Google has done a great job building up Android TV to be something for those of us that need a little more than the Chromecast can offer, but it's the folks at NVIDIA that are going to take this platform and make it something everyone wants to have in their living room. It's been quite a while since the GDC unveil of the NVIDIA Shield Android TV, where we learned the Tegra X1 and NVIDIA's slick gaming controller would be coming together to make a set top box, and we left that event wondering why the launch date was all the way out in May.
Now that we see the NVIDIA Shield Android TV on stage at Google I/O, alongside some updates to the Android TV platform, it's all coming together. In fact, this impressive little box is available to purchase right now.
We've known just about everything you can know about this box — rather, as much as you can know without taking one home and playing with it — for a while now, and our review does a great job filling in the rest. NVIDIA's Tegra X1 processor adds some 64-bit might behind Android TV, allowing 4K video streaming and AAA game titles to play effortlessly. Toss in an Ethernet port, a controller and remote that allow for wireless audio, multiple USB 3.0 ports, and the NVIDIA Grid game streaming service in 1080p, and you've got more than just a set top box.
NVIDIA has effectively made an Android TV game console, offering everything from casual Android games to AAA titles and a direct connection to your PC if you've got the right hardware. It's all the stuff we already like about Android TV with some great hardware and software support. NVIDIA claims you can plug just about anything in to the USB slots and get them to work, from webcams and keyboard/mouse combos to your massive and totally legal media collection. You'll also find HDMI-CEC is supported, so this box will function just like a Chromecast when you want it to.
So where can you buy one? NVIDIA has made the Shield Android TV available for purchase on Amazon, Best Buy, and on their own website. These kits include the box and a single gamepad, but NVIDIA has also made the remote control, vertical stand, and additional gamepads available for purchase. You can pick up the 16GB version for $199, or shell out $299 for a 500GB Pro version. Both versions include 90 days of Google Play Music and a $30 Google Play Gift Card, with the Pro version also including a copy of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! when the game launches on July 1.
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