In Short

The Shield Android TV is the first set top box from NVIDIA and the third consumer-facing Android TV box (after the Nexus Player and Razer Forge TV) to be announced. It builds on the gaming-focused Shield branding first used in the Shield Portable and later used on the Shield Tablet, but as is the case with the Shield Tablet the Shield Android TV box can be used for much more than just games.

It is powered by NVIDIA's newest high-end processor, the 64-bit Tegra X1, which is considerably more powerful than what you'd find in a phone or tablet. It's paired up with 3GB of RAM — the most of any Android TV box at the time — and 16GB of storage, expandable by microSD card. The Shield Android TV also supports Dolby 7.1 audio output to your AV receiver, as well as CEC control over HDMI and audio/video sync settings. It's also the first Android TV box to support 4K video output, including certification from Netflix to stream 4K content.

The set top box is larger than what you may be used to with an Amazon Fire TV or Roku box, but actually isn't too much larger than the 8-inch Shield Tablet. For the size you do get lots of power, as well as ports — there's an HDMI port, ethernet jack, micro USB port, two full-sized USB ports (for expandability, peripherals and charging), and a microSD card slot. An optional stand holds the console vertically, but it's just as happy laying flat near your TV as well.

The included Shield Wireless Controller connects over Wifi Direct to the console for fast response time, and can be used for full control of the Shield Android TV including voice input and direct audio output via the headphone jack. An optional wireless remote connects over Bluetooth for more casual use, and also includes two-way audio via a microphone and headphone jack. Up to four total controllers can be connected to the console, including previously-purchased Shield Wireless Controllers — you can also plug in any USB peripherals, such as mice, keyboards, joysticks and webcams.

On the software side Android TV is just as you'd find on any other box, with small additions for connecting and managing NVIDIA Shield peripherals, as well as the Shield Hub which aggregates gaming content that works best with the console.

Shield Android TV was announced at GDC with a starting price of $199, which includes a Shield Wireless Controller (regularly $59).