NVIDIA SHIELD: The Tegra X1 Powered Android TV Box
At the annual Game Developers Conference being held in San Francisco, NVIDIA announced the latest addition to its collection of devices, the NVIDIA SHIELD.
Powered by the Tegra X1 ARM SoC, the SHIELD is a set-top box running Android TV at its heart. But since it is a NVIDIA device, it does things beyond the simple streaming and gaming that is expected in this age.
The SHIELD can locally run and stream 4K content to a capable TV. It is compatible with existing SHIELD game controllers, and also supports voice control through them. You can also do that with a separate remote control which has a dedicated voice button.
What’s more is that NVIDIA has worked with partners to port major game titles to Android, specifically for devices powered by the X1 processor. Titles include biggies like Crysis 3, Doom 3: BFG Edition, Borderlands 2, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, The Talos Principle, Metal Gear Solid: Revengeance and Resident Evil 5 amongst others.
Apart from these local games and the ones available on the store, NVIDIA has also launched GRID, its own game streaming service. Working on a subscription based model, the service will be available in two variants: basic and premium (which will run in 1080p at 60 fps).
If all of this sounds interesting to you, the price would only make it all the more appealing. With a tag of USD 199, the SHIELD will come with a controller included and will be available in May in the US.
Here is a full spec round-up of the device:
- NVIDIA Tegra X1 Processor with 256-core Maxwell GPU
- 3GB RAM
- 4K Ultra-HD Ready with 4K playback and capture up to 60fps (VP9, H265, H264)
- Audio Features: 7.1 and 5.1 surround sound pass through over HDMI, High-resolution audio playback up to 24-bit/192kHz over HDMI and USB, High-resolution audio upsample to 24-bit/192hHz over USB
- 16GB on board storage, MicroSD slot supporting 128GB
- 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
- IR Receiver (compatible with Logitech Harmony)
It will be interesting to see how the device fares within the Android dev community. While it is too early to even comment on this aspect for this particular device, NVIDIA’s recent track record makes the future look rather promising. For starters, if we look back at the two released NVIDIA devices, the Shield gamepad and the Shield Tablet, both these devices have significant support from NVIDIA as far as dev friendliness goes. Case in point here is the availability of kernel sources for the Shield gamepad, which has helped shape the development of the device to the extent that it has its own unofficial CM12 build available for flashing. The friendliness extends on to the Shield Tablet, with NVIDIA providing official sources and instructions to build Lollipop. We hope that NVIDIA continues to maintain and improve its stance with the upcoming device too.
What do you think about the NVIDIA SHIELD? Let us know in the comments below!