Nvidia Shield TV Pro review 2022

Why should you purchase the Nvidia Shield TV Pro? In a market flooded with streaming devices for various budgets – many of which are less expensive than this high-spec one – the question is whether you want the best.

If all you want is the newest movies and shows streamed without fuss, there are plenty of options available. Fire TV Cubes to Roku streaming sticks, and even expensive features like Dolby Vision are making their way down to more affordable models. Only the Shield TV Pro will suffice if you want a little more ‘oomph’ from your TV’s devices.

The Shield TV Pro is an Android-powered set-top box / games console that is packed with features that will appeal to both movie aficionados and gamers.

It has you covered whether you want high-end PC gaming streamed to your TV. Despite the improved specs, it offers less value for money than prior generations.

Nvidia Shield TV Pro price and availability

The Nvidia Shield TV Pro is now available for $199.99 (£179.99). That buys you the console, a new and better remote control , and access to 20 terrific (though aging) PC games. You can stream over the internet as part of the GeForce Now service, which you can supplement with your own purchases.

Nvidia Shield TV Pro price and availability
Nvidia Shield TV Pro price and availability

It’d be a wonderful deal with enhanced internal hardware and some new features, which we’ll get to in a minute… if Nvidia’s own Nvidia Shield TV Gaming Edition pack hadn’t already outdone it.

For around the same price, you could have the last-gen box, last-gen remote, and the mic-packing Nvidia Shield Controller, which is currently sold separately.

There isn’t much that can compete with the Nvidia Shield TV Pro, except from its older brothers. The Amazon Fire TV Cube is exactly as capable as a movie and TV streaming device as the Shield TV Pro, but it is less expensive. If you have the cash, the Shield TV is difficult to beat.

Design

Given its capabilities, the Nvidia Shield TV Pro is a small little object. It’s around the size of two Kindle e-readers piled on top of each other. The shaped like a slender wedge with some angular indentations etched into it for posterity. In a pinch, it’d just about fit into the back pocket of your jeans.

Design
Design

It’ll sit innocuously alongside your other AV gear, lying flat or standing upright with its ‘on’ status conveyed by a neon green light strip. The intensity of which may be changed if you find it a little garish.

Two USB 3.0 connections, a 4K HDR-compatible HDMI port, an Ethernet port, and a proprietary power port are located on the back of the device. Wi-Fi (802.11ac dual-band) and Bluetooth 5.0 for connecting wireless accessories are both included. However, the only cable included in the box is for electricity. You must provide your own HDMI (and, if necessary, USB) cable.

There’s 3GB of RAM and 16GB of storage under the hood. Although the RAM remains identical, we’ve seen other Shield variants with up to 500GB of on-board storage, so a little more would have been nice. Still, the two USB connections make connecting external storage, as well as a wired controller or keyboard and mouse, a breeze.

What’s changed is the CPU, which is the first big improvement to the Shield TV lineup since its launch in 2015. The Tegra X1+ CPU is on board, which offers a 25% performance jump over the Tegra X1. It’s the same family of chips that power the latest Nintendo Switch models, including the Nintendo Switch Lite.

The Shield TV family has never been known for its performance, but the inclusion of the X1+ makes everything feel a little snappier, as well as allowing for some of the new features on-board here.

Features and interface

If you’ve ever used an Android TV device, you’ll be familiar with the Nvidia Shield TV. It’s essentially the stock Android TV experience as planned by Google, with a few minor adjustments (mainly to the settings options) tailored to the Shield TV Pro’s features.

Features and interface
Features and interface

It displays rows of content according to on the apps you’ve installed. The top row displays a summary of your most frequently used apps, with the rows below displaying rich artwork and content recommendation snippets depending on the app’s features. You can rearrange or hide everything as you see appropriate.

Keep in mind that not every Android app you have on your phone has an Android TV version, and that searching the Android TV app store may be a hassle — you never feel like you’re getting every potential app from a search.

App shortcuts were removed from the home screen in a 2021 update, and the apps view was expanded to fit more services onscreen at once. A Discover tab with content recommendations has been added, as well as new banner promotions for Disney Plus series. It’s a better UI, but it’s too dissimilar.

Furthermore, because Google Chromecast is built-in, any Chromecast-compatible mobile app that you wish to project onto the large screen via the Shield will work.

GeForce Now and GameStream

The built-in GeForce Now service is what sets the Nvidia Shield TV Pro apart from rival streaming boxes. It essentially allows you to play top-tier PC games on your TV, regardless of whether you have a gaming PC or not – as long as your internet connection can maintain steady, moderately-fast speeds. GeForce Now is presently free to use because it is still in beta — how much it will cost once it is no longer in beta remains to be seen.

GeForce Now and GameStream
GeForce Now and GameStream

The functionality works by emulating a virtual PC on Nvidia’s distant servers, which uses super-charged components to deliver high-resolution gameplay visuals from demanding games.

All the heavy lifting is done remotely, so all you need is a fast enough internet connection to keep the movie from stuttering as you play. It’s similar to Google Stadia in idea.

Over the years, Nvidia has made significant improvements to GeForce Now. A good internet connection will allow you to play games at maximum resolutions of 4K and 60 frames per second. For consistent 1080p / 30fps streaming, a suggested speed of 25Mbps is necessary.

Remote

The Nvidia Shield TV Pro comes with a redesigned remote control that has been thoughtfully reconsidered. It’s now structured like a prism, rather than being flat, and contains dedicated playback controls as well as a selection wheel. There’s also a special Netflix button, as well as a mic-on button and a ‘Quick Menu’ button that can be customized in the UI to go right to any function.

Remote
Remote

If you utilize the mostly-inessential Nvidia Shield TV mobile app, the remote now doubles as an IR blaster for controlling your TV, and it’ll also beep if you lose it.

Another improvement is that the remote now uses AAA batteries rather than the button-shaped watch batteries of the previous iteration. It’s still not as convenient as the USB rechargeable power supply on the first-generation Shield remote.

Verdict

Although there isn’t much new in this Nvidia Shield TV Pro version, it is still a must-have for novices to the device. It provides unequaled 4K HDR streaming capabilities, significant app compatibility owing to its Android TV origins, and a variety of gaming possibilities, whether playing games saved locally on the device or over the internet through the GeForce Now service.

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