Nvidia Shield Android TV: A high-end, gamer-friendly 4K streamerThe Nvidia Shield is the most potent Android TV device yet, bringing 4K video, solid gaming and plenty of horsepower to the streaming platform. But it's still a niche product.
[MUSIC] This is the NVIDIA Shield. This shard-adorned Android TV box is one of the most powerful streaming devices available and it should be because, at 200 bucks, it costs more than twice as much as a Roku or an Apple TV. There's also a $300 version called the Shield Pro that increases the storage capacity from 16 to 500 gigs So what do you get for that extra money? The first thing, as you'd expect from gaming specialist Nvidia, is improved graphics power. The shield can access and array of optimized titles including, Half-Life 2, Borderlands the pre-sequel, and Telltale Game's Game of Thrones. The one's that I've played on the system looked very good and since it comes with a controller, they're much easier to play than standard games on Android TV. The downside is that you don't get access to first-run, a-list titles like you would on a real console like PS4 or Xbox One. Shield can deliver PC games via an Nvidia-equipped computer in your home, however, and can also access Nvidia's GRID streaming service. Beyond games, the Shield's other main appeal is 4K. It can stream Netflix's 4K videos to a compatible 4K TV, as well as 4K YouTube videos. The shield connectivity outclasses any other streamer too. With a pair of SD ports and even a jack and an SD card slot for expanded storage. It can also connect with external hard drives and USB drives as well as the cloud to put photo and video files on your entertainment system. The shield still falls a bit short of our favorite streaming device mainly because Android TV still lacks many most have apps. There's no "HBO Go", "Amazon Instant Video", "Watch Espn", or "Spotify", for example. You can get around those limitations by using "Cast", where your Android phone or Chrome browser can send content to the shield, but it's less convenient than using a native app. In it's favor, "Android TV" is adding new apps regularly, including "Swing TV", and "FOX", "Voodoo", and "Epix" are coming soon. Like other Android TV devices, the shield offers voice search from either the included controller or the optional $50 remote. In the end, the powerful expensive shield has less appeal then other streamers or full fledged video game consoles. For some 4k TV owners or file hoarders it is worth the extra money. I'm David Katzmeier, for CNet.