NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro – Android/Plex media centre (review)
The NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro is a 4K@60Hz, Dolby Vision capable, Google/Android TV 11 console. But that does not quite do it justice, and it is the Rolls Royce of media centre consoles.
We are reviewing both the NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro (this review) and the NVIDIA SHIELD TV dongle NVIDIA SHIELD TV – the dongle you need above all (review). There are a lot of similarities with all the relevant information in the SHIELD TV dongle review, so you may want to start there first.
Australian Review NVIDIA SHIELD TV Model P2897
|Website||SHIELD Product page|
|Price||$349.95 Caution – if buying second-hand, ensure it is the 2019 model P2897 or later with Google Android TV 11|
|From||Harvey Norman and many CE and Computer stores|
|Country of Origin||China|
|Company||NVIDIA (Est 1993) is a global leader in GeForce and RTX Graphics Processing Units (GPU), graphics API software, and GeForce Now cloud gaming.|
|More||CyberShack NVIDIA news and reviews|
We use Fail (below expectations), Pass (meets expectations) and Exceed (surpasses expectations or is the class leader) against many of the items below. We occasionally give a Pass ‘+’ rating to show it is good but does not quite make it to Exceed.
You can click on most images for an enlargement.
Repeat – we are only adding new information about the Pro version and strongly suggest you read the SHEILD TV review first.
Essential differences between Nvidia SHIELD TV Model P4340 (tube) and Pro Model P2897
Some reviews call this the 2019 model; technically, the hardware is the same. The operating system is Google/Android TV 11, and firmware is now at 9.1 and offers much more functionality.
|RAM/Storage||2/8GB/microSD to 512GB 10MBps UHS 1 or faster||3/16GB/USB storage|
|Processor||16nm Tegra X1+ runs in 32-bit mode (normal for Android 11 TV)||Same – runs in 64-bit mode for more processing power|
|Ports||Power, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet (mountable network storage)||Plus 2 x USB 3.0 5V/.9A/4.5W, 480Mbps|
|Extras||Smart Home functionality||Expanded Smart Home Plex or Kodi server|
|Video||HDMI 2.0b 18Gbps supports Dolby Vision, HDR10+ 4K@60fps||Same|
|Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi 5 AC 2×2 MIMO 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz||Same|
|Chromecast||BT 5.0 + LE 4K Chromecast||Same|
First Impression – Edgy – Exceed
This is about the size of an old VHS video cassette, 2159 x 98 x 26mm x 250g, with much more edginess and subtle NVIDIA green light stip. As you can see from the table above, it runs Google/Android TV 11 in 64-bit mode (faster), has more storage (16GB is still minimal) and adds 2 x USB-A 3.0 480Mbps ports that can connect to a PC, NAS etc.
Inputs are via Wi-Fi 5 ac 2X2 MIMO or gigabit Ethernet and Google/Android TV 11’s’ comprehensive range of apps and streaming services.
Output is solely via HDMI 2.0b to a TV.
Setup – Exceed if you are tech-savvy
As per the dongle review, it is via Google/Android TV.
But the key to this device is the expandability via the two USB ports, and it runs as a Plex media server. To utilise that, you need to be tech-savvy.
Plex server and client – PASS
The NVIDIA Plex client does most things you expect, although you must add an external NAS (Network attached storage) or a USB-C storage device.
It has enough power to run a paid VPN like Private Internet Access or NordVPN that also supports torrents. We tested with PIA, and it increases ping times from about 10 to 15ms and reduces DL speeds by 5-10% (depending on the VPN server location). We did not exhaustively test this with simultaneous 4K playback, but the Tegra X1+ processor seems to have the capability.
Alternatively, you can load a media player like VLC or Kodi to play external content.
USB-A (PRO version) – EXCEED with caveats
The two USB-A 3.0 ports on the PRO can, subject to power needs (maximum 5V/.9A per port)
- Act as a DVR – it handles USB Flash drives to 512GB and HDD/SSD up to 2TB (at least)
- Play content from a USB device – maximum transfer rate is about 200Mbps (25MBps suitable for 4K)
- Support a 720p-4K webcam/mic
- USB or a dongle receiver for keyboards and mice
- Support a TV Tuner (Hauppauge WinTV-dual HD DVB-T2 #1590 for Australia) but may require Plex, Kodi or Android TV Live Channels to act as the OTA interface. Not tested, so buy from a retailer that allows returns if it does not work). More here.
- Output sound to a DAC-equipped amplified speaker or AV receiver
- We could not test with a USB-A hub, but it should work if the voltage/amperage is within spec.
- Bluetooth 5.0 can support a keyboard/trackpad like the Logitech keyboards and mice.
If you select the USB device as ”internal” storage, it will format it accordingly, and you can’t use it on a PC without reformatting, so it is a permanent addition.
Storage Caveats – PASS(able)
To keep costs in check, it only has 16GB of internal storage – about 10GB free before you add too many apps, games or 4K movies (compressed movies are about 3GB each).
So, you need to add external NAS (Network Attached Storage) or USB storage for most uses.
NAS – Gigabit Ethernet (1000Mbps/125MBps full-duplex)
It can access most network storage devices. We tested on a 2TB NAS, achieving just over 80MBps, although this did fall to 30MBps when accessed by multiple devices – still more than enough for 4K. Here you have no USB volt/amp issues.
CyberShack’s’ view – For the extra $100, Tech-savvy should buy NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro over the Dongle.
Enough has been said about the SHIELD TV and Pro capabilities.
Gaming capability aside, it is a perfect streamer with the ability to take content over a network, USB or the internet. It is Google Android TV 11, and regardless of your current smart TV OS, it adds many extra features.
Downsides – you need to be a little tech-savvy to use all its features.