that the new Shield TV can also output 4K HDR through channels such as Netflix, YouTube 4K and Amazon Prime will also be very attractive for prospective buyers.
The Shield will ship in two capacities again – 16GB base model and the 500GB pro model, priced at $199 and $299 respectively. The base model has been stripped of it’s SD Card slot, which is disappointing. The 500GB will keep the SD Card slot though, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
Both models will ship with the Controller and the Remote included this time around, though, so this is a welcome bonus.
It’ll have Android 7.0 “Nougat” onboard, taking advantage of Android’s latest build. Owners of the previous generation of the Shield TV will not be disappointed to know that a firmware upgrade will be distributed, upgrading them to Android’s newest release.
Nvidia Spot and Google Assistant:
Through the new Shield TV, users will have future access to Google Assistant, the first time this will be seen on a living room TV. The remote will have the ability to always listen, allowing the user to simply quote the phrase known across Google’s voice to speech platform – “Ok Google”. This can be turned off, however, should the user feel like international spies are listening in on them, while streaming their favourite Anime. Google Assistant won’t launch with the new Shield, as Google has not officially launched it for Android TV yet, but it should be cool when it does!
Also announced was Nvidia‘s Spot, the company’s first attempt at a smart home device. A similar premise to Amazon‘s Echo and Google Home. This little ball that will protrude from any power outlet will have a microphone and speaker built in, allowing access to Google Assistant from all over the home. This will enable the user to do things turn off lights through smart bulbs or switch on a smart coffee pot as through the SmartThings integration on the soon to be released Spot. These will cost $50 a pop.
Overall, we’re excited for the new Shield TV. Maybe not a huge difference or groundbreaking updated specs, but we here at QuestMode think this would be a welcome addition to anyone’s living room setup.