The new Nvidia Shield is more than a 4K steaming and gaming box. It can also be the hub of your smart home, as it's the first device in its class to have Google's Assistant inside.
Announced here at CES 2017, the new Nvidia Shield is on the pricey side at $199, but it runs circles around the Apple TV and Roku Ultra when it comes to its capabilities.
Ask Google Assistant
By working with Google, the Nvidia Shield is ready to serve when it hears your voice. Just say "Ok, Google" and the box can help you find stuff to watch, like Stranger Things on Netflix. You can also control smart home devices, look up photographs and ask all sorts of questions.
Nvidia Spot Extends the Fun
Nvidia knows that there are times when you want to tap Google Assistant when you're not in front of the TV. This little circular device is a plug-in ambient microphone that you can place anywhere in the house, and it communicates over Wi-Fi with the Nvidia Shield.
The Spot is apparently smart enough to know who's talking, thanks to its beam forming mics, even if there's multiple people in the room.
4K Video and Even 4K Games
The Nvidia Shield is capable of playing not just 4K video content but also streaming 4K PC games to your TV, thanks to the Nvidia GameStream feature. Plus, Nvidia says there are now more than 1,000 native games in the Nvidia game store.
The GeForce Now service has been upgraded with Pascal performance and will soon add Ubisoft’s popular titles, including Watch Dogs 2, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, For Honor and others. The Witness, Tomb Raider and Shadowgun Legends are among the upcoming native games.
Pricing and Availability
The new Nvidia Shield costs $199 and will be available in January. The Nvidia Spot will be available in the coming months, but pricing is not yet available.
Most media streaming devices are just cheap gateways to Netflix, Amazon and other video services. The new Nvidia Shield is not for that crowd. It's a high-end entertainment and smart home hub that has the potential to make your life easier, especially when paired with the upcoming Spot.
Amazon's Alexa is way ahead in terms of skills, so time will tell if Nvidia picked the right partner. But overall the new Shield looks very impressive.