NVIDIA Launches SHIELD Android TV at Google I/O
Since Android TV was announced at Google I/O 2014, there has been very little activity in the way of hardware releases for the platform. Consumers had a very small selection to choose from in the form of the Nexus Player and Razer Forge TV, or they could buy a new Sony or Phillips television with Android TV on-board. These options, however, seemed a bit tepid at best; the Nexus Player was extremely limited in nature, offering very little storage, weak internals, and low memory. The Forge was a better, more recent release by gaming company Razer, which offered specs closer to that of a modern, higher-end smartphone, and double the storage of the Nexus Player. Today at I/O 2015, a third contender entered the picture, as NVIDIA has announced that the much-anticipated SHIELD console is now available to consumers.
The SHIELD console was originally announced at the 2015 Game Developer’s Conference in March as NVIDIA’s first living room entertainment device, and it immediately turned heads due to the use of the new Tegra X1 T210 SOC. This is NVIDIA’s newest chip, featuring 64-bit ARMv8 CPU architecture in an 8-core big.LITTLE implementation (4x Cortex-A57 cores, 4x Cortex-A53 cores), and a 256-core Maxwell-based GPU from NVIDIA. It is built on a 20 nm process by TSMC, and offers 4K 60fps video capability.
NVIDIA’s newest member of the SHIELD family also features 7.1 and 5.1 surround sound and high-resolution audio playback and up-sampling at 24-bit/192 kHz, and also includes 3 GB of RAM, either 16 GB of flash storage or a 500GB hard disk drive (model depending), 2x USB 3.0 ports, microSD storage expansion, HDMI 2.0 for 4K output at 60Hz, Gigabit Ethernet port, 802.11ac WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.1. It comes with the SHIELD controller and an HDMI cable included in the box.
In terms of software features, SHIELD will include 4K content from Netflix, YouTube, Pluto TV, and UltraFlix, and you can also view your own personal 4K collection from a GoPro or camcorder. Sling TV and HBO Now are also advertised, in addition to everything else that is currently available on the Android TV platform itself. Gaming is, of course, a big priority for NVIDIA, and the SHIELD is well-represented in this area. In addition to the over 200 games already available on Android TV, 20 SHIELD-specific titles will be released on the platform within a few months of launch. NVIDIA’s GRID game-streaming service, which is capable of streaming popular titles in 1080p/60fps, is also newly available on the SHIELD. NVIDIA has set up a content portal for all things SHIELD related here.
The NVIDIA SHIELD console launches to consumers starting today, May 28th, 2015, in two flavors: SHIELD ($199) and SHIELD Pro ($299). The Pro version comes with a 500GB hard drive and a copy of ‘Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel’, which is planned for release on July 1, 2015. Accessories sold separately include a remote control with voice search capabilities and a vertical stand, available for $49.99 and $29.99 respectively. For a limited time, both versions will also include a $30 Google Play gift card, and 90-day access to Google Play Music All Access. You can order SHIELD directly from NVIDIA, Amazon, or Best Buy.
So, what do you think about the SHIELD console? Do you plan on ordering one soon? Or do you feel NVIDIA could have done a better job for the price? Let us know in the comments below!