I don’t have a smart TV, but I have an NVIDIA SHIELD. This little piece of hardware was released in October of 2019 as the most compact version of the NVIDIA SHIELD device line yet produced. It’s more than an alternative to products like Amazon Fire TV Stick/Cube, or Apple TV. It’s a doorway to the world’s best streaming content, complete with a feature that makes old content look better than it’s ever looked before.
I’ve reviewed and/or used and/or owned every NVIDIA SHIELD devices since before the SHIELD collection became about smart TV. They started with the NVIDIA SHIELD, a device that’s since been re-named NVIDIA SHIELD Portable, a handheld gaming controller with a display attached, running Android – well ahead of its time, to be sure.
They made an NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet – very similar to the NVIDIA SHIELD Portable, with a larger display and no attached controller. They moved the controller to its own separate piece of hardware then – that controller can still be used with the latest versions of NVIDIA SHIELD today – then another one. There was also a stylus situation at one point – that remains radical today – there was an NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet K1, too.
ABOVE: NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet, controller (gen 1) and a bunch of accessories and such. BELOW: The NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV gen 1 and gen 2. The smaller hardware is gen 2 – this is essentially the size and shape of the newest NVIDIA SHIELD Pro (2019) too.
They released an NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV device, then another with a slightly smaller hardware footprint with less internal data storage, then they pulled out the stops with NVIDIA SHIELD 2019 – the device we’re looking at today.
The NVIDIA SHIELD 2019 has AI upscaling abilities. This isn’t your everyday run-of-the-mill “soap opera effect” nonsense. It’s a system that analyzes every frame of video content you’re viewing and computes the pixels necessary to enlarge the content to…