For those in the market for a 4K streaming box with some pragmatic gaming capabilities, Nvidia may now have released just the product for you. The Shield Pro, an early adopter of Android TV, packs 500GB of internal storage, 3GB of RAM and Nvidia’s Tegra X1 mobile superchip into a device described by The Verge as twice as powerful as an Xbox 360 while using only half the power input.
Though not nearly as affordable as Google’s $79 Nexus player, the $199 Nvidia Shield and its more spacious counterpart, the Shield Pro, bring 4K video streaming to an Android-powered set-top box for the first time in the United States. While both Sharp and Sony currently offer 4K television sets that sport the platform, Nvidia Shield marks Android TV’s 4K debut on a device separate from the TV itself.
Aside from its more linear entertainment capabilities, both of these Nvidia Shield models feature GRID support, which enables various PC games, such as the Batman: Arkham series and Ultra Street Fighter IV, to be streamed from the cloud without a fancy gaming computer. At the same time, the device provides access to the Google Play marketplace, paving the way for games like Borderlands and Half-Life 2 to run natively on the hardware.
All in all, the Nvidia Shield offers one of the cheaper ways to stream 4K content from services like Netflix and YouTube. And, in an attempt to sweeten the deal, Nvidia is temporarily offering a $30 Google Play credit, a 3-month subscription to Google Play Music, and a voucher for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel as a limited-time bonus to anyone who purchases the Nvidia Shield Pro. The Shield and Shield Pro are available now on Nvidia’s website, at Best Buy, and on Amazon for the MSRP of $199 and $299, respectively.