REVIEW: NVIDIA Shield TV 2019 with the new Tegra X1+ SoC

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NVIDIA Shield TV is the new NVIDIA Android TV model of which we present today his review. On this occasion we have two versions, on the one hand the compact NVIDIA Shield TV with 2GB of RAM and 8GB of storage and on the other the same design as the previous 2017 model in the NVIDIA Shield TV Pro that integrates 3GB of RAM, 16GB of storage memory and multiple connection ports. The two models mount the same updated Tegra X1+ SoC, new Wifi chip with Bluetooth 5.0 support, it has been added 4K AI scaling tech and Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos support. We will soon have our usual detailed reviews available. Let’s see how it behaves in our usual review.

PRODUCT DETAILS

ModelNVIDIA Shield TV
Basic SpecsSoC: Tegra X1+ Quad Core 4x A57 + 4x A53 (64bit) / GPU NVIDIA Maxwell 256 Core / 20nm
System: Android TV 9 Pie (32bit)
Ram and storage: 2GB LPDDR4X / 8GB eMMC
Network: Wifi ac Dual Band MIMO + Bluetooth 5.0 LE / Ethernet Gigabit
Ports: HDMI 2.0 4K@60fps / MicroSD
Extras: IR+BT remote / Manual / Power cord
Materials and measures: Plastic / 40 x 165 mm / 522 gr

Unboxing

The NVIDIA Shield TV comes in a standard cardboard box with a image of the product on the top, inside we found the cylinder, IR+BT remote with AAA batteries, power cable and a short Manual.

Description

The NVIDIA Shield TV box is made of plastic and without a doubt what catches our attention is its cylindrical design that hides the internal hardware. This small device is completely passive so it does NOT emit noise. This Stick includes a new Bluetooth + IR remote control that allows us to comfortably control the Android TV environment by voice controls and Google Assistant. A considerable improvement over the classic control of the previous NVIDIA Shield TV as it dispenses with the uncomfortable touch volume control.

  • In the remote we can customize the menu button with system functions or by launching a specific app.
  • Has a speaker that emits a sound to find it by pressing the Shield button or from the NVIDIA app.
  • This remote integrate backlight on the keys that is activated when you move the knob or press a key.

At one end of the cylinder we have the power connector and the Gigabit Ethernet port, on the other side we have the microSD card reader that allows to expand the internal storage, button to find the remote control and the HDMI 2.0b video output port. On the motherboard we can see the Wifi aC Dual Band MIMO + Bluetooth 5.0 LE chip that uses internal Wi-Fi antennas.

SYSTEM AND PERFORMANCE

Environment and Android system

We connect the NVIDIA Shield TV to the power socket and boot to the Android TV 9 Pie launcher by default based on squares, we can customize the top row. In this Stick if we can use the mouse pointer on the main screen something not very common in Android TV. Among the installed apps, Google’s own ones such as NVIDIA Games, Youtube, PLEX, Netflix and Prime Video stand out, naturally from Google Play we can install any other compatible one. The performance of Android TV 9 is excellent thanks to the Tegra X1+ SoC, it works well without forced closures of the classic apps and the system moves smoothly.

  • Launcher: We can change launcher but we recommend the official / Android UI render at 1080p.
  • Multitasking and access: Multitasking from the remote control / Android notifications in the upper icon.
  • Languages and Google Play: All the international Android classics / Google Play installed.
  • Check our Android TV User Manual to install classic Android Apps, prevent screen rotation and much more.

As we can see in the system data, the NVIDIA Shield TV has a system limited to 32bit, something that does not affect normal use of the system, only some very specific apps such as emulators can be affected by this limitation. In any case, if we want more power to play, we recommend the NVIDIA Shield TV Pro model with 64bit system. The support of NVIDIA on its Shield is possibly the best and longest support ever seen by this operating system.

  • On/Off Controls: If we keep press the power button we have reset and power off option / NO configurable in settings.
  • System version and root: Android TV 9 Pie (32 bit) / The system is NO root / NO root menu.
  • Support: NVIDIA have official support site / Firmware available / Custom firmware not available yet.

Network, storage, RAM and ports

This small NVIDIA Shield TV has eMMC internal storage memory and LPDDR4X RAM, does not have USB ports and we only have an SD card reader. In the network section you have a wireless adapter Wifi aC Dual Band MIMO + Bluetooth 5.0 LE and Gigabit Ethernet port. As we can see in the tests the results are very good especially in the internal storage that is very fast. On the other hand in network settings we can also add our local network storage very easily or expand the internal storage with an SD card.

  • Storage: Total 8GB  – Free 5GB / NTFS + exFAT compatible / Expandable with a USB memory stick.
  • RAM: Total 2GB – Free 1GB / LPDDR4X.
  • Network: Basic speed with internal wifi antennas / Range 42dBm, basic. / Bluetooth OK.
  • We recommend reading our Tutorial SAMBA on Android networks if we are going to use files from our network PC.
USB 2.0USB 3.0microSDSATA
Read / Write20/19 MB/s

Power and performance

At the power level the NVIDIA Shield TV is left over for any Android app or game with the Tegra X1+ Octa Core SoC with ARM Cortex-A57 + A53 processors and in the graphic section a Maxwell 256 Cores GPU that is still in the highest range of the sector and has no rival today. This SoC is manufactured in 20nm somewhat disappointing because we expected an improvement to 16nm, has a fairly controlled consumption and temperatures remain very low in any demanding game or application, the passive cooling system seems efficient.

In the system we have the NVIDIA Games app installed as standard, which allows us to stream more powerful titles via streaming We need a Geforce NOW account that is currently in free beta phase and keep in mind that a good number of free games are included by default with our NVIDIA Shield. We can also transmit from our PC the games that we have installed using Geforce EXPERIENCE. This system is compatible with the Shield controller gamepad and also with any PS4, XBox One or similar control that we have at home.

  • Games and emulators: IS possible to play titles such as PUBG with high settings / Emulators up to Wii / YES Vulkan support.
  • Controls: Compatible with Gamepads by cable or bluetooth.
  • Consumption: Off 1.5W / Standby 2.7W / Basic use 5.4W / Maximum 16W
  • Thermals: Minimum 40ºC / Maximum 65ºC / Maintains performance up to 100% / Heat zone on the top / Noise 0db

VIDEO AND AUDIO TEST

Video playback test

In the video playback section, the NVIDIA Shield TV has the Tegra X1+ SoC and a VPU compatible with most modern video formats such as h.265 and VP9 with 4K HDR native resolution support, but it does not have an app video quality settings. We can use players like KODI or PLEX without the slightest problem thanks to its power and compatibility. We also have the exclusive IA 4K Upscaling function that gives us good results from content with lower resolution than 4K, this system is not compatible with other 4K scaling system that we have on our TV.

This model has a Chromecast 4K integrated that allows us to send YouTube and also works with other services such as Netflix since it has all the necessary certificates for it. The change of automatic refresh works perfectly, there is only a small problem with the change of color format that is in the process of resolution. Check our Tegra X1+ SoC Comparison against all SoCs to see more details about A/V aspects of this SoC.

Video results

FormatsResult
h.264 / 1080i / 8bitOK
h.264 / 1080p / 4K / 8bitOK
h.264 / 1080p / 10bit (anime)OK (SW)
h.265 / 1080p / 8bitOK
h.265 / 1080p / 10bit (anime)OK
h.265 / 4K / 8bitOK
h.265 / 4K / 10bit HDROK
VP9 P1 / 4K / 8bitOK
VP9 P2 / 4K / 10bit HDROK
VP9 P2 / 8K / 10bit HDROK in Youtube / Frameskip in KODI (SW)*
Max. Bitrate100 Mbps = 12,5 MB/s.
  • The maximum bitrate depends on the port used to connect or the limitations of SAMBA Networks.
  • SW = does not have hardware acceleration and may have have some frameskip in very heavy files.

Audio test results

FormatsDD / DTS 5.1DD+ / DTS MADD True / DTS HRDD Atmos / DTS X
HDMIOKOKOKOK*
Optical
  • PCM – Stereo only doing downmix from DD or DTS
  • Core – Only the core of the format is played back with what we passed to the Dolby / DTS base system
    * Our AV receiver does not support these native formats but we verify that it is played back to 7.1

Streaming services

In our usual tests with streaming services we see how the most popular services work. The NVIDIA Shield TV presents an excellent configuration with all the necessary DRM systems and also with Netflix 4K HDR Dolby Vision and Atmos certification and even has Chromecast 4K to share any other compatible service.

Streaming serviceVideo / AudioResultManual
Youtube4K (2060p) / StereoOK
Google Play MoviesFullHD (1080p) / StereoOK
Netflix4K (2060p) / 7.1OKNetflix on Android
HBOFullHD (1080p) / StereoOKHBO on Android
Amazon Prime Video4K (2060p) / 5.1OKAmazon Prime video on Android
DAZNHD (720p) / StereoOK
IPTVFullHD (1080p) / StereoOK

CONCLUSIONS AND BUY LINKS

Score

NVIDIA Shield TV

0.00
8.6

DESIGN AND CONNECTIVITY

8.0/10

HARDWARE

8.5/10

SYSTEM

9.5/10

SUPPORT

9.5/10

PRICE/QUALITY

7.5/10

Pros

  • Good design and compact
  • Wifi ac and Ethernet Gigabit
  • Excellent support and software
  • Better remote control
  • Streaming 4K HDR and audio HD 7.1

Cons

  • 2GB of RAM 8GB eMMC and 32bit system

Opinion

Once reviewed the new NVIDIA Shield TV 2019, we can say that we are facing a very conservative product regarding what NVIDIA offered us in its 2017 models, although the analyzed model changes its format and surprises us with a quite peculiar tubular design. This hardware moves Android TV 9 Pie in an excellent way, in that aspect there is some improvement compared to the previous models, perhaps due to the inclusion of a much faster eMMC storage and a change in RAM. The Tegra X1+ processor is basically the same as in the 2017 model, but the hardware set does seem to be more optimized at the power level, still keeps the No.1 in this sector and perhaps that is why NVIDIA has not been forced to make a radical change.

At the connectivity level the NVIDIA Shield TV has good performance thanks to its Wifi aC MIMO Dual Band adapter that reaches a good speed and also has a Gigabit Ethernet port to be able to load all kinds of content over the network at maximum speed. As we see its limitation is the internal storage of only 8GB eMMC, scarce, but very fast although we can always use an SD card to expand the storage and also supports local network drives natively. The amount of RAM is only 2GB, somewhat scarce for games but enough to use at the multimedia and streaming level. If we want to play powerful Android games better go to the PRO model.

The new remote control is much better, the design is much more efficient than the previous model, the function to finding the remote control is a positive point, the lighting system is appreciated, we can map a key and its touch use is very good.

In short, the new NVIDIA Shield TV is a small and powerful 4K HDR streaming device that offers us all the advantages of this very well designed hardware and software. If we are interested in a compact model and with all the guarantees, we are undoubtedly facing a very important option.

Where to buy

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