There are plenty of streaming set-top bins on the market: The Apple TV, the Roku, the Amazon Fireplace TV…and certain, they every have their benefits. However in order for you the set high field that does the absolute most, that may deal with something you throw at it and depart some room for tweaking, it’s the NVIDIA SHIELD with Android TV.
Let me let you know why.
All the Content material, All the Time
Lately, there’s been a bunch of hullabaloo about YouTube not being on the Fireplace TV, Amazon not being on the Chromecast, and all that jazz. The firms are beginning to work it out, however who is aware of what’s finally going to occur.
Regardless of being an Android TV field, SHIELD is totally unaffected by this—in contrast to the Chromecast, it has had Amazon Prime Video for a very long time.
And you understand what sits proper beside it? YouTube. Plus an absolute slew of different content material: Sling, Netflix, HBO Now, Twitch, Showtime, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, Hulu…and so many others.
In fact, I understand that this form of selection isn’t unique to SHIELD—Roku and Apple TV even have entry to primarily the identical apps. (Although it took Apple TV an awfully very long time to get Amazon Prime Video.) Nevertheless it’s a great start line. SHIELD begins to actually shine, nevertheless, in terms of extra energy person apps, like…
Simple Entry to Kodi, and a Constructed-in Plex Server
Kodi and Plex are the final media platforms in case you have numerous domestically saved motion pictures, reveals, and music. I’ve seen extra folks recommending the Fireplace TV or Fireplace TV stick as the best choice as a result of it may be “jailbroken” to put in Kodi. However Kodi is on the market for SHIELD proper from the Play Retailer. No rooting or modification is important—you merely set up it alongside your whole different purposes after which set it up nevertheless you want. Android TV is the solely platform on the market to supply Kodi with such ease.
SHIELD additionally goes a step additional with Plex. Not simply by making it straightforward to put in (which is fairly frequent on most platforms at this level), however by additionally providing the Plex server as properly. That’s proper: in case you don’t have a devoted dwelling server together with your motion pictures on it, you possibly can arrange a Plex server in your SHIELD fairly simply. Once more, it’s the solely set high field on the market with this selection.
Extra Energy than You Can Shake a Stick At
In relation to uncooked energy in set high bins, most of them simply don’t have it. And you understand what, that’s okay for the most elementary of makes use of, however in terms of taking part in larger bitrate movies (like your Blu-ray rips), taking part in video games (see under), and serving up media (see above), then having the guts to do the work is a necessity. Fortuitously, SHIELD is arms down the strongest field you possibly can throw cash at. Its Tegra X1 processor is lightning quick, and 3GB of RAM is greater than any competing field. The 256-core GPU additionally makes straightforward work of pushing 4K content material, which is a should in case you’re in search of a future-proof field.
Whereas the customary SHIELD gives 16GB of inner storage with the possibility of straightforward growth, there’s additionally a Professional model that packs a whopping 500GB arduous drive. So, not solely do you get the greatest specs on the marketplace for a set high field, but in addition a completely insane quantity of storage. It is a will need to have in case you plan on utilizing SHIELD as a Plex server….or simply wish to set up all the things the Play Retailer has to supply.
It’s a Gaming System, Too
Look, NVIDIA is a gaming firm, so in fact the SHIELD goes to have gaming functionality. However we’re not speaking simply informal gaming capabilities like different set-top bins: we’re speaking full-on console-quality video games right here. SHIELD has quite a few unique ports obtainable, together with a few of the greatest video games to ever exist, like Steel Gear Stable three: Snake Eater, Tomb Raider, Borderlands 2, Portal, Half-Life 2…and that’s simply to call a couple of.
And in case you’re a PC gamer—even an informal one—you possibly can stream your video games out of your PC to the TV utilizing NVIDIA GameStream. So as an alternative of sitting at a desk for hours, you possibly can simply sit in entrance a giant ol’ TV on a pleasant comfortable sofa. That’s cool.
However that’s not all: SHIELD additionally has entry to GeForce Now, NVIDIA’s on-line recreation streaming service. This one will set you again a eight bucks a month, however they’re continually including new video games to make it price your greenback greenback payments. And in my expertise, the streaming high quality is implausible. It’s undoubtedly an effective way to get entry to some video games that possibly you wish to play however don’t really feel like shopping for.
Google Assistant on Faucet
Lastly, in case you’re in on the Google ecosystem, you’re in all probability already conversant in Google Assistant. Effectively, in case you’ve ever wished Assistant in your TV, SHIELD is the solely field you are able to do that with (for the time being not less than). It’s the first and solely Android TV field to have entry to Assistant, primarily turning your TV into an enormous smarthome management hub. In fact, you are able to do all the different cool issues Assistant in your telephone can do, too: set appointments and reminders, ask it questions, inform it to search out motion pictures/movies, and the like.
All this energy, in fact, comes at a value. At a beginning value of $199 ($299 for the Professional mannequin), SHIELD is the costliest field on the market. I gained’t lie and say there aren’t higher bang-for-your-buck bins on the market, like the Roku Extremely. However, for all the extras it gives, SHIELD is totally price the asking value. It’s the strongest, customizable system you’ll discover on this aspect of a custom-built (and far pricier) dwelling theater PC.