When I cut the cable TV cord nearly eight years ago, juggling multiple remote controls was a necessity. At minimum, you needed one for your television and another for your game console or streaming box. I used a third remote for a home theater PC, so I could access video websites that weren't yet available as streaming-TV apps. But over the past couple years, the need for multiple remotes has been slipping away, thanks to a decade-old HDMI feature called Consumer Electronics Control (HDMI-CEC). With this feature, streaming boxes such as Apple TV and Roku can control your television's power, volume, and input, making additional remotes unnecessary.
NVIDIA has just released the latest Shield TV update, marketing the 25th time that the streaming device has been refreshed since the original model launched in 2015. The anniversary update includes a few interesting features like 4K AI upscaling tech with improved sharpness and higher frame rates. While it previously only worked on HD content at 30 fps, NVIDIA Shield TV will now do 4K upscaling for any content from 360p up to 1440p, while supporting 60 fps on the Shield TV Pro model. NVIDIA said that it will also scale up live HD sports and HD YouTube videos to 4K. Finally, the company has promised 4K 60 fps upscaling on GeForce NOW games, once the NVIDIA Games app is updated in September.
We expected NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang to introduce a revamped Shield TV at CES; what we didn't expect was for the new device to practically be a carbon copy of the original. Sure, it's a lot smaller, but inside it's running all of the same hardware we saw in 2015. And yet, NVIDIA claims it's still much more powerful than any other set-top box. That's a testament to how robust the company's X1 chip is, but it's disappointment new for anyone who was hoping for something fresh. On the bright side, the new $200 Shield comes with a new controller that's light years ahead of the last one.
NVIDIA's Shield TV was one of the few successful Android TV devices -- it was both a capable 4K entertainment device and a simple way to bring PC gaming into your living room. So it only made sense that NVIDIA had a sequel in the works. Today during his CES 2017 keynote, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang unveiled a new version of the Shield TV -- now just called Shield -- which will support 4K HDR for both games and movies. Among other new features, the new Shield TV is also the first Android TV device to support Google Assistant. As you'd imagine, Google Assistant works just like it does on the company's Home device and Pixel phones, but you can also command it to play media on the Shield TV.