A less is more approach amplified by a wonderful score and an immersive cinematic approach.
Stela Review - A Moving Work of Pure Art
If DOOM 2016 was the proof of concept, DOOM Eternal is the masterwork. A single chord or musical phrase expanded into an all-encompassing symphony of cartoon hyperviolence.
DOOM Eternal Review - id Software Delivers its Masterpiece
Ray-tracing is set to become a major element in the future videogame graphics. So we’ve decided to rank all the current traced rays out there.
RTX On - Ranking Real-Time Raytracing in Games
As Hearthstone heads into the Year of the Phoenix, it’s introducing the first new class since the game launched. The game-changing Demon Hunter.
Inside Hearthstone’s New Game Changing Demon Hunter Class
NVIDIA SHIELD TV and TV Pro Review
Review By @ 04:49pm 20/03/20

Product: NVIDIA SHIELD TV and NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro
Type: Streaming Devices
Price: $289.95 (w/ Remote) $399.95 (Pro model w/ Remote)
Availability: Now
Link: nvidia.com/en-au/shield/

With the streaming of all entertainment and gaming becoming a mainstay, one might wonder what the point is to have a dedicated device like the NVIDIA SHIELD TV -- aren’t TVs and consoles these days like super-smart with access to the World Wide Web of apps? And if you already got a 2017 SHIELD TV, is there even a need to upgrade? Well, short answer to both hypothetical questions -- “there is”.

When NVIDIA’s SHIELD TV device made its way to Australia in 2018 it arrived at the perfect time, during the dawn of the Modern Age of Peak Content. A time when streaming giant Netflix had gotten so big that it got its own dedicated button on remotes everywhere – sitting right there next to old-timey functions like ‘Volume Up’ and ‘Play’. Spoiler alert, the new and improved Shield TV remote as part of the 2019 SHIELD TV and SHIELD TV Pro features such a ‘Netflix’ button. But it’s also a massive improvement over the slim and tiny remote of the 2017 SHIELD TV.


“When NVIDIA’s SHIELD TV device made its way to Australia in 2018 it arrived at the perfect time, during the dawn of the Modern Age of Peak Content."



With the new remote, support for Dolby Vision HDR, fancy and impressive new AI-driven upscaling, Bluetooth controller support, and the ability bring your Steam library to the comfort of your couch at the press of a button, there’s a lot to love about the SHIELD TV and NVIDIA’s new designs.

Tech Talk



What makes the Shield TV immediately stand-out in 2020, as a product line, is the same thing that made it do just that a couple of years ago – a clean, fast, and reliable UI experience with excellent app support and performance. This time powered by NVIDIA’s updated Tegra X1+ processor and two models available; one with a cylindrical look that sits somewhere between an external device and a streaming stick (that can sit behind a display or cabinet), and the other the same mini device look of the original.

Here’s a breakdown of the specs for both models.

Processor: NVIDIA Tegra X1+ processor with a 256-core GPU and 2 GB RAM
Video Features: 4K, Dolby Vision HDR, AI Upscaling
Audio Support: Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital Plus among others
Storage: 8 GB (with MicroSD card expansion)
Wireless: 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Bluetooth: 5.0
Interfaces: Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 2.0
Operating System: Android 9 (Pie) with Chromecast 4K built-in


Processor: NVIDIA Tegra X1+ processor with a 256-core GPU and 3 GB RAM
Video Features: 4K, Dolby Vision HDR, AI Upscaling
Audio Support: Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital Plus among others
Storage: 16 GB (with MicroSD card expansion)
Wireless: 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Bluetooth: 5.0
Interfaces: Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 2.0. 2 x USB 3.0 ports
Operating System: Android 9 (Pie) with Chromecast 4K built-in

The differences in how each SHIELD TV looks points to the functionality or potential usage. The TV Pro has additional RAM (3GB versus 2GB), increased storage (16GB versus 8GB), and two full-sized USB 3.0 ports for external storage and peripherals. The hardware upgrade of the TV Pro’s additional RAM allows for NVIDIA Lightspeed Studios ports of games like Tomb Raider, Portal, Half-Life 2, and Resident Evil 5 to run natively without fuss. Plus, PLEX Media Server support that offers up 1080p transcoding and streaming to other devices connected to the same network. From that, the USB ports and beefed up internal storage makes sense.


“What makes the Shield TV immediately stand-out in 2020, as a product line, is the same thing that made it do just that a couple of years ago – a clean, fast, and reliable UI experience with excellent app support and performance."



When it comes to everyday streaming, with support for any video or audio challenge you can throw at a device, the SHIELD TV and SHIELD TV Pro are identical. UI navigation, background app switching, sleep and instant resume modes, the SHIELD TV retains the edge over Smart TV integrated setups and even modern consoles like the Xbox One X or PlayStation 4 Pro. Both SHIELD TV models can become gaming devices too -- thanks to NVIDIA GameStream. A platform that can beam titles from Steam, Uplay, and other services direct from PC to TV – with full 4K HDR support. And at a stable 60 frames per-second -- even over a wireless network. In terms of pure spec, the 802.11ac Wi-Fi inside the SHIELD TV doesn’t really tell the full picture as text – that comes from use.

Connecting to an external Plex Server (that was connected directly to a router) on both the TV and TV Pro, streaming 4K over is reliably quick. Same goes for NVIDIA GameStream. The SHIELD TV features a dedicated Ethernet port for those inclined, but wireless performance is worth highlighting – in our own tests it beat out both Smart TVs and consoles.

Multimedia



Netflix, Stan, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, and catch-up apps covering local outlets like ABC, SBS, Ten, Seven, and more – the Shield TV’s Android TV configuration means you not only get immediate access to the wealth of options available via the Google Play storefront – including the ability to search and handle most tasks via Google Asssistant – you also get hardware that’s optimised to get the best performance out of all the above. When it comes to Stan and Disney Plus and of course even Netflix – browsing, watching, and resuming and even getting a preview of what’s available across all your favourites via the excellent SHIELD TV home screen is ridiculously smooth.


“Browsing, watching, resuming, and even getting a preview of what’s available across all your favourites via the excellent SHIELD TV home screen is ridiculously smooth."



With the rise of 4K displays, the new SHIELD TV’s support for Dolby Vision is a wonderful and welcome addition – something we were able to test via an LG OLED, which the SHIELD TV and TV Pro automatically detecting and setting up HDR without a fuss. One area where the new SHIELD TV excels is with its AI-driven upscaling, which can turn 720p and 1080p content into the sort of video that’s almost indistinguishable from a native 4K source. Now, upscaling is something that has been around for a while and usually not much more than filling out pixels to ensure you get a full screen image. Here, NVIDIA leverages the power of machine learning and super computers to offer up an AI approach.


One that thanks to an in-built demo mode lets you seamlessly switch between Basic and AI Upscaling modes or put both on screen at once in split screen fashion to see the difference.

The results are at times incredible with smaller objects and finer detail given the sort of clarity you expect from a 4K image – something we tested across various sources. TV shows like Veep, Barry, Chernobyl, Watchmen and movies like The Terminator, Die Hard, and Outbreak. Plus, NVIDIA’s own sample videos. Of course, if there’s detail in a 4K presentation missing in a 1080p version, that stuff won’t magically in every situation but in practise the SHIELD TV’s AI upscaling is the most impressive video upscaling method we’ve seen to date.

Game Time



Without the cloud streaming of GeForce Now available in Australia, outside of a handful of Android Games the SHIELD TV’s serious gaming cred begins and ends with NVIDIA GameStream. But, it’s a truly stellar beginning and end – as GameStream essentially allows you to connect to any PC (with an NVIDIA GPU and the GeForce Experience app) on your network and then stream and send AAA or indie game content to the SHIELD. With great performance across Wireless and Wired, the SHIELD TV kind of negates the need to connect a PC direct to a 4K display – giving you the couch gaming option missing in the high-powered desktop rig space.


“With great performance across Wireless and Wired, the SHIELD TV kind of negates the need to connect a PC direct to a 4K display."



From DOOM Eternal to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey to Control, we didn’t notice any discernible difference between titles that we assume were optimised for GameStream and those we added manually. Setting up an Xbox One controller was easy too – so easy that the SHIELD TV detected it as soon as we turned it one and asked if we’d like to pair it. The answer was an immediate yes, and from there being able to bring the power of the GeForce RTX line to a display like an LG OLED was, well, brilliant. Especially for a game like Control which features cutting edge tech line ray tracing and DLSS rendering – the results felt next-gen. Like firing up an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5.


In the end choosing between the SHIELD TV and TV PRO comes down to whether you plan on using the extra memory for native app support like running a PLEX Media Server and taking advantage of USB ports and wired peripherals. Outside of the increase in RAM and internal storage the only downside to the cylindrical SHIELD TV is a lack of USB ports meaning you can’t just plug in a drive and use native video and audio support to play media files – something, as lovers of setting up PLEX Media Servers, we missed. But hey, for that there’s the TV Pro and on that front the new and more affordable option makes sense. Which makes the SHIELD TV and TV Pro the best streaming devices money can buy.
What we liked
New remote is wonderful and has a great Find My Remote function
Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos Surround support keeps the SHIELD TV on the cutting edge
AI Upscaling is impressive and worth it for 1080p content
Same fast, smooth, reliable, and quick SHIELD app performance
TV Pro’s PLEX Media Server functionality works great
What we didn't like
GeForce NOW not available in Australia
No USB ports on the more affordable SHIELD TV
Both models could use a bump in internal storage
We gave it:
9.5
OUT OF 10