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Nvidia announces the Shield, a Tegra X1 Android TV box

By Scorpus
Mar 3, 2015
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  1. nvidia shield tegra x1 android gdc gdc 2015

    At GDC 2015, Nvidia's big gaming announcement, apparently five years in the making, is the Shield. Not the tablet or the handheld that has previously carried the Shield brand, but an Android TV-powered set-top box that's powered by Nvidia's latest Tegra X1 SoC.

    Thanks to Android TV, the Shield will be able to play everything that's currently in the Google Play Store including apps and media content. Nvidia calls it the first 4K Android TV device, despite Sony launching Android TV-powered 4K TVs at CES earlier this year.

    The Shield comes with a HDMI 2.0 connection that supports 4K 60 Hz output, and you can play back HEVC/H.265 videos thanks to decoding support on the SoC side. The Tegra X1 SoC is the same eight-core, 64-bit capable SoC launched at CES 2015, complete with a 256 CUDA core Maxwell-based GPU.

    Compared to the Xbox 360, the Shield is twice as fast with a significantly reduced TDP. Thanks to all this power, the device can run high-powered titles that have been especially ported to Android to run on the Shield, including Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. Gearbox claims this title can run at 30 FPS on the Shield, though Nvidia's early demo clearly wasn't running at this framerate.

    However, the Shield can run Doom 3: BFG at 1080p and 60 FPS, as well as Crysis 3 with decent levels of fidelity. Naturally neither of these games will look as good or run as well on the Shield as they do on PC, but for a thin and low-power system it's pretty impressive.

    As expected, the Shield will also link to Nvidia's Grid cloud game streaming service, which will deliver games at 1080p and 60 FPS over the internet (so long as you have a 50 Mbps connection).

    For $199, Nvidia will sell you the Shield set-top box and a Shield controller, shipping in May. If you want the remote and stand to accompany it, you'll have to spend a bit more.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2015
  2. CaptainTom

    CaptainTom TS Booster Posts: 157   +61

    If Borderlands, Crysis, and Doom are coming to this thing then this is basically a fully fledged console.
     
  3. Scorpus

    Scorpus TechSpot Staff Topic Starter Posts: 1,827   +188

    Since I've been watching the whole stream, I'm gonna leave my opinions in here, rather than in the post itself.

    For a product that Nvidia has supposed been working on for five years, and hyped massively before the event, this is extremely underwhelming. We've seen these sorts of Android consoles before, and all of them have failed; some spectacularly, in the case of the Ouya.

    Streaming games from Grid is an interesting idea, but with 150ms latency it's not ready for public use. Not with current internet connections. So then you're left with a small selection of PC games Nvidia has bothered to port (and who knows what's coming in the future), and Android games you could play on a phone.

    Yes, at $200 it's cheaper than a console, but the experience is also inferior. I don't see the value in this, and I can't see how Android-based game platforms will take off without a lot of investing, a lot of work, and many hardware revisions.

    The hardware is the most compelling part of the Shield, but it's a pretty underwhelming announcement
     
    cmbjive and Filip B like this.
  4. lripplinger

    lripplinger TS Addict Posts: 258   +89

    Great chip in it, I just don't see the point of the box.....I doubt I would even use it for gaming. It would be used for streaming media content. But in that case, one could just get a Roku or Amazon Fire TV device.
     
  5. ETF Soldier

    ETF Soldier TS Guru Posts: 377   +81

    All the articles I've read about this don't mention PC Streaming, is it not featured on this or is that just the tablet & handheld?
     
  6. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +137

    Nvidia is just making themselves look attractive for a potential Chinese buyer (queue Ouya).
     
  7. Twonald

    Twonald TS Rookie

    well, as it runs Android tv I can see a use for it. Netflix, Plex, Hulu+. and it is supports Steam 'in house streaming' (like the upcoming Razor android tv will) it would be a fairly easy way to play PC and Android games in your living room, and far cheaper than purchasing another PC to do the same. And Android Tv does have a "wife approved" interface.
     
  8. CaptainTom

    CaptainTom TS Booster Posts: 157   +61

    If they made it so every (3rd party) AAA and indie game that came to PS4, also came to this console - this thing could become very successful. Otherwise yeah it is doomed to fail like every other android box out there.
     
  9. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,505   +498

    You could do the same with a Chromecast (But the Steam stream).

    I'm pretty sure a nuc system is far more powerful and versatile, if you are interested in steam streaming.
     
  10. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,258

    Like a cheap console clone is going to tip the balance?
    Nvidia has market cap of $12.1bn, but has $4.62 billion on hand in cash and short term investment, has its hooks into Intel for their entire range of legacy graphics, a ton of graphics and parallel computing IP, and huge ongoing contracts with the DoE, DoD, medical imaging, and scientific institutions guaranteeing high returns. Add in the fact that the company has been instituting an aggressive stock buy back over the last few years, and this sorta-console must have stratospheric implications.
     
  11. lripplinger

    lripplinger TS Addict Posts: 258   +89

    This is a valid point you make.
     
  12. Scorpus

    Scorpus TechSpot Staff Topic Starter Posts: 1,827   +188

    A Chromecast + Steam Link will do all those things at under half the price, except play games natively
     
  13. dkbroadband

    dkbroadband TS Rookie Posts: 25

    Call me ignorant, but why would people want to mess with another "console" if they already have two, three, and some even more....
     

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