Don't forget to buy an HDMI cable for your NVIDIA Shield Android TV
Whether or not your shiny new set top box includes all of the required accessories is a bit hit or miss, and in the case of the new Shield Android TV the one thing missing is a crucial part: an HDMI cable. At this point a majority of us probably have an extra HDMI cable (or five) laying around and can plug right in, but if you're starting from scratch or have only ever used in-box cables, you'll need to buy an HDMI cable before you start using your shiny new Shield.
So what kind of cable do you need for the best performance, and what are some good options? We have you covered right here.
What kind of cable do I need?
Getting a good, high-quality cable is a lot easier now than at the start of the HD transition several years ago. The only added wrinkle nowadays is that the Shield Android TV can do both 4K and HDR video, meaning there are just a couple things to keep in mind. And even if you don't have a 4K TV right now, it's best to look to the future for a cable that will last a while.
When you're trying to pick out a cable, you want to find one that follows the HDMI 2.0 standard — you'll also often see specs like high-speed, but it's tough to find a modern cable that isn't high-speed so don't be lured to a different cable by that. Once you find a cable that is properly HDMI 2.0 compliant, the next thing you should care about is length. Rather than simply saying "longer is better!", measure out how far you actually need to run the cable, and buy the proper length.
More: Shield vs. Shield Pro: Which should I buy?
And that's it! No, really, that's it. Find a highly-rated cable that's compliant with the latest standard, and it'll work perfectly with your Shield Android TV. It doesn't matter if the cord is braided or the connectors are coated in gold — digital is digital, so it either works or it doesn't. The rest is cosmetics.
Good HDMI cables to buy
At this point you can go to just about any store and find an HDMI cable, but if you do a little research and pick ones that make the most sense for you in terms of features and value. When it comes to digital cables, you don't have to spend an arm and a leg.
Simply going with Amazon's self-branded Amazon Basics HDMI cable will do just fine. It meets all of the latest standards, comes in various lengths from 3 to 25 feet, and can cost you as little as $5.99. Sure it isn't flashy, but it doesn't have to be — this is just a nondescript black cable that will fade into the background of your entertainment center. If you want something "fancy" looking you can go with a more expensive alternative, but it really isn't necessary.
Place the order for your HDMI cable at the same time as your new Shield Android TV, and you'll guarantee that the minute the box arrives you'll be able to plug it in and get up and running.
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Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.