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.
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.
The packaging is big, a big white box which is incredibly deep with the Nvidia Shield positioned centrally on the front of the box.
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.
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.
|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
Two USB 3.0 (Type A)
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
Google Play Store
Google Play Movies & TV
Google Play Music
Photos & Videos
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).
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.
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.
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.
Below are a couple of screen shots for you to get the feel of what some of these Apps look like.
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.
There are also games available from Shield Games. These are available from Google Play with some free titles available along with paid titles.
Below are a couple of screen shots of Batman Arkham Origins and Dirt3.
Impressed? I was.
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.
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.
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.
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.