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NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV (2017) is My Favorite Announcement From CES 2017

CES has always had many goodies announced for fans of technology in general, but given that I am mostly interested in the Android-focused announcements, the show hasn’t been all that stellar for the past few years. While we do see a few phones announced here and there, as well as plenty of virtual reality stuff, CES isn’t quite what it once was the years we first started attending.

In 2017, we saw a lot of the same, with US availability announcements for phones like the Mate 9 from Huawei, two new Chromebooks from Samsung and Google, plus a gang of other announcements that includes new Android Wear devices from an assortment of brands.

With the following post, I intend on sharing my favorite announcement from this year’s CES and going over the product in full detail. 


As you may have figured from the title of this post, NVIDIA’s new SHIELD Android TV console is my favorite announcement from CES 2017. In the weeks and days leading up to the show, we discussed publicly our desire for a new Android TV console from NVIDIA, given that both Kellen and I use a SHIELD in our homes on a daily basis. Not only does it offer Google’s Android TV operating system for access to games and apps like Netflix and YouTube, but for me, it offers another library of games for me to play thanks to GeForce NOW. Seriously, we love SHIELD and the fact that the rumors were true and NVIDIA announced a new one had us both pretty excited during NVIDIA’s keynote event.

While the initial feedback I’ve seen on SHIELD (2017) is mixed, allow me to clear up any confusion regarding what NVIDIA is bringing to the table in the new year.

For starters, the new SHIELD is smaller, and also feels quite a bit different from the OG model. While the original SHIELD is bit larger and metallic in appearance (it’s mainly heavy plastic), the new SHIELD is extremely lightweight, plastic, and more compact. This move should help save you some space on your TV stand or wherever else you intend on placing it. Not only is the console itself smaller, but the updated SHIELD Controller is also smaller, about 20% in total, according to one of NVIDIA’s reps that I spoke with.

On top of the SHIELD Controller’s new design, having played a bit of Titanfall 2 and messing around with the new SHIELD’s UI, I can confirm that it feels much better as a gaming controller than the original SHIELD Controller. The grip on the updated controller feels much more ergonomic, hopefully leading to more hours of gaming without getting tired hands. For those who think the Controller’s design is pretty funky looking, don’t worry, I agree with you, but it feels great in-hand.

Something also worth noting, while the SHIELD Controller is still charged via microUSB, the SHIELD Remote is no longer charged the same way. Instead of charging the remote via microUSB, it has a replaceable battery. While no one would label that as entirely awesome, NVIDIA claims that a fresh battery in the SHIELD Remote can last up to a year of usage. But still, an old school battery? Odd move from NVIDIA.

Topping off the Controller and Remote’s new specs are IR blasters for usage with all of your other TV and media hardware. This is a feature that was lacking in the previous version of the Controller and Remote, so it’s a praised addition this year.

Specs and Performance


Back to the console’s innards, a few minor changes have been made, including one that left me a little disappointed in NVIDIA’s decision making, as well as one that may leave potential buyers disappointed. Inside, buyers will find the same Tegra X1 chip that is in the original, as well as 3GB RAM, but in NVIDIA’s testing, the set-top box will still outperform its competition quite easily (3x the performance). Is it an awesome move to present the same processor in this new hardware as the company did in the original? Not really, no, but NVIDIA doesn’t exactly have a new chip to toss in there. If NVIDIA did have updated silicon to slap inside of updated SHIELD hardware, they likely would have, but we may have also seen an increase in price. It’s sort of a take and give situation. With that said, though, performance should not be an issue when you go to stream your 1080p video games at 60fps. Everything should be smooth and sexy, at least from what we experienced during our time with the product demo. For a full list of specifications for the 16GB model and PRO model, check here.

The storage is where NVIDIA changes things up from the original, deciding to strip the base 16GB model of a SD card slot, something that I don’t agree with. In what will likely be labeled as a way to keep the sizing down, only the PRO model of SHIELD (500GB) will come with a SD card slot, but that seems very unhelpful to those who possibly can’t afford the PRO. If users can only obtain a 16GB model, a SD card would have been helpful, but NVIDIA also clarifies that the use of a USB 3.0 storage device is still an option in case expandable storage is necessary for the user.

The updated SHIELD will launch with Android 7.0 “Nougat,” which also includes a sweet new app switching UI. For current SHIELD owners, don’t worry, NVIDIA made it quite clear that most of the new features that were announced will also hit older consoles in the future. To be clear, NVIDIA will not be leaving you behind.

Google Assistant and SPOT


Another major change for the new SHIELD TV is future access to Google Assistant, the first time Google’s digital assistant will be brought to your living room’s television. With Assistant built-in, users can speak to either their SHIELD Remote or SHIELD Controller very naturally, asking for TV shows or movies to be found, accessing weather, or seeing photos from a previous trip you have taken.

Thanks to the controller and remote having the ability to always listen, you won’t need to specifically press any buttons for Assistant to be prompted. You will simply speak the “Ok Google” hot word. Not only that, but even a feature not yet available for Google Home was showcased, which is the ability to have a natural conversation with Assistant. Instead of constantly speaking the hotword, you simply state any followup remarks/questions after Assistant delivers the initial results. For example, if you ask about new movies, you can followup with “only new ones,” or “only comedy.” No more “Ok Google” for each inquiry.

For those worried about privacy surrounding the microphones always listening, that feature can be disabled from within the Settings menu, meaning the remote or controller aren’t always listening for you to speak the hot word.

Sadly, Assistant and the aforementioned features won’t be available at launch of the new SHIELD, since Google has not yet made it public for Android TV. During our demo, we only used a beta build of the software. We don’t know when the feature will come, but it should be awesome.

To go along with the new SHIELD and all of this Google Assistant functionality, NVIDIA announced the NVIDIA SPOT. With these little mic+speaker balls that plug directly into your wall’s power outlet, you can access Google Assistant from any room they are placed, with SHIELD TV handling the computing workload.

Thanks to SmartThings integration via yet-to-be-launched dongle, SHIELD becomes a hub for all of your home’s smart stuff. For example, if you have Hue lights throughout the house, plus a few SPOTs, users can say, “Ok Google, turn off the bedroom lights,” with the action then going from your bedroom’s SPOT to your SHIELD, then dispatched to the room’s Hue lightbulbs via WiFi. While the process may sound complex, it’s relatively easy to setup and manage.

In addition, should you have more SPOTs in the house, they become smarter with the ability to triangulate a user’s position. If the SHIELD can pinpoint where you are, it can become more aware, allowing you to speak less of a command. As an example, instead of asking for the Hue lights to be turned off in a particular room, SHIELD will recognize where you are, thanks to the triangulated position, then turn off the lights in just the room you are currently in. SPOT will also utilize the volume of your voice to recognize where in the house you are. So, instead of, “turn off bedroom lights,” it’s just, “turn off the lights.” Pretty sweet, right?

Pricing


The 16GB base model of SHIELD is priced at $199, but as a bonus, the SHIELD Remote is no longer an accessory and will be thrown in with the purchase of SHIELD TV. In the box, you will get SHIELD, a SHIELD Controller, plus a SHIELD Remote. The remote used to be a $50 add-on, so that’s a major bonus. For the PRO, the price is $299. It also comes with the same SHIELD Controller and SHIELD Remote, but also has the 500GB of built-in storage and SD slot. Essentially, it can be run as your ultimate gaming console and media server.

Unlike companies that announce products and then hold off on launch, the new SHIELD TV is available for pre-order right now at a number of retailers with launch set for January 16. You can find it at Amazon, Newegg, and on NVIDIA’s website. The SPOT, however, is not yet ready for purchase and will be made available later this year for $50. Does that suck? Absolutely, but hey, it’s coming.

If you have any questions regarding SHIELD, the controller, or anything else, I can do my best to answer them for you in the comments below. Until then, there you have it, my favorite product announcement from CES 2017.

  • DarkBlueSky

    If you look at the Amazon Product Page for the new version of this. You will see the following line. This is on actual Amazon Page so it is the best confirmation that we will have Amazon Video in 4k HDR.
    Best for Amazon Prime – Watch Amazon Video in 4K HDR and get access to original shows like The Grand Tour, The Man in the High Castle, and much more.

  • Michael Habel

    It was already a bonehead move to strip the 16Gb of its IR Receiver, but to also take the SD Card Slot as well?! Why would I buy the ’17 Model when I could probably pick up a neused One for a few bucks less, and keep both the IR Receiver, and the SD Slot?

    The only update(s) to this Shield TV Slim. Are the Gamepad, which basically striped away the defunct Touchpad… Well damn! So much for hoping they’d ever bring that back! And, the Remote with its non-rechargable Battery. Which now both have revamped Mics for Google’s Assistant, and the IR Blasters that probably No-one will ever use. At least not those with a decent Logitech Harmony Remote anyhow.

    TBH I was kinda worried about picking up a neused Shield TV Pro, earlier this Month. Knowing that the new One was Days away from it debut. As it turns out I had nothing much to fear at all.

    BTW nVIDA do have a newer SoC the Tegra P1 (Pascal Cores), which they could have simply dropped in the new Shield TV. I suspect the problem here though is Two-fold.

    One, they probably aren’t making enough of em to feed the need.
    Two, And the more likely story is they probably have an exclusivity contract with Nintendo for its Switch System. Which is why they just continued on using the X1, which is still decent enough. I suspect not upping the RAM which was something they could have at least done. Was to keep the overall codebase stable. And to prevent people from ending up bricking their Systems.

  • Yazz96HD

    all I am saying its there is too many ads I can’t stand getting redirected to Apps store or play store I will use ad blocker

  • PewPewYoureDead

    The article mentions using it as a media server. Does this mean I can put my media collection on a harddrive, put Plex on it and then stream from it without using my PC?

    • Frank King

      Yes, but since Plex metadata just won’t go on external storage; (adopted or not) it will easily clog the 16gb model on-board storage.

      IMHO, the use of the Shield TV as a Plex media server is viable only with the Pro version.

      • PewPewYoureDead

        Oh, damn. That’s good to know. Thanks!

        • Frank King

          What’s more, since the transcoding operation of a large 1080p video requires at least 8-15gb of free internal (on-board or adopted) storage, adopting an external drive is mandatory (with the 16gb model).

          Might as well just go for the Pro model and forget about it.

          .. On the other hand, Flash storage will always be more reliable than an OG mechanical drive..

          Decisions decisions…

      • Prizm

        What the hell is Plex putting in the metadata folders? You’ll have some text, a poster, and a couple background images for movies, and maybe thumbnails for TV episodes. You’d be lucky to use 1GB for your entire library, let alone filling up 16GB worth.

  • AppleBerrySandwich

    Preordered! Excited!!!

  • BrenUK

    Will the Nvidia Spot work with the original Shield TV, so that we can use that for always listening functionality rather than having to buy a new remote or controller?

    • Frank King

      Yes; that’s what it’s for.

      • BrenUK

        Well that’s not primarily what it’s for is it? Primarily it’s for extending the listening functionality to another room. I was asking if it would work as a stand alone always listening mic on its own, on original Shield consoles – or if the set up means that you always have to have the new controller or remote as a primary listening device for it to work.

  • Spencer Walker

    Confused is geforce now still 8 bucks a month on shield tv heard mixed things

    • Frank King

      Yep; it’s not the same service as the PC/Mac one.

  • Bradley Melnyk

    Love my shield, needed an excuse to buy another for my bedroom, can’t wait for this little gem to arrive!!

  • Paul Hansen

    I said the same thing in the mate 9 giveaway. I loved the new shield announcement with spot.

  • sonicyoof

    For the love of god, does it do proper rate switching with streaming video (switch to 24p)? There’s like zero devices that gets this and everything else right…

  • Marc Corvo

    Anybody know if the spot has an aux out connection like chromecast audio or echo dot. I would love to hook that up to my high end “dumb” audio system.

  • Karl Johnson

    The spot seems too expensive for what is gained. Another $150 to add just bedrooms. Then would like my office. The concept is fantastic but not sure worth it

  • seattle tech

    You know CES is pretty weak when this is the favorite from CES. Some minor design changes but no spec bump, which was not needed.

  • Adam Barrett

    So… is this really a new NVIDIA Shield? Doesn’t sound like it. Sounds like a lot of hype on an OS update.

    • vidvox

      It’s just as “new” as the PS4 Slim with some great updates as well.

  • MJ

    I miss my old NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV (ended up selling it) so looking forward to this “new” version. The Google Assistant integration should be interesting. I still can’t understand why zero internal hardware upgrades. OK, no new chipset but NVIDIA couldn’t up the RAM to 4 GB (my phone has that I don’t even play games on it) or give us more than 16GB of internal storage on the non -pro version? I guess including the remote does justify the pricing but still…

  • Russ

    I read elsewhere that there’s also going to be a dongle that enables the Shield TV to serve as a Smart Things hub. This would make this the first device to successfully marry streaming TV, Chromecast, gaming, and home automation, plus Google Assistant.

    I was waiting for Google Home to come to Canada, but a 16Gb Shield TV and one Spot will do more and cost less than two Google Homes and a Chromecast. That’s compelling.

    • Duder12

      No dongles necessary

      • Russ

        Dongles are necessary if you want ZigBee and Z-Wave. It’s also possible that you’ll have to buy the dongle to enable Smart Things functionality, but I could see that going either way.

  • Sometimes_floss

    Its weird to me you didn’t mention the best part……Amazon Video

    • Jeremy Turnley

      Did I miss that? Is it coming to the Shield natively with 4k?

      • Sometimes_floss

        Oh big time

    • Miguel

      Already pre-order mine (16gb), the additions make it even more worth it than before, bought a 128gb 3.0 flash drive to handle the rest.

    • Dylan

      This is the best part of the announcement and it keeps getting skipped over in articles about NVIDIA at CES. I especially want confirmation that the Amazon Video app will come as part of the software update for the old SHIELD model. Have you seen anything about that anywhere? That missing app has been the only thing I don’t like about the SHIELD and why I’ve hesitated to recommend it to people want a streaming device and use Amazon Prime.

      • Jeremy Turnley

        It’s on the screen at the end of the announcement video, I think that is the only real confirmation at this point. We’ll know on or around the 16th if rumors are true, since that is supposedly both the new one’s ship date and the old one’s software update day.

      • goldcd

        It’s handy it’s there out of the box, but you can still sideload Amazon on the original shield tv.

        • Duder12

          It’s not 4k when sideload though. This is

        • Dylan

          I didn’t have any luck sideloading, though I only tried it once. I got the app open but it would never let me log in and the interface was messed up even on the login screen. Any recommendations on that in case the update doesn’t include the Amazon Video app?

        • Nathan Grebowiec

          The sideloading is super janky. It isn’t a true Android TV application at all. This option is 100% better.

    • Patriciashamilton

      Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj121d:
      On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
      !mj121d:
      ➽➽
      ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash121TopShopGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!mj121d:….,…….

    • Raiders12

      I think Steam client ability (if its full function) is actually the best, because it can make game streaming GPU agnostic, as opposed to exclusively Nvidia GPU and Gamestream. Fingers crossed its full Steam client capable!!

      • TonyHoyleUK

        The problem is the announcement is ambiguous enough that it could just be another link to gamestream, which limits it to certain nvidia GPUs only.

        Until people have one in their hands we won’t know.

    • michael arazan

      I’d a thought finally allowing Google Play and their Games would be the big up’s for it. They wouldn’t allow it before, and wanted a walled in system like amazon.

  • json405

    I’ve read (skimmed maybe) a press release somewhere similar to this one but I still don’t understand the difference between the old Shield TV Pro vs this one besides the new version of the controller? Wouldn’t the Shield TV Pro 1 get updated to the Nougat which would make it identical to the Shield TV Pro 2?

    • Russ

      From what I’ve read, you are correct. Once the update hits, you’ll only need the new remote and controller to get all of the benefits on the original Shield TV Pro.

    • Jeremy Turnley

      That’s correct. The only difference between the two hardware-wise is that the new one drops the microsd slot. The old one will get every software update that the new ones get, on the same day. So all you need to do to update to the new one is get the new controller and remote, if you even want to bother.

      • Michael Habel

        The 16Gb also ditched the IR Receiver (For Harmony IR Remotes).

    • TheDrunkenClam

      Same gpu and everything?
      This seems kind of disappointing.

      • Tyler Durden

        But it’s still powerful. This also comes with the controller AND the remote this time.

    • Frank King

      Yes it will.

  • Joey Riz

    This announcement just made me happy I got last year’s 16gb b
    Model that’s included the micro SD slot and the IR receiver.

    The new 16gb is smaller yes but last year’s boxes are getting the same software including google assistant.

    Really side-grade if not a downgrade. Including the small remote is nice but it doesn’t have the 3.5 headphone jack on it…Need to buy that version separately anyway…

    • Jeremy Turnley

      The new peripherals are supposed to be really nice though. The new remote is supposed to last a LOT longer between charges, and it has a IR blaster so potentially it is the only remote you need. And the new controller looks a lot less chunky than the old one; I don’t mind the old one, but it’s not as comfortable as my Xbox One S controller I use through bluetooth. Hopefully they made the new controllers buttons a little less spongy as well.

      • Joey Riz

        Ya the new controllers with the always listening are cool and yes the tiny remote lasts forever but it’s because it is missing the best feature… The headphone jack. That’s why I say sidegrade cause the controllers are cool but I don’t think it’s all together better.

        If you did not buy last year’s box I would still get the 16gb and buy a 128gb 3.0 USB stick and turn on adoptable storage

        • Jeremy Turnley

          Oh, it’s not better at all – it’s identical in hardware except for the loss of the SD slot. So unless you really needed it to be smaller – and the first one was pretty small, mine sits on top of my OG xbox one and doesn’t even block any fans – the new one is technically a downgrade. It’s literally just the peripherals that are improved.

          • Michael Habel

            And, the best part?! There is nothing to stop anyone from just picking up the new Remote, and Gamepad…

        • Michael Habel

          That’s why I call it the Shield TV Slim, and NOT the Shield TV2

        • Hristo Hristov

          I a hear constant clicking sounds if I listen to anything with headphones connected to the game controller. It is annoying.

  • Godzilla

    Looks cool and everything but I already have two fire TVs, a PS4, and chromecasts on every TV I own. I just dont need this. That and does anyone else feel like google play movies dont stream at the same quality as amazon or especially Vudu? On an ethernet connection via PS4 i was seeing bad streaming.

    • I’m in the same boat. This looks really great, and I want one, but it’s tough to justify when I have a vizio smart tv, chromecast, ps4, ps3, wii u, and xbox one. I mostly use the xbox one for streaming now and it works well.

  • Captain_Doug

    Anybody know if the 500GB model is a SSD or HDD? For that price I’d hope SSD.

    • Joey Riz

      Same HDD as the OG 500gb model I’m sure

      • Captain_Doug

        Why on earth would someone pay an extra $100 for that?

        • Godzilla

          I wouldnt

        • Joey Riz

          Well I got the 16gb model last year for that reason…I much rather stick an SD card in there for up the storage over a HDD….

          • Miguel

            Just buy a 128gb 3.0 flash drive, much faster than an SD Card.

        • sagisarius

          Makes using it as a DVR a little easier I hear.

          • Jeremy Turnley

            Not really, it has a pair of USB3 ports, so throwing on an external drive is cheaper and almost as easy. For that $100 you can easily get 3TB instead of 500GB.

          • sagisarius

            I would love if it was just an upgradeable hard drive bay, like what’s on the PS3/4. But yeah, I don’t know, I have the 16gb version, that’s just what they pitch as the benefit.

          • Jeremy Turnley

            Heh, gotta love marketing speak like that. “Easier”, indeed. Considering the thing picks up SD cards and USB HDDs with basically zero effort, I can’t imagine how much easier that really could be. Worst case for it being harder is you do that “I plugged the USB plug in the wrong way” thing. 😛

        • MJ

          Ummmm More storage?

          Saying that, I will be getting the non-pro version.

          • Captain_Doug

            Everything will be slower on a hard drive. If you need more storage, you can get a 2tb external drive for $75 on amazon. Saving you $25 and ending up with 4x the storage and a faster. It makes no sense to pay more for less.

          • MJ

            I said MORE storage not FASTER storage but an HDD is certainly fast enough to play 1080p video files or use as a DVR. Some people may not want a second box cluttering their home entertainment area or don’t want the “hassle”.

            Again, I wouldn’t get the “pro” version myself.

        • alec peterson

          you can setup as plex media server natively and its going to produce faster data retrieve with onboard hdd than external storage.

    • MJ

      You know damn well for “that price” it’s not going to be a 500GB SSD.

  • Jérôme Besnard

    What really caught my eyes was the Samsung Chromebook Pro. Can’t wait for my kids to break our 3 year old Acer and replace it! 🙂

    • Jeremy Turnley

      I like it, but I cannot see spending that kind of money on a Chromebook. If the lower end version is $450, what does that make the pro? $600? $700?

      • iluvthesoftsoft

        It’ll be $550, according to chromeunboxed.

      • Jérôme Besnard

        Ponce there is an Android app that connect it to my Fujitsu scanner, that bad boy is mine.

        • Senrab Nala

          Oh app for scanner. So good. Lol

          • Jérôme Besnard

            Everything is called an app those days. Even Microsoft has an app store. What I need is a driver but there was no such thing in the Chrome OS world until Google decided to port Android app to the platform. Amen to that.