There are a lot of Android TV streaming boxes, and most of these cost in the vicinity of $50. Then there's the NVIDIA Shield TV Pro, which retails for $200. Why does it cost four times as much as most of the products in its category?
That's what I couldn't understand when the Shield TV Pro launched back in 2019. I was using a Xiaomi Mi Box S at the time, and I was annoyed at how laggy it was at playing 4K content, so I decided to buy the Shield TV and see if it do a better job.
It did that, and so much more. I have over a dozen devices in the house that are based on Android TV — including a half-dozen TVs, several dongles and streaming boxes, and three projectors — and the Shield TV Pro stands head and tall over everything else.
The Shield TV Pro is the best Android TV box by far
A lot of what makes the Shield TV Pro great is down to NVIDIA's work behind the scenes. The hardware is uniquely suited for a streaming device, and you get a level of fluidity with the Shield TV Pro that's lacking on any other Android TV device.
But the main reason why I continue to buy the Shield TV Pro is the software updates. The Shield TV Pro will get software updates far beyond any phone — including the iPhone — and that's a testament to NVIDIA's long-term commitment.
That's why the Shield TV Pro continues to thrive while its rivals fall by the wayside due to lack of updates. In fact, I can't think of any other Android-based device that has picked up as many updates.
That's why I bought three of these over the years, and I'm glad I did. I wasn't sure if it would justify its price, but it did that — and then some.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.