Nvidia is in the process of coming up with products that are unique and which carry a lot of features. The company is better known for the range of its GPUs, but they are now looking to use the power of their brand to innovative gaming devices. They first started with the Nvidia Shield gaming handheld console, then followed up with the Nvidia Shield Tablet. And now the company is introducing the simply called Nvidia Shield – an Android TV top box which lets you play 4K movies and stream AAA games, as well.
The company is trying to find its ‘path’ and appropriate placement as a new player in the gaming industry, and that’s why it seems to be experimenting with all these new devices and services. It is looking to create a product that will combine Android, gaming, entertainment and streaming services. And it seems that it is getting closer to that moment.
The new Shield console is described as the ‘world’s first Android TV console‘, bringing video, music, apps and games. After studying the product for a while, I have the feeling that they are trying to take on such products as the PlayStation, Xbox, but also on the Apple TV. However, the task at hand is quiet difficult, since NVidia has to combine so many features inside an affordable package. And at $199, chances are that they have got it right.
At the GDC 2015 press conference, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said the product represents a mix of “revolutionary TV”, “gaming console” and “supercomputer.” He could be just right, but we wonder if this is enough for consumers to take this seriously. Nvidia’s previous products have been received with enthusiasm by casual games, and now they are trying to win over users interested in ‘heavier’ gaming but also in in entertainment. Let’s have a look at the ‘dry’ tech specs of the device to know what it’s all about:
- NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor, 256-core Maxwell GPU with 3GB RAMstream top-tier titles up to 1080p and 60 frames per second. The service will launch in May alongside the new Nvidia Shield home game console.
- 4K Ultra-HD ready video with 4K playback and capture up to 60 fps (VP9, H265, H264)
- 7.1 and 5.1 surround sound pass through over HDMI
- High-resolution audio playback up to 24-bit/192 kHz over HDMI and USB
- 16 GB storage
- Wireless 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth 4.1/BLE, Gigabit Ethernet
- HDMI 2.0, 2 USB 3.0 (Type A), Micro-USB 2.0, MicroSD slot
- IR Receiver
The console is running the operating system Android TV and is Google Cast Ready, as well. It comes with Plex, which is perhaps the software responsible for rendering 4K movies and videos.
The device will also make use of the recently announced Nvidia Grid game streaming service, as well, which will stream top-tier PC titles up to 1080p and 60 frames per second. The service is said to launch in May alongside the new Nvidia Shield home game console.
As for Android games, more than 50+ top titles will be available for download, including AAA titles like Crysis 3, Doom 3: BFG EditionT and Borderlands: TPS and more. GRID will include with its subscription price access to 50 titles, such as Batman: Arkham Origins, GRID 2 and Metro: Last Light Redux. This is indeed an interesting take from Nvidia, bringing together Android and PC games in a single product.
The console will deliver 4K content via HDMI and will stream it by using the Gigabit Ethernet. The microSD expansion port and two USB 3.0 ports for an external HDD will let you increase the storage, which comes at just 16GB. This is a really interesting product and I have a feeling that consumers will react well to it. Price is going to be one of the most important factors, but also this mix of features, which seems like the right first step towards where Nvidia is heading.