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5 reasons a television with Android TV built-in is better than an NVIDIA Shield

NVIDIA Shield TV on Stand
NVIDIA Shield TV on Stand (Image credit: Android Central)

When you think of Android TV, what comes to mind? For many of us here at AC and many of you reading this, it's probably the NVIDIA Shield TV. NVIDIA has been one of the few companies supporting Android TV with streaming hardware that's powered by the operating system, with its two latest Shield TV and Shield TV Pro offerings being downright excellent.

Here's the thing, though — NVIDIA isn't the only answer when it comes to getting Android TV inside your home. While the company's streaming gadgets are great, there are other options out there. Specifically, televisions with Android TV built right into them. Many TVs from the likes of Sony, Hisense, and TCL feature the Android TV platform right out of the box, and in some cases, having it preloaded like that can make the whole experience that much better.

If you've been thinking about picking up an NVIDIA Shield TV for yourself, here are five reasons why getting a television with Android TV instead is a better choice.

Your entertainment stand is less cluttered

Android TV interface

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Everyone's living room is a different shape and size, but for a lot of folks, you can probably relate to having a cramped entertainment stand. No matter how neat and tidy you try to keep it, things quickly get out of hand as you start adding streaming devices, game consoles, a soundbar, etc. Right off the bat, this is one of the biggest perks of getting an Android TV television over a standalone NVIDIA Shield TV.

If you get a Shield TV, that means needing to find room behind your television for the regular model or a spot on your stand for the Pro variant. Either way, you're taking up precious space that could likely be used for something else.

A television with Android TV built-in means you don't have to worry about that, seeing as how a separate device isn't required to get the Android TV interface on your screen. Furthermore, this all-in-one package also means one less power cable you need to manage. As someone that is in a constant losing battle with my living room's cable management, I cannot stress how nice of a perk this is.

It frees up an extra HDMI port

Hisense H8G Quantum Series Review

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Joe Maring / Android Central)

On the subject of saving space, ditching the Shield in favor of a full television results in you freeing up one extra HDMI port. HDMI ports are a highly valuable currency in the living room, with consoles, soundbars, and other devices eager to take up a free spot if it's available.

Most TVs have between three and four HDMI-out options available, and while that might be more than enough for some people, it's the bare minimum for others. By choosing a television with Android TV built-in, you ensure you have a free HDMI port for other gadgets you may have now or plan on getting down the road.

Everything is more tightly integrated

Hisense H65G Series TV Settings Menu

Source: Andrew Myrick / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

With streaming devices like the NVIDIA Shield TV, HDMI CEC controls allow you to use the Shield's included remote to control your television's power and volume. It's a great touch that makes the whole experience feel more seamless, but if you're after top-notch integration from top to bottom, there's no beating the built-in Android TV setup.

In addition to controlling the Android TV interface, the remote you get with your Android TV television allows for all of the other hardware-focused controls you're after. You can use it to change picture settings, switch between inputs, adjust the backlighting, etc. It allows for all-in-one controls you just can't get with a Shield TV, and the convenience of all this is pretty amazing.

Not only that, only having to worry about one remote and not two is pure bliss. Juggling a couple of remotes might not seem like the end of the world, but in day-to-day use, having just one is so much nicer.

Some TVs have hands-free Google Assistant

Hisense H9G

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Joe Maring / Android Central)

While Android TV is pretty similar across all types of devices, televisions with the OS built-in sometimes offer exclusive features you won't find on the NVIDIA Shield TV — one of the coolest being hands-free Google Assistant.

If you want to talk to the Assistant on the Shield TV, you have to press the Assistant button on the remote. You can still do that with televisions that have Android TV built-in, but some of them allow you to do just that by saying "Hey Google" or "OK Google" at any time. I have this on my Hisense H9G, and I honestly can't envision living without it.

When it comes time to turn down the lights, adjust the volume, or open Netflix, I can do all of that without having to ever grab the remote. It's not a feature I use all the time, but I'm so thankful it's there when I do use it.

The overall value is a lot better

Hisense H9G

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Last but certainly not least, getting an Android TV television can be a much better value than a Shield TV — seriously. The Shield TV and Shield TV Pro will set you back $150 (opens in new tab) and $200 (opens in new tab), respectively, and all you're getting there is a device to access Android TV.

Then you have something like the Hisense H8G. It's a television with Android TV built-in, and it can often be found for just $400. While that is $250 more than the regular Shield TV, you have to remember you're getting an actual television and not just a streaming device for that price. This specific variant of the H8G touts a 50-inch 4K HDR display, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, four HDMI ports, and a sleek design. And, of course, the Android TV software is fully integrated throughout the entire television.

The amount of money you spend for something like the Hisense H8G is greater than a Shield TV, but considering that one gives you an Android TV device and a full-on television for just a bit more cash, it's clear to us which gives you better bang-for-your-buck.

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

21 Comments
  • This is one of the few times I disagree with most of AC's assessment on products. On each of your points, these are my remarks: - Your entertainment stand is less cluttered (Agree)
    - It frees up an extra HDMI port (Yes, but that's what HDMI ports are for, plugging devices, right? Plus, if you're freeing HDMI ports, it's probably because you need it for something else, potentially invalidating your first reason.)
    - Everything is more tightly integrated (Not necessarily. To name one case scenario, an older 4K TV that still works perfectly, but the firmware and software are not being updated anymore, or "reached end of life" according to the manufacturer, can be instilled new life by just adding an Nvidia Shield TV, or any other android box for that matter, without having to create more electronic waste, and saving a couple of 100s.)
    - Some TVs have hands-free Google Assistant ("Some" being the key word here. Does the fact that you need to press or hold a button to use Google Assistant really justify upgrading a TV? Plus, I can fully control my Nvidia Shield TV's Google Assistant from my phone, hands-free.)
    - The overall value is a lot better (This only applies if you're getting a TV because you need one, not because you want Android TV and want to avoid all the previous reasons.) So, you see? These "reasons" you mention are entirely dependent on each person's scenario. If you NEED a new TV, because yours stopped working, had 1 or more dead pixels, or something similar, or you're just adding a new TV to your home, sure, these reasons are good, some more than the others. However, if your TV has all you want on a TV in terms of hardware (4K, ARC, etc) but needs a software refresh that the manufacturers will not agree to provide, it is cheaper to just get an Android TV box (I prefer Nvidia Shield TV, but it's a matter of taste and need).
  • I agree with vette95... there's no real compelling argument here for a TV with Android / Google TV baked in versus any of the other native implementations (e.g. Roku, FireTV). HDMI ports are there for a reason, pick the best panel for your needs. OTT devices are much less expensive than televisions and are on a much shorter product update cycle. All but AppleTV have small stick form factor options that can hang off the back of the TV and not take up any additional real-estate.
  • I can somewhat agree with a good bit of this, and in fact, some of these thoughts were among my own when recently upgrading the TV in my office, resulting with me getting a TV with Fire TV included. I'd also agree with a few counter points from @vette95, and then add my own observation that a not-small number of folks get the NVIDIA solution for the additional use as a gaming platform or Plex streaming device for which it is well suited.
  • I have a 5 year old Sony (XBR900C) with Android TV. The updates have made the responsiveness to basic non-smart TV functions such as volume and input switching slow, and the Android TV functions that use internet frustrating to use. It is 4K HDR, so no need for a new screen. I ended up plugging in a Roku stick that I got on sale for $40. When the screen or sound start to die off, I will of course get a new TV, and pretty much all new TVs are smart TVs of some sort, but the idea of firmware/software updates crippling my TV is irksome.
  • I just got a Sony XBR-55X950H TV which is fairly premium. This is my first exposure to Android TV and I am not impressed. It would be great if it worked but Android TV is very slow and there are constant crashes and freezes across multiple apps. It's so bad that I've actually given up on it and instead use my Amazon Fire Stick TV 4K which is infinitely better. Kind of ridiculous that I have to do that but at least I have another option. My previous 2 TVs were Samsungs and the app experience with them was very good. Beware.
  • Yeah, please don't base the android tv experience off the built in processor. It's rarely good. A dedicated box or dongle is generally the way to go.
  • You are way wrong. I have a Hisense Android TV and is way to slow, not enough processor. Attached Nvidia Shield as soon as got. Amazing difference.
  • The new chromecast was able to hook up with my tv and control input, power, and volume. It turns on directly to the chromecast. It's an hdmi port used but it's one that would be free otherwise. Both that andy shield will be updated well past any TV OEM updates their devices, and I like to keep my tv for awhile.
  • Maybe they've improved it on the newer model, but I have a HiSense H9F and the Android TV interface on it is so slow and unstable that it is practically useless. Much of the time, I've ended up either selecting and casting programs from my phone or I've used a Roku stick that I bought in order to get Apple TV+. I vastly prefer the Android TV interface, but it has been an exercise in frustration with the built-in instance. Last weekend, I finally gave in and bought one the new Chromecast with Google TV. The difference in usability though that is monumental.
  • Wait what. Lol.
  • I've had a Sony TV with Android for a few years and agree it's one less device to deal with, especially when you already set top boxes, consoles etc already plugged in. But Android TV is slow and buggy on mine, pretty sure an Nvidia Shield or new Chromecast would be smoother.
  • A LOT smoother.
  • No No no no!. Never buy a TV with Android TV included. Always go with a separate box. This has already been debated and worked through long ago.
  • I feel like this post was sponsored by Hisense.
  • I have a Nvidia Shield Android TV box (6) on smart TVs in my home. I have to disagree with this article.
  • I also disagree. I have several TVs with built in Android and they are slow, and the streaming is terribly glitchy even using ethernet. Pay $50 for a Chromecast with Google TV dongle and kiss your Smart TV troubles goodbye - So. Much. Better.
  • Complete opposite advice I give everyone who asks me. TV apps are usually slower and support dies much quicker. A plug in box tends to have more processing power, memory and polish. The whole point in having hdmi ports is to use them and these boxes aren't the size of the first vcrs. Hell, most are behind the TV and unseen.
  • I really can't support the concept of a TV with the systems built in. People keep their TVs far longer than they receive updates. Why should I trash a perfectly good TV because it's "no longer compatible?"
  • Let's not forget the ability of Nvidia shield as a Plex server, I have 2 , one in the living room
    is a Plex server connected to an Audio video Receiver ,attached to it is a 10 tb WD external
    storage with blu ray copies, the full theater sound cannot be compared. As far as freeing
    HDMI port, most, if not all usually have video receivers to which devices with HDMI's
    are connected, hence only one HDMI port on tv is being use.
  • is say the shield is better than most android tv,s ability to run android, but I got lucky with my sony 900e. it still runs android pretty perfect. I got the new Google tv and it runs equally smooth... good thing is though the Google tv will update and last longer I'm sure. but if you get a good/or panel luck sony with the latest processor then it'll be good for some years then when your scared to do the next tv update cause the hardware is lagging behind the software , then it's time for the newest sheild. just my experience so far. I'll try it again when my next android tv sony starts getting outdated.
  • Hi usually never comment on articles but I need to disagree. I have a Sony KD-49XE9005 and the Android interface is very slow. It has a google assistant button on the remote control that is so slow that is almost unusable.
    To be honest an external box is much smoother. I have an Apple TV and PS4 attached and the experience is much much better. As per HDMI Ports the TV has 4 of them, so I think I am pretty much covered.