There is a dizzying array of streaming devices on the market these days, and they all do one or two things well. But the Shield? The Shield does everything.
A brief overview
Nvidia is a name well known among PC gamers and builders. Anything with the GeForce moniker comes from Nvidia, which makes exceptional and highly sought-after graphics cards… and now the company is dipping its toes into streaming.
I have to be honest: Researching the Nvidia Shield was a daunting task. This thing really does that much! With that in mind, I am going to give you a broad look at what the Shield delivers and let you discover the rest.
More bang for your buck
Compared to devices like the Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google Chromecast, the Roku Stick and Steam Link, the Nvidia shield is a bit pricier – but that’s to be expected given its wide range of features and capabilities. Here’s a quick cost comparison:
- Amazon: Fire TV Stick = $39.99 / 4K-capable Fire TV = $89.99
- Google: Chromecast = $35.00 / Chromecast 4K = $69.99
- Roku: Stick = $49.99 / 4K player = $79.99
- Steam: Steam Link = $49.99
- Nvidia Shield: 16GB version = $199.99 / 500GB pro version = $299.99
- The base Shield unit comes with one controller, and the remote is an additional cost
Most of the devices listed above have one thing in common: They are Android TV streaming devices, and that’s it (with the exception of the Steam Link, which streams Steam video games from your PC to your TV). In contrast, the Shield streams Android TV, can handle 4K streaming and 5.1- and 7.1-surround-sound, streams games from your PC to your TV and from NVidia’s GeForce Now subscription service, can act as an HDHomeRun DVR (pro version only) and has the capability to serve as a Plex server.
The Shield connects to your TV via HDMI. It has Bluetooth capability, so it will recognize your wireless keyboards and mouse (because, let’s face it, true gamers do not use a controller!) If you’d like to use the Shield as a media server but don’t quite want to pay the extra $100 dollars for the 500GB Pro Shield, the 16GB version has two USB ports for external hard drives, plus a micro SD slot.
Beyond all that, the Shield remote and controller both recognize voice commands. Seriously, you can just say “Stranger Things” and it will bring up a beautiful menu of navigation options. The voice commands also integrate with Google so you can search the web. How about a cool video to show off that functionality?
As you can see, once you start digging into everything this device is capable of, the price tag starts to seem a lot more reasonable. But, hey, why don’t I tell you a bit more?
Where the shield shines
There’s so much to say about the Plex media server and HDHomeRun features that they deserve articles all to themselves. Here are a few useful links to get you started:
The Shield ultimately shines in the world of gamers. To take full advantage of its capabilities, I recommend using a direct Ethernet connection for both the Shield and your gaming PC. If you don’t have an Ethernet port near your device, use an AC router.
It’s also important to point out that not only can you stream games from Nvidia’s own GeForce Now streaming subscription ($7.99 per month) but, using a technology called GameStream, you can also stream from your gaming PC to any TV in the house, provided your Shield is connected. Essentially, you can leave your gaming rig under your desk and play on a big-screen TV in the comfort of your living room rather than on a PC monitor in the confines of your tiny bedroom. The only caveat is that your gaming PC must have an Nvidia GeForce graphics card installed – but for true gamers, that’s kind of a given.
If you’re a gamer, using your holiday bonus to pick up the Nvidia Shield might just be the best decision you make all year, and if you’re still figuring out what gift to buy for the gamer in your family, look no further than the Shield!
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