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 and $200, 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

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