Nvidia has subjected its Shield Android TV game console to a metamorphosis. Where before company emphasized the box's potence as a stand-alone game machine, at its pre-CES keynote last night, Nvidia re-introduced the Shield as "the world's most advanced streamer." To that end, Nvidia announced that an updated version of the little Android box can handle streaming 4K HDR video. The updated Shield is once again available in regular and Pro flavors.
Even if you don't have your own collection of 4K HDR content, don't fret—the Shield Android TV can stream 4K media from Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, and Amazon Video. Nvidia also underscored the device's suitability for game streaming, with support for its own services GeForce Now and Nvidia GameStream, along with the ability to serve as a Steam Link. The Shield Pro, with its 500GB internal hard drive, can also serve as a Plex Media server.
Along with its streaming capabilities, Nvidia also highlighted the Shield TV's utility as the centerpoint of a smart home. Shield can accept voice commands to control Nest home automation devices, as well as its own functions, like media playback. Nvidia integrated Google Assistant functionality into the device, too, allowing for voice-controlled searching and browsing.
To pick up voice commands, the Shield includes an updated controller with a built-in microphone. Nvidia had a further surprise on display: a device known as Spot, which appears to be a wireless microphone that can be placed in the home, not unlike Amazon's Echo Dot.
At first sight, the hardware inside the updated Shield Android TV appears to be essentially unchanged, with the Tegra X1 SoC mated to 3GB of memory. However, the new package comes with the aforementioned updated controller, as well as the media remote that used to be a $50 extra. The price is unchanged, too: $199 for the standard Shield TV package with 16GB of local storage, or $299 for the Shield Pro with 500GB and integrated Plex Media Server.