Streaming TV shows and movies has become quite the market lately, with stalwarts like Netflix and Hulu being met by upstarts like Amazon Prime TV and others. The streaming entertainment trend has put some real pressure on relatively ancient cable and satellite companies, to the point where cutting the cord is becoming easier every day.
That’s partially due to media streaming devices like Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon’s Fire Stick. Earlier this month at CES, Nvidia announced an update to its own Shield TV device, which is not only a media streamer, but also a robust gaming machine. And the upgraded model is now available for purchase.
The updated Shield TV focuses on picture quality with support for 4K HDR programming, and according to Nvidia, three times the performance of any other media streamer. The Shield TV’s library of 4K content is also expanding, with Amazon Video joining Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies, and Vudu, all of which stream UltraHD (UHD) programming. Also coming is support for YouTube’s flagship TV app, which will offer fully immersive 360-degree viewing.
Nvidia founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang talked up the Shield TV’s media streaming chops, saying: “NVIDIA’s rich heritage in visual computing and deep learning has enabled us to create this revolutionary device. Shield TV is the world’s most advanced streamer. Its brilliant 4K HDR quality, hallmark NVIDIA gaming performance, and broad access to media content will bring families hours of joy.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be Nvidia’s device if it didn’t have an additional focus on gaming, and that includes an expansion of Shield TV’s gaming support. Ubisoft’s library is featured, with titles like Watch Dogs 2, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, For Honor, and more coming to the Shield TV. Other franchises will also be supported, including The Witness, Tomb Raider, and Shadowgun Legends.
GeForce Now, the cloud GPU service used by Nvidia to enhance the Shield’s capabilities, has also been upgraded via a move to GPUs based on the Pascal architecture. New practical artificial intelligence (AI) and home intelligence have also been added to the platform.
The new Shield TV is available now, selling for $200 with a game controller and remote. The Sheild Pro will add in a headset jack, and 500GB of storage, and doesn’t yet have a release date, though it is up for pre-order for $300. To buy or pre-order, head to the Nvidia website.
Updated on 01-17-2017 by Kris Wouk: Edited to reflect that the Shield TV is now available for purchase.