Friday, October 30, 2015

Angry Mo's - Nvidia Shield TV Review                                                Verdict:  Mo likes it!

  I haven't written any reviews in a while, been busy with work.  But this is the year of the media streamers.  I will try to bring you the best information I can about these latest gadgets.  I also ordered the Neeo smart learning remote.  Will write review once I get it.  For this week, we have the Nvidia Shield TV !

What is it?

The Nvidia Shield TV is a box that you hook up to your TV.  Its sleek and small.  It has a nice green emitting glow to it (see the photo below).  It allows you to do multiple things.  You can use it to watch TV (via the Tablo mentioned in the previous blog), access your Plex library, watch Netflix, Hulu etc.  There are many applications one can download just like the Roku.  But I believe the major advantage that the Shield has over the other streamers is its capability to play games.  Yes Roku can play games, but I'm talking about real games!  We will have to wait and see what happens with the new Apple TV, but this device can beat any of the other streamers when it comes to gaming at this time.

Is it easy to set up??

Yes, just like any other streamer (e.g. Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV), you need a connection from this to your TV (HDMI), and power.  I prefer ethernet connection for internet, but this can do wireless internet as well.

How about the controller and remote?

Unfortunately when I bought my Nvidia Shield Pro, it came with the controller, but I had to buy the remote separately.  Is the remote worth it? Heck yeah!  Its small, feels good in the hand and easy to use.  The best part is the voice control.  There is a small button the remote (controller has it too), and if you press it, it lights up green.  On the screen it waits for your command. I have tried "tell me the weather", "show me local movie times", "what is the football score", it shows me accurate information each time.  This definitely beats Roku (which can just look for movies/TV shows and actors), and I believe according to one article more accurate than Fire TV.  We will have to wait to see how it compares to Siri on Apple Tv.  It can search your Plex database, and will show you YouTube videos!  For example, if I say "Star Wars", it will show me whats available in my Plex server, any you tube videos, Google movies, etc.. it keeps going.  Only thing it doesn't do at this time is show you Netflix videos.. but I think it will in the future.

I have not spent much time with the controller, but its comfortable and very Xbox like.  Do you need the remote? No, but I highly recommend it, adds to the experience.

How's the picture and sound?

I do not have a 4K TV, but this device does support 4K.  For my 1080p Panny Plasma, this device looks great.  The picture is top notch.  I think its even smoother and more pop then my Roku 3.  The other plus side of this device is the speed.  Switching apps is lightening fast.  You can go from one app to the other within seconds.  So lets say I watching TV show on Tablo, and I want to go to Plex, its literally seconds.    Netflix loads up so fast, and ffw/rew is quick too.  Overall great experience and user friendly.

Gaming?? On a media streamer?

Yep, there are several ways to game on the Nvidia Shield Pro.

-First you have Android games.  These are relatively "light" games. Mostly platformers or puzzle games.  They look great, and load up fast.. for example, Half Life and Portal.  Great games.  These games you can purchase from the store on the device, and download them.  Some games are free, but the good ones obviously cost some dough.

-Second you have NVIDIA game stream.  You can try it for free for 30 days, but after that it costs 7.99.  There are some games which are free, others cost money. I tried it a few times.  Its a great concept, but I don't think its ready for prime time. For example, I tried Batman Arkham Asylum.  Tho it was smooth and it was cool that it launched and I played a game from the cloud (you can also do cloud saves), I don't think the graphics were that great.  Compared to my Alienware X51 I have hooked up to my TV for PC gaming, the graphics were sub par. Not sure if needs a patch, or if that's the max, but I wont be renewing my subscription to this service in the future.

-Third you can stream games from your PC on your network to the Nvidia Shield. So lets say your PC is in your office.  You can launch and play a PC game from your Nvidia Shield in the family room!  I tried a few games, it worked well, but I also do no think its ready for prime time either.  You have to have an Nvidia graphics card that supports this, and a good network (mine is wired).  The problem is PC games are faulty to begin with.  They crash, they need updates, they may launch other screens that you can't see on the TV in the living room. For example, I launched Grand Theft Auto 5.  Nothing happened, I waited for minutes.. still nothing.  When I went to see what was happening with my PC in the other room, it was loading some sort of update, and installing it.  I would not have even known that unless I went to look at the PC itself.  It would have taken 15-20 mins to install this update!  I tried some other games like South Park, it was choppy with intermittent drops in frames... this was on a wired connection.  I gave up on this .. I will just use my Alienware X51 for playing games when I want.  Graphics are better, I can see if something crashes or goes wrong, and it doesn't drop frames.

Although this streamer is capable of gaming, I will not use it for that function unless something changes with the above.

Sideloading? Whats that?

You can load other applications that are not available for Nvidia Shield by installing them yourself.  I didn't get into this, because I didn't have time, and I don't like taking time to do things that should already be there anyways.  For example, there are emulators, web browsers etc.

Can your wife use this device?

Yes after some initial instructions my wife can use this device, but its not as user friendly as the Roku.  I highly doubt any wife would use the gaming functions.

Can you cut the cord?

Yes, just like Roku,AppleTV and others, if you don't mind missing some channels, you can cut cable with this device.


Nice looking device/good build quality
Awesome voice function
Good selection of apps (Plex and Kodi)
Capable of playing games (and I mean high quality games)
Blazing fast interface


Rarely, but it does happen,... apps can freeze. Some bugs that need to be fixed. Hopefully Nvidia will get this under better control.
Gaming there, but needs fine tuning.  Game streaming from your PC not flawless.
Although there are good apps.. needs more apps  (No Amazon video on demand. This part is stupid, because Amazon stopped selling Apple TV and Chromecast .. but they still sell Nvidia Shield TV.  Maybe they are getting it soon?)
Why is the Netflix listed in the gaming section? That is dumb.  Should be able to move it to  where the rest of the apps are at the bottom of the screen
Airplay would be nice.  I know it has Chromecast, but I don't think its as good as airplay. You can download Airplay apps, but they don't work all the time.


If you want the most powerful streamer out there, I would say this is it
Buy it!

Will be reviewing the new Apple TV next week, and perhaps the Neeo smart remote when its in.