[GDC 2015] Nvidia announces the Shield Android TV console. It’s a singular device for in-home entertainment and gaming

Written by AndrewH

Nvidia held their big press event at GDC 2015 and also the company have been hinting at a big announcement, stating it was 5 years in the making. Everyone had their guesses in regards to what this is, with many different people pointing to VR as being the announcement. We guessed it would be a console in a previous article. When the event began, the CEO of Nvidia Jen-Hsun Huang, came out and told everyone immediately he had three things to announce: a brand new revolutionary TV, a brand new super computer, and a new console. Turns out, it had not been three devices, it was only one.

So everyone who guessed a new console was sort of right but the Nvidia Shield is a lot more . The most obvious question is, why refer to it as the Shield? Well that we don’t know. Perhaps for the reason that what was once known as the Nvidia Shield is now called Shield Portable. We also have the Shield tablet. So with this particular, it is simply the Shield. The very first thing you notice is the design. It’s very slick looking and extremely thin and could be placed flat or upright inside a stand. All your ports take presctiption the rear. These include a Gigabit Ethernet port, 2 USB 3.0 ports to make use of with such things as external hard drives, HDMI, MicroSD slot and so forth. There is also the greatest performing WiFi hardware inside as well to be used with Nvidia’s GRID along with other services. More about that later though.

Nvidia’s Shield claims several ‘first’ titles. It is the world’s first Android TV console. It’s also the world’s first 4K Android TV tool and it isn’t just since it can play movies, videos, and games in 4K resolution. It may send, receive, and display 4K at 60 hertz. This is for both playing anything locally stored in addition to streamed towards the device. To get content, Google Play will be available on it but you’ll also have a new storefront for Shield specific content, appropriately named the Shield Store. Since the Shield sports Bluetooth too, it may sync to any or all your Android devices.

For media playback, may it be movies, video, or music, you have the Shield Remote. This is a rather minimalistic designed remote that uses Bluetooth too. Nvidia has been doing some interesting things with this particular remote though because it also contains a Bluetooth receiver. Users can plug a headset into the remote which will permit the sound from whatever you’re doing with the Shield to become streamed towards the remote and played through the headset for privacy. There’s also a mic located at the bottom of the remote. Keeping it charged is performed through connecting the remote via USB.

For gaming, the Shield has the recently announced Tegra X1 chipset. It was announced during CES 2015 and while Nvidia focused almost 100% of the CES time for you to automotive uses, GDC 2015 is showcasing the chipset’s gaming functionality. In terms of RAM, there will be 3GB of RAM inside in addition to 16GB of storage. There is also a new controller with this particular Shield device. It is that just about the present Shield tablet controller however with a slightly objective design into it.

Here may be the full specs:

– NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor with 256-core Maxwell GPU with 3GB RAM
– 4K Ultra-HD Ready with 4K playback and capture as much as 60 fps (VP9, H265, H264)
– 7.1 and 5.1 multichannel audio pass through over HDMI
– High-resolution audio playback up to 24-bit/192kHz over HDMI and USB
– High-resolution audio upsample to 24-bit/192hHz over USB
– 16GB storage
– 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi
– Bluetooth 4.1/BLE
– Gigabit Ethernet
– HDMI 2.0
– Two USB 3.0 (Type A)2
– Micro-USB 2.0
– MicroSD slot (supports 128GB cards)
– NVIDIA GRID streaming service
– NVIDIA GameStream?
– Weight: 23oz / 654g, Height: 5.1in / 130mm, Width: 8.3in / 210mm, Depth: 1.0in / 25mm

When Nvidia displayed the Shield Store, there were some very interesting titles up there which have not been announced for Android. However, they are coming to Android but will, at least for now, be accessible only for this Shield Android TV console. Including the feature-complete full version of the upcoming FPS-style Borderlands game called Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. There is also the complete full form of The Talos Principle that’ll be available.

Other games include Crysis 3 Multiplayer running at full detail at 30FPS, Doom 3 BFG Edition (Doom1, Doom 2, All versions of Doom 3), Resident Evil 5, Metal Gear Solid: Revengeance and Limbo. However, the Shield Store won’t just have these games at launch. Nvidia states it’ll have 50 plus titles available in the Shield Store when ever the Shield hits store shelves.

This is stuff we have arrived at expect from Nvidia announcements at GDC press events. It is usually some seriously good gaming for Android. However, the large surprise to come out of this is actually the price that the Shield console will be. Hitting stores in May 2015, the Nvidia Shield is going to be priced at $199 bundled with the controller! That is a pretty stellar cost. The remote is going to be sold separately and unfortunately Nvidia didn’t announce a price on that yet.

Nvidia also spent a great area of the second half from the event referring to GRID. We figured there’d be a GRID announcement and, actually, we guessed it might be a GRID console that would be announced and we were sort of right. Nvidia went into detail about GRID and also the reason behind that is because GRID is now an official gaming on-demand service. Until recently it has been in testing on Shield devices however it’s totally official.

There is going to be two packages available. First, you will see a totally free package that will run games at 720p there will be plenty of games available for free. There will also be reasonably limited package which will stream games to your device, like the new Shield console, at 1080p 60FPS. Both packages will be able to bunch a game title and start streaming it to you and you can start playing in under a minute. The premium package will even feature new games coming out that are being released on other platforms. If you are conscious of a large Triple-A release visiting PC next month, as an example, it will also be released onto GRID and premium members will be able to play this game as soon as it launches.

Both the disposable and premium packages for GRID will be made available in May, same time Nvidia’s Shield console hit’s stores. Of course in true Nvidia fashion, there were plenty of games previewed and there are lots of big titles on the website already for example Alan Wake, Resident Evil 5, Witcher III: Wild Hunt, Ultra Street Fighter VI, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zero, far more more. You will also have the ability to buy the games outright if you wish to do this instead of paying for any subscription.

Obviously we have some questions you want to ask Nvidia concerning the new Shield console and GRID announcement. One question we have regarding GRID is one of the bandwidth usage and just how expensive is being used to stream 1080p games. People with caps on their bandwidth will obviously be concerned about this. Also is there a feature not far off about transferring saved games in GRID towards the PC version if you purchase it on Steam for instance. This is all cloud-based after all. How much is the premium package.

If you have any questions about any of this, tell us within the comments below. We are talking to Nvidia tonight as well as tomorrow.