Nvidia Shield is a $200 Android TV gaming console for fence-sitters

It has been a long time coming but finally chip maker Nvidia is making firm strides into consumer’s living rooms, with the announcement of the Shield Android TV-powered set-top box console.

For around US$200, the users gets a 4K streaming box, a powerful mobile gaming console (powered by Nvidia’s Tegra X1 chip, with 256 Maxwell GPU cores and 3GB of RAM) and a rather small armadillo like footprint.

There’s only 16GB of internal storage available but there is a microSD card slot and two USB 3.0 ports for expansion drives. Additionally, there’s an HDMI port at the rear. The console, being Android TV, will rely extensively on the internet, so a Gigabit ethernet connection pulls its weight here.

While Nvidia might be competing against the likes of the PS4 and Xbox One, the console isn’t as powerful as either, but it’s a claimed twice as beefy as the Xbox 360, which is really quite impressive.

The Shield also adopts voice control (which I still think is a horrid gimmick) from the likes of the current-gen consoles, although the on-stage demonstration conducted by Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang didn’t quite go according to plan. It’s clear voice control and recognition for that matter, needs a bit of work yet.

Nvidia Shield console

Of course, with all that power, there are games available for those sitting on the fence between Sony and Microsoft.

Nvidia also demoed it’s still-in-beta GRID streaming-based game content service, where subscribed gamers can download titles like Batman Arkham Origins, GRID 2 and Metro Last Light Redux, just to name a few. But there’s more to GRID than just subscriptions, Nvidia notes:

Starting in May, the GRID game streaming service will come in two flavors. With GRID you can stream games at a 720p definition at 30 frames per second. And GRID Plus offers games at up to 1080p and 60 frames per second.

The GRID game streaming service includes 50 popular PC games, with more added each week. Or you can buy the freshest AAA games from the GRID store and stream them instantly. GRID store purchases also come with a digital download key to download the game to a PC later.

The console should be released in May 2015 retailing for around US$200. We’re not sure if it will make its way to South Africa in the future.



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