Meet Nvidia Shield: World's First 4K Android TV Console

The struggle to get the high performance of a desktop PC on your big living room TV has been long and arduous. That time is over, as Nvidia has announced the arrival of the world's first 4K Android TV gaming console: The Nvidia Shield.

Arriving in May, the $200 Shield is the culmination of Nvidia's previous mobile gaming devices, the Shield Portable and Shield Tablet, but with an affordable price tag. It has a super thin 1-inch aluminum body and not one, but two wireless controllers - one for gaming and one for media.

The Shield is powered by Nvidia's Tegra X1 processor with 3GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard storage, which Nvidia claims gives the Shield 35 times greater performance than the Apple TV. This allows the Shield to handle gorgeous 4K content, along with access to all your favorite Android apps. But it wouldn't be an Nvidia product if it couldn't handle some serious gaming.

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The Shield connects to Nvidia's Grid game-streaming service, which delivers games on demand much like Netflix does for movies and TV. This gives the Shield access to the entire library of Android games, as well as traditional PC titles such as Batman: Arkham Origins and Metro: Last Light.

Nvidia wasn't shy about mentioning that every game will stream at 1080p and a rock-solid 60 frames per second. You can even pre-order upcoming titles such as Witcher 3 or buy them at release -- the exact same time frame as physical copies or digital downloads from places like Best Buy or Steam.

At the Shield's launch event at GDC 15 tonight (March 3) in San Francisco, Gearbox founder and CEO Randy Pitchford demoed Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel on the Shield; it ran just as smoothly as the PC title.

Later, when I got some hands-on time with the Shield, the $199 console lived up to Nvidia's promises, only suffering the slightest hint of input lag when playing such reaction-heavy games as Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes.

To control your console, the Shield comes with a Bluetooth remote control that features a built-in mic, giving you one-touch access to Google search using your voice. The groove in the center cleverly conceals the volume control. The console/set top box also comes with a wireless Xbox-like controller, which is rated to last up to 40 hours between charges.

Nvidia is betting big on the Shield, comparing the console to legendary systems such ad the NES, Playstation 2 and Xbox 360. Now we just have to see if if the Shield and the Grid streaming service will have the same impact as the revolutionary consoles that came before it.

The Shield will launch with 50 games immediately available on Grid, along with an optional vertical stand and extra controllers for multiplayer gaming.

Sam Rutherford is a Staff Writer at Tom’s Guide. Follow him @SamRutherford on Twitter, and Tom’s Guide on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

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  • aje21
    So it's a 4K console which won't play games at 4K - I suspected as much (especially given the price), but the headline is intentionally misleading. Doh, that's what headlines are for...
  • Titillating
    It's a "4K Android TV console". The 4K is in reference to the video content it can put out, not the gaming content. It's really more of a set-top box as opposed to the more traditional definition of a "gaming console" I suppose. Either way, 1080p and 60 FPS is still better than what current consoles can handle most of the time, and at a fraction of the price.
  • aje21
    I wasn't arguing against the console, just making an observation that headline writers have a specific goal (getting people to read the article) so having the wording correct but likely to be misread to mean something else is just a fact of life. Given the console is streaming the game rather than doing most of the work itself, it would be fantastic to have seen 4K output from games, but you can't argue with the price vs. features they are offering.