What is NVIDIA SHIELD and What You Can Do with It?

Dec 13, 2019 | 0 Votes by jose - rate Your vote
The NVIDIA SHIELD was and continues to be one of NVIDIA's most innovative products. Let's take a close look at it and what it can do for gamers like us.

WWGDB - What is NVIDIA SHIELD and What You Can Do with It?

One of the most popular and widely used ways to view information on the Internet is through streaming. This is usually in the case of audio and video like music, film, presentations and even video games. A lot of services online stream media information directly to the devices their customers or viewers use whether it be a smartphone, a tablet, a streaming multi-media console or a computer. Streaming enables the viewer to see the information without the need to download it first, wait for it then finally view it.

One of the best examples of data streaming is YouTube itself. Once you click on a video and watch it, the video is being streamed directly to you. Most people use either their mobile devices or PCs to do this but there are specialized digital media player console devices that can do this as well and a little bit more. Enter NVIDIA SHIELD. These are a series of devices developed and released by GPU manufacturer NVIDIA along with the different software and services that support them. These devices focus on the use of streaming and cloud computing to bring data and information to the user.

The first SHIELD device was released in 2013, it was called the SHIELD Portable. At the time, NVIDIA wanted to release a portable gaming console that could access the vast Android gaming market and could stream video and other information as well. The Portable had a 5-inch fold-out display attached to a gaming controller and was powered by the then cutting-edge Tegra 4 processor. The SHIELD Android-based mobile gaming console was an innovative and unique device during it's time. However, most Android games back then didn't have controller support so NVIDIA had to port some of the most popular titles so that SHIELD users could enjoy them.

As time went by and more Android-based games added controller support features, NVIDIA added control mapping to the Portable to make it more compatible with most games. Furthermore, both GameStream and GeForce Now where added allowing gamers to stream their PC games from their NVIDIA GPU powered PCs to the console and play it there. Also, as the Portable was a streaming device, it had a console-mode feature that allowed it to be plugged to a TV using a mini-HDMI connection and paired with a Bluetooth controller too. Games could then be streamed to a larger screen as well as online video and streaming services like NetFlix and the like.

SHIELD Portable and Tablet

A year after the release of the SHIELD Portable, the SHIELD Tablet came out. It's function was practically the same as the Portable but it was a tablet with a much larger 8-inch display. An external optional controller that connected to the Tablet via Wi-Fi was added for those in need of controller support as otherwise, the SHIELD Tablet worked as a regular Android Tablet of the day. The controller was compatible with the Portable as well and worked great with both GameStream and GeForce Now, much more, the Tablet was great when connected to a TV via HDMI as it could stream 4K content. Unlike the Portable though, it was equipped with the more powerful Tegra K1 processor. The Tablet was released in two flavors, a 16GB Wi-Fi version and a 32GB cellular-compatible version that supported GSM carriers. They also shipped with a SHIELD Tablet proprietary stylus which could only work with them.

Today, when NVIDIA SHIELD is mentioned, it refers to the latest released and current device which is the SHIELD Android TV or Console. This device is somewhat the amalgamation of both the Portable and the Tablet specifically designed and tailor-made for today's market. It looks like a small box (kind of like a router) that you can set-up and connects to your TV set. It uses the Tegra X1 processor, has 3GB of RAM and has either 16GB or 500GB of storage. It can connect online via Wi-Fi/Ethernet and HDMI 2.0 for the TV and can be used for streaming music, video and gaming as well as online services like NetFlix, Hulu and others.

As of today (2019), the NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV Box comes in two flavors. The NVIDIA Shield TV Smart Home Edition is priced at around 179 USD and the NVIDIA Shield TV Smart Gaming Edition at around 189 USD. Also, the box has already been updated from its original design and uses the latest Android TV software. This means it has both Google Assistant and Chromecast as well as other great features built right into it. The box comes with a sleek remote that has a built-in microphone for use with the Google Assistant. You can also plug in a mouse and Keyboard as well should you fancy turning it into a sort of cloud-web-based computer and play games. The box sports USB 3.0 ports as well so you can connect external USB devices like external drives should the need for more storage arises. Again, the SHIELD box can come in the regular 16GB storage version for both Gaming and Home editions or the SHIELD Box Pro a lot more expensive but with 500GB of storage space.

Shield TV Game Edition

NVIDIA SHIELD is not only hardware but software as well. The console has been upgraded to Android 8.1 and NVIDIA's supporting product line has been kept up-to-date. The SHIELD Box can run the best Android Apps for the Android TV Platform which include YouTube, Spotify, Amazon Prime, Hulu, NetFlix and media streaming platforms like Plex and Kodi among others. The SHIELD's user interface is intuitive and easy to use and provides recommendation features as well. Also as mentioned, aside from the popular streaming services online, the SHIELD has access to the Google Playstore for Android gaming as well as Steam and other PC based platforms where the games can be streamed from a NVIDIA powered PC to the console and ones TV set.

Shield TV Services

Aside from the basic SHIELD console that comes only with it's remote, you can opt for the bundled packages which are the Smart Home and Gaming versions as mentioned earlier. These come with added features like a SmartThings Link dongle for the Smart Home and a NVIDIA wireless gaming controller for the Gaming version. The Link dongle is for remotely controlling Smart Home devices via the Google Assistant or Alexa AI assistant applications.

Finally to sum it up, if you need to access the internet to play games, watch movies, listen to music or simply search for information, NVIDIA SHIELD TV Box can do these just like a PC can and since you can connect it to your large screen TV, it can provide a far heightened experience compared to your PC monitor. Also, as an Android device, it has access to that which the Android platform has to offer so apps that you would normally run on your smart phone or tablet can be displayed on your TV instead. If you need a TV Box that can handle wide-scale multi-media, no product currently does it better than NVIDIA SHIELD.

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