Android TV is my favorite media streaming platform on the big screen far and wide, but it’s a shame that so little good hardware is out there. Today, Nvidia launches the 2019 version of its iconic Shield TV, but a radical departure from what we’ve seen before is the new base design. This is what you need to know about it.
The new Nvidia Shield TV (2019) is not designed to hit the target market exactly the same as the previous models. Instead, it is designed to appeal to the average user who simply wants the market’s best streaming box. The new Shield aims to achieve this by using a much more lightweight, tube-shaped model, so let’s get started.
Shield TV’s redesigned form factor now ensures that it practically suits everywhere. Where the old design requires you to place the Shield in your entertainment center on a shelf, you can simply plug in and overlook the new model. Nevertheless, it’s not a typical “dongle,” so it can be attached to any HDMI cable — one is not included in the kit— and it won’t crowd your TV back.
Nevertheless, the Shield TV (2019) still packs most of the necessary ports, given the smaller size. There is still HDMI, as stated, and there is also a power plug. Notably, the power plug now uses a more common standard, which means it is cheap to replace cables. Often, Ethernet sticks around.
Full size USB ports are gone, but with a microSD card slot, expandable storage is possible. That’s a good thing because this new Shield TV is slicing the internal storage at 8 GB in half. Nonetheless, Nvidia claims it should be enough for the target audience, as they will usually only stream apps. I’d prefer to keep 16 GB, but it’s not by any means the end of the world.
The Shield TV (2019) has more power internally than older Shield models. A Tegra X1 + processor coupled with 2 GB of RAM is available. Apparently the processor is 25 times more powerful and makes the latest AI upscaling of Nvidia. Using better upscaling, this feature brings content from 720p to 4 K than you would find on a traditional TV or streaming box. We used the latest Shield TV for a bit and the quality is very good when the feature is working.
In addition to the upscaling of the AI, Nvidia is providing the 2019 version with a highly requested feature of the previous Shield TV models. Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio are supported by the new Shield TV. Nvidia also promises to be the only major streaming box that supports both apps on Netflix, Prime Video, Vudu, Movies Anywhere, and Disney+ when it releases next month.
The updated remote control is another major highlight of the new Shield TV (2019). The remote is still Bluetooth, but it does fix some of the previous design’s quirks. With the addition of proper buttons for volume controls, play / pause, power, and even fast forward and rewind, it’s thicker and a little harder to lose now. A dedicated Netflix button is also available and all buttons are backlit. Nvidia says the battery life on the 2 AAA batteries will last roughly six months.
Adding this new remote to the good, the Shield TV has a button above the Ethernet port that triggers a remote locator function when it is pressed. You can also personalize the settings button at the top of the remote in the software of the Shield.
As you would suspect, with this new lineup, Nvidia is sticking with Google’s Android TV platform. The new Shields come pre-installed with Android Pie, and you’ll get Google Assistant to handle smart home devices, search for content, and more.
Wrapping things up, users can still perform on the standard Shield TV (2019). There is no controller included with the unit, but it is possible to purchase the previous Shield TV controller separately or you can use almost any Bluetooth controller or PlayStation 4 or Xbox One controllers.
Beginning at $149, the standard Shield TV (2019) is available today at Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart and many other retailers. As you would expect, it ships on Pie-based Android TV.