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Device Reviews

NVIDIA SHIELD TV

When I first entered the Kodi fray seriously just over a year ago, I got the impression that an OpenElec device would be the best way to go, it seemed to have the edge over Android based boxes that were saturating the market. (I had previously had 2 android boxes which in my opinion were slow, and cumbersome).

So i bought a Openelec device with a decent specification and was more than happy. I did not believe that an Android box could get anywhere near Openelec. Until Now!

Nvidia Shield TV. 4K Streaming, Advanced Gaming, and Android TV and the best bit it will run Kodi. Intrigued I take a closer look.

Aesthetics

It’s a sleek black unit, which when you remove it from the box is unexpectedly heavy weighing in at 654grams / 23 oz. It feels extremely compact and well made, solid if I had to choose a single word. It is quite angular with a raised triangular shape which incorporates a Green light when switched on. The Shield angles down from edge to edge again following a angular theme.

shield pic1

The packaging is big, a big white box which is incredibly deep with the Nvidia Shield positioned centrally on the front of the box.

Shield pic

However it does contain every thing you need to just plug and play.

  • Mains lead.
  • HDMI cable
  • USB cable
  • Instruction book
  • Shield Controller

 

There are 2 controllers available for the Shield. The Gamepad which comes with the device has the ability to switch on the device, adjust the volume and initiate voice control. Looks wise it looks like any games console controller.

control2

Then there is the Remote, which looks really neat, with a slide control for the volume. On both you have the ability to plug in your headphones so you can leave the rest of your family in peace.

Specification

PROCESSOR NVIDIA® Tegra® X1 processor with a 256-core GPU and 3 GB RAM
VIDEO FEATURES 4K Ultra HD ready
4K playback at 60 FPS (VP9, H265, H264)
4K capture at 30 FPS (H264, H265)
Supports: MPEG-2/ MPEG-4/ Xvid/ DivX/ WMV9/ ASF/ AVI/ MKV/ MOV/ M2TS/ MPEG-TS/ H.263/ H.264/ H.265/ VC-1/ VP8/ VP9
AUDIO 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
High-resolution audio up-sample to 24-bit/192 kHz over USB
Supports: AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, MP3, WAVE, AMR, OGG Vorbis, FLAC, PCM, WMA, WMA-Pro, WMA-Lossless, DD+/DTS (pass-through), DTS-HD MA (pass-through), Dolby TrueHD (pass-through)
STORAGE 16 GB and 500 GB (Note: portion of storage occupied by system software)
WIRELESS 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 4.1/BLE
INTERFACES Gigabit Ethernet
HDMI 2.0
Two USB 3.0 (Type A)
Micro-USB 2.0
MicroSD slot
IR receiver (compatible with Logitech Harmony)
WEIGHT AND SIZE Weight: 23 oz / 654 g
Height: 1.0 in / 25 mm
Width: 8.3 in / 210 mm
Depth: 5.1 in / 130 mm
OPERATING SYSTEM Android 5.1 (Lollipop) powered by Android TV and Google Cast
SOFTWARE UPDATES SHIELD software upgrades directly from NVIDIA
POWER 40W power adapter (5-10 W typical consumption)
GAMING FEATURES NVIDIA GeForce NOW™ game streaming service
NVIDIA Share
INCLUDED APPS Netflix
Google Play Store
YouTube
Google Play Movies & TV
Google Play Music
Photos & Videos
PLEX

As you can see above it certainly does not lack in anyway compared to a Openelec device. There are plenty of ports located on the side to connect with including a Micros Sd slot for memory expansion should you require it. ( This should not be detrimental to the Shield now as you can get Micro SD cards up to 200gb now).

nvidia shieldpic4

Setup

Setup is effectively plug and play. Once plugged in and running it will guide you through certain options including Google Play account, WIFI connections. Once that is done you are into the home screen. As you would be in any Android device.

Home Screen

The Home Screen is incredibly easy to navigate. You have 4 rows of quite big tiles. The top row is essentially Recommended tiles for you based on what you have been watching,listening or playing.

Leanback Launcher_20151104_194937

On the 2nd row incorporates the Shield Hub. Shield Games, Geforce Now, and Netflix.

On the 3rd row you have your Apps. Anything you install will appear hear. They will move along dependent on how often you use them.

On the 4th and final row, You have the Settings tile, Network settings, Controller settings, and finally the Power tile.

Leanback Launcher_20151104_194816

Below are a couple of screen shots for you to get the feel of what some of these Apps look like.

Google Play

Google Play Store_20151104_211121

Google Music

Google Play Music_20151104_211106

GeForce Now

SHIELD Hub_20151104_211028

Youtube

YouTube_20151104_211217

Gaming

Now I am no gamer however the graphics on the Nvidia Shied are very very good, especially when you consider these are being streamed.

Geforce Now is where you can get 50 mainstream PC games streamed from there servers. There is a 3 month trial after which you can carry on subscription for a minimal £7.49 a month.

Next-Generation Android Games on NVIDIA SHIELD _ SHIELD - Google Chrome 05_11_2015 19_13_07

There are also games available from Shield Games. These are available from Google Play with some free titles available along with paid titles.

Next-Generation Android Games on NVIDIA SHIELD _ SHIELD - Google Chrome 05_11_2015 19_11_20

Below are a couple of screen shots of Batman Arkham Origins and Dirt3.

SHIELD Hub_20151105_194827 SHIELD Hub_20151105_194837 SHIELD Hub_20151105_195111 SHIELD Hub_20151105_195238

Impressed? I was.

Kodi

Now we get to the bit where we should all be interested Kodi.

Kodi does not come pre-installed and at the time of setting the Shield up you could not get it through the Play Store you had to download Apk and install manually. However at the time of writing you are now able to install via the Play Store.

Once installed its extremely easy select the Kodi tile and off you go. Just as you would on your Smart Phone or Android device.

Leanback Launcher_20151104_194816

This will then take you into the initial setup, Keyboard etc. You are then free to install any add-ons you require. The Kodi version is Isengard 15.2 which runs smoothly, I have not found any issues when playing video or streaming TV. Add-ons and Repositories are installed exactly the same way, everything works in the same way as any other device.

It is buttery smooth when scrolling through the menu, menus load instantly, no lag. You can install new skins or builds as you like. Instead of me tapping away how about some more screen shots.

Kodi_20151104_210407Kodi_20151104_210059Kodi_20151104_210035Kodi_20151105_195637Kodi_20151104_210122

The only downside for on the Kodi front is the ability to type using the Nvidia Shield controller, It’s a pain in the proverbial. You need a Bluetooth keyboard for this or a combined air-mouse/keyboard.

Summary

The Nvidia Shield is an elegant, powerful machine that can and will cover any and all your Home Entertainment needs. It is reasonably priced, easy to use, looks good and best of all runs Kodi smoothly. There are some cool features as well Voice search, which works just like Google Now, ask it any question, even not related to content on the Shield.

So does the Nvidia Shield an Android based box get anywhere near a HTPC? My opinion is it certainly does with the added benefit of having a multitude of other functionality that will meet the modern Home Entertainment needs.

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Comment Here

13 Comments

  1. Fantastic review, looks absolutely brilliant. Basically has everything you want or need in an entertainment device. I have to look into getting one of these.
    Thanks for the great review,
    Regards,
    Aleighty.

  2. Hmmmm very tempting. I’m not a gamer so would be purely for kodi. I know Android devices struggle with Dolby and DTS pass-through on kodi (limitations caused by Android OS I believe). Anyone know how the shield handles this please?
    Excellent review by the way

    1. I have watched numerous source material, both TV shows and Movies with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, you have to have a good look for the links , but more are appearing daily, and the NVidia Shield TV Pro I use plays it flawlessly. I use a very good DTS Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound base, with a Samsung UE48JS8500T 4K TV, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 sound links play great with the Shield and no audio sync problems at all either.

  3. I have been using the NVidia Shield TV Pro , for just under a month now . Although my device has been flawless, I contacted NVidia with my concerns about how I had heard approximately 1% of the Pro versions of the NVidia Shield TV had a faulty hard drive. I requested a game code , to thoroughly test my devices hard drive, I also mentioned that ibhad been a loyal customer of NVidia , and used GeForce graphics cards in all my PC builds, both for gaming and just AV use for over 16 years. Spending thousands of pounds on your products. I was given a resounding “no”. A little shocked as I said, I’m a loyal customer of over 16 years, I have built numerous gaming PC’s and even one with two 970’s in SLI , so definitely a good few thousand pounds on NVidia products. Also I have had a few laptops all with dedicated Geforce graphics cards in them. So I thought a good will gesture of a game code for a potentially faulty product, purely to test it fully , was very little to ask for. As my NVidia Shield TV Pro, was purely for streaming TV shows and Movies, as I have better NVidia based products to play games on , and I felt streaming TV and Movies might not test the hard drive fully. I was just really surprised at NVidia’s somewhat Scrooge like response after over 16 years of loyal custom.

    1. Thing is mate, until you have a faulty unit, they don’t have to do anything for you and I also imagine they get a fair few e-mails of the like.

      Why buy a pro machine if you weren’t intending to fill up the HD with games?

    2. Hey John,

      Thanks for the support over the years, that’s something we certainly appreciate! 🙂 In regards to your issue, I just wanted to let you know that there are no EU SHIELD Android TV’s that have the issue you’re describing, this is something that’s affecting a small amount of units in other regions. Also, a game code wouldn’t be required to test the issue, you’d see it when scrolling on the home screen when installing apps. 🙂

      Luke.

  4. @John Oliver

    I had a faulty HDD on mine. You don’t need to test a game on th product – the issue presents with the firmware push they made that actively finds them and bricks your box.

    The second indicator is pixelated recommended items on the main Android TV interface. It should only occur once not every boot.

    Nvidia swap it out but the process of bricking it to find it just stinks… especially for international clients like me. Painful experience.

    @Author – I use Plex with Kodi because I love th Voice Search feature instead of typing. Voice Search may be part of Kodi as well so no need to type to search 🙂

  5. Nice review mate.
    I’m actually getting the kids one of these for Christmas. Partly for them and partly for me to have Kodi play through this on my main TV.
    Would you definitely recommend I need a Bluetooth wireless keyboard like a “Rii i8” ?

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