Nvidia refreshes Shield TV with built in Google Assistant, makes a play for the smart home with Spot
The best Android TV device just got betterBy Jose Vilches
Nvidia has announced a new version of the Shield TV set top box that keeps the same powerful Tegra X1 hardware under the hood but brings along a few new tricks. For one thing the company has updated the box to Android 7.0 and improved the stock app selection by adding Amazon Video into the mix. It also added support for Google's Assistant for voice control, including hands-free commands, marking the first time the technology has been available on devices other than the Google Pixel and Google Home speaker.
The updated Shield brings the ability to play HDR content from streaming services that support it. It will be the first Android TV device to 4K HDR movies from Netflix and Amazon, according to Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, while it can also stream 4K movies from Google Play, Vudu, and YouTube.
On the gaming front, just like its predecesor the Shield TV can stream games from a local GeForce GTX-equipped PC in up to 4K HDR thanks to the Nvidia GameStream feature, or from the cloud with the updated GeForce Now service that allows gamers to stream their games catalogue from platforms like Steam, GoG, and others through Nvidia Pascal-based servers around the world.
A model with 16GB of storage will ship later this month for $199.99, and a Shield Pro model with 500GB storage will be available later for $299.99. Both now come bundled with controller and a remote.
The company also announced a new product dubbed Nvidia Spot, a plug-in ambient microphone that you can place anywhere in the house to expand the Shield's Google Assistant support. The device essentially listen to commands and then communicates over Wi-Fi with the Shield to process them. Multiple Spots can be installed for home-wide coverage to control smart home gadgets.
The Spot microphone will be priced at $49.99 when it launches sometime later this year.