The Nvidia Shield TV is the best way to do Android TV period. Yes, you can buy televisions with Android TV built-in and there are a few other companies making Android TV-powered boxes, but if you want to do it right, you should just buy a Shield TV and be done with it.
If you're the type who likes to do a bit of PC-class gaming, you just got another reason why it's the only box you should buy — GeForce Now is officially official and out of beta, ready for anyone with a game library to start playing.
GeForce Now is a little like Stadia, but it's different in a lot of ways, too. You're mostly going to be playing games you already own through services like Steam, UPlay, or EA Origin. At launch, there are a handful of free-to-play games like Fortnite (of course there's Fortnite), but the service is really meant to take the game library you already own and let you stream it to almost any Android phone, Mac, PC, or Shield TV. Yes, Chromebook support is also coming soon, too.
GeForce Now works on your Android phone, too, but come on — that big screen is begging for it.
While playing a game like Metro Exodus with RTX on at 1080p at 60fps on your phone or MacBook Air sounds cool, imagine how much better it would be on the big television you probably already have through a little black box that connects to a virtual Nvidia GPU.
And Nvidia's not blowing smoke up our you-know-whats, either. I am part of the 300,000 people who used the beta, and I can tell you that besides any internet lag spikes that can happen with any multiplayer game (yes, GeForce Now lets you play multiplayer with your existing friend list), it's a pretty amazing service. Besides the frame rate — which is locked at 60fps through GeForce Now — games I own and play locally aren't really any better than they are through the service. There's none of that weird upscaling that Google seems to be doing with Stadia, none of the connection wonk, just an awesome way to use gigabytes of data streaming high-end games on less-than-stellar hardware.
In fact, I think GeForce Now and a Shield TV is far better than any console, especially if you already do a little PC gaming and have a library of games. You get to play with the friends you already have through Steam or Epic Games, you're not stuck at 30fps, and you aren't locked into a single ecosystem because you buy the games through the normal channels and can play them on any PC.
Free is great. Cheap with Ray-Tracing and unlimited session length is greater.
The final kicker is pricing. There are two tiers of GeForce Now — Free and Founders. The biggest penalty for the Free tier is that you have to save and quit every hour because the session length is capped. You also have "standard access" compared to "priority access," and there's no support for RTX. In regards to the capped session time, Nvidia has told us that you can have as many one-hour sessions as you want a day with the Free tier. In other words, you can use the five minutes of downtime to grab a Red Bull.
The Founders tier is equally great. It's priced at $4.99 per month after a free three-month trial and has no session length and includes RTX (Ray-Tracing) support for games that have it. Don't listen to people who say Ray-Tracing is trash; they probably don't have a powerful enough GPU to use it at high settings. But with GeForce Now and a Shield TV, your living room console does.
At the end of the day, you actually own the games you're streaming.
My biggest beef with most cloud-gaming services is that you buy and play your games through a single service's cloud. I want to own my games. With GeForce Now and my Shield TV, I not only own my games but can play them anywhere, too. I'll see you on the battlefield or at the track, gamer.
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