NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV launching in UK and Europe
Following on from its well-received launch in the USA, NVIDIA has confirmed the Android Shield TV will go on sale in the UK, and some other European territories, on the 1st of October 2015.
It’s seemed like a long wait but it only came out in the States in June, so put that down to our impatience. The Shield is a very powerful device with a Tegra X1 processor, a 256-core NVIDIA GPU and a 64-bit CPU and 3GB of RAM at its disposal. NVIDIA says that it is, in fact, up to 34 times faster than other media streamers, although that doesn’t reflect the new Apple and Amazon Fire TV boxes and anything that Roku has coming.
Evidence that is does have more oomph than the rest comes with the fact it can output Ultra HD/4K video at up 60 frames per second – via its HDMI 2.0 port – which is brought in to good effect with a Netflix Ultra HD app available – it will, in fact, beat the Fire TV (2) in being the first mainstream 4K player in the UK by 4 days. Another bonus over the Fire TV is support for the VP9 codec which means 4K YouTube as well. Other readily available apps include BBC iPlayer and KODI but with this box being based on Android, you can sideload pretty much whatever app you choose.
Whilst we’ve been focussing on the media streaming, it’s really the gaming side of things where the Android SHIELD TV is a bit special. It provides access to a full range of gaming experiences — including the new GeForce NOW ‘Netflix for Games’ cloud service – and PC GameStream compatibility for your NVIDIA gaming rig.
GeForce NOW includes unlimited streaming of more than 50 popular PC games, including titles from the Batman and Lego series. New AAA blockbuster games like The Witcher 3, Saints Row: Gat out of Hell and Resident Evil: Revelations 2 can also be purchased and played instantly from the online game store. Members connect to NVIDIA’s cloud-gaming ‘supercomputers' located in Central and Northern Europe, select a game and play at up to 1080p at 60 fps quality within 30 seconds. If that works without serious lag, we’re on to a winner!
"GeForce NOW is part of the future of gaming to me. Being able to play The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt at a moment's notice, all streamed seamlessly, is just mind blowing," said Damien Monnier, Senior Gameplay Designer, CD PROJEKT RED.
Better still, GeForce NOW is free for the first three months on SHIELD devices. Following that, it’s €9.99/£7.49 per month. The service touches down in Europe on Thursday, 1 October.
“SHIELD is a fantastic, easy to use product – letting you use just one device for all your living room entertainment,” said Jaap Zuiderveld, vice president of EMEAI at NVIDIA. “Music, TV and film have already been transformed by streaming. With GeForce NOW, we are bringing that same disruption to games at simply incredible value.”
In the U.K., SHIELD (16GB) costs £149.99 while SHIELD Pro (500GB) is £229.99. The SHIELD remote costs £39.99, the stand costs £19.99 and an additional SHIELD gamepad controller costs £49.99.
In Europe, SHIELD (16GB) costs 199.99€, while SHIELD Pro (500GB) is 299.99€. The SHIELD remote costs 49.99€, the stand costs 29.99€ and an additional SHIELD gamepad controller costs 59.99€.
UPDATE: As is we weren't excited enough, NVIDIA has announced an OTA update which brings with it lots of features which will be of particular interest to AVForums members and readers. There's a summary below but click on the link to see the full details from NVIDIA
•Supports hardware acceleration of all the popular video formats including H.264, H.265, VC-1, MPEG-2, WMV9, and VP9
•Supports native playback of video content encoded at 23.976 Hz and 50 Hz (in Europe) for true movie quality viewing experience. Also supports video content encoded at 24 Hz, 25 Hz, 30 Hz,and 59.94 Hz
•Supports AC3, EAC3, Dolby 5.1, Dolby 7.1, DTS-HD, DTS-HD MA, and Dolby TrueHD pass
through for an immersive home theater experience with your home theater receiver and
•Supports high resolution 24-bit 192 kHz audio over HDMI and USB for superior audio quality.
•Supports USB-S/PDIF dongles and enables users to connect SHIELD to older sound bars and
•Works flawlessly with media streaming apps such as PLEX and Kodi (XBMC)
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