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At GDC (Game Developer Conference) this week, nVidia has announced the newest addition to their family of gaming and streaming devices, the nVidia shield. Not to be confused with their handheld device, the nVidia Shield is a living room entertainment device like the games consoles you’re used to.

nVidia Shield Android Console

The nVidia shield device is powered by Android meaning it has access to the Google Play Store and it’s massive catalog of games and apps. It’s unique selling points are that it’s designed to work with your gaming PC, it can stream PC quality titles independently to your television via it’s own service called ‘Grid’ and it will work with publishers and developers to curate it’s own store of Shield enabled or enhanced games.

nVidia Shield Android Console

The nVidia store will offer over 50 titles to play at launch including

  • Borderlands The Pre-Sequel
  • Half-Life 2
  • Resident Evil 5
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengence
  • Portal
  • The Talos Principle,
  • Telltale’s Game of Thrones
  • Joe Danger

These are available via a subscription service (just like Netflix for games) and this will have two tiers. The higher tier means 1080p and 60fps versions of premium titles including Batman Arkham Knight, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Resident Evil Revelations 2. nVidia’s subscription model is quite like PlayStation Now but we’re keen to see how big a catalog of PC games it can find, the subscription prices and ultimately the quality of streaming. For 1080p and 60fps versions of next-gen titles, this is going to tax even the strongest of internet connections.

nVidia Shield Android Console

Regarding the device itself, it’s a sleek, horizontal and aluminum box with nVidia’s green accents along the device. The device is designed to look different from every angle. nVidia claims it “delivers twice the performance of an Xbox 360 at one fifth the power” using it’s Tegra X1 processor and 3GB of RAM. Interestingly, the device supports 4K video downloads which are quite rare. No news on whether it will support Netflix’s Super-HD (aka 4K) streaming of it’s own titles like House of Cards or Orange is the New Black. The Shield controller includes a voice search function to enable it to use Android’s “OK Google” functionality for voice search. There’s also a remote sold separately to use voice search

nVidia Shield Android Console

Storage starts from just 16GB but this is expandable and bigger storage models are available. The nVidia shield launches in May for $199 (€178 estimated) with 16GB of memory (although you can get a max 144GB of storage using a microSD card). There are no details on an Irish launch or price but we’ll keep you updated.

The full specs include:

Processor NVIDIA® Tegra® X1 processor
256-core Maxwell™ GPU with 3GB RAM
Video Features 4K Ultra-HD ready with 4K playback and capture up to 60 fps (VP9, H265, H264)
Audio 7.1 and 5.1 surround sound pass through over HDMI
High-resolution audio playback up to 24-bit/192 kHz over HDMI and USB
High-resolution audio up-sample to 24-bit/192 kHz over USB
Storage* 16 GB
Wireless 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 4.1/BLE
Interfaces Gigabit Ethernet
HDMI 2.0
Two USB 3.0 (Type A)
Micro-USB 2.0
MicroSD slot
IR Receiver (compatible with Logitech Harmony)
Software Updates SHIELD software upgrades directly from NVIDIA
Gaming Features NVIDIA GRID™ game streaming service
NVIDIA GameStream™
Power 40 W power adapter
Weight and Size Weight: 23 oz / 654 g
Height: 5.1 in / 130 mm
Width: 8.3 in / 210 mm
Depth: 1.0 in / 25 mm
Operating System Android TV™, Google Cast™ Ready
Included Apps PLEX

What do you think?  Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook or Twitter pages. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for reviews, previews, hands-ons and more.

Sources: DigitalSpy, Polygon, nVidia

David McGinley

Irish Writer, Ad man and lover of tea, all things digital, gaming, coffee, photography, gadgets, writer @TheEffectDotNet. Views are my own.

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