NVIDIA has updated its Shield TV line up at long last, giving us a completely redesigned standard model while preserving the sleek console design for the Pro model. Both ship with a redesigned controller that's both easier to use and harder to lose, and
Choosing between the two will depend on your living room setup, whether the Shield TV Pro's enhanced gaming and Plex services are worth the extra money, and arguably most importantly whether you already own a Shield TV.
What's the difference?
It used to be a pretty easy choice whether you wanted to go with the Shield TV or the Shield TV Pro. While you had to look to the internal specs to spot the differences between the two, the Pro model offered a substantial storage upgrade that justified the extra cost.
This time around, NVIDIA has made things much more clear with a radically redesigned Shield TV that offers a spec bump over the older models in a svelte and streamlined tube that's designed to take up barely any space behind your TV. It's not a stick or dongle, either, so it should comfortably fit between any TV shelf and wall. We think the Shield TV is the more interesting device that's likely to appeal to more casual users who just want to plug something into their TV and get to streaming.
The standard Shield TV has been scaled down to easily hide anywhere behind your living room TV.
Meanwhile, the Pro model has maintained the same edgy look as previous Shield TV models. It can be configured as a SmartThings hub for controlling smart home devices and there are two USB ports for connecting external storage, keyboards, or an OTA antenna. It also offers NVIDIA's full suite of gaming services and features along with 16GB of internal storage and spec bump up to 3GB of RAM. This is the option designed for the more hardcore tech enthusiasts who love to tinker and accessorize their gadgets.
It's worth reiterating that both models are still great for gamers and support the full library of games from NVIDIA's GeForce NOW service and GameStream, however, you might run into some issues on the tube Shield TV attempting to play games from the Google Play Store that require 3GB of RAM. That means if you want to download and play games like Doom 3 or Portal right onto your Shield TV, you're best off going with the Pro model.
|Category||Shield TV||Shield TV Pro|
|Processor||Tegra X1+||Tegra X1+|
|Storage||8 GB||16 GB|
Beyond the packaging for the internals, the other major upgrade came in the remote department and is consistent across both models. The previous remote style was too thin and easy to lose, and the touch sensor for controlling the volume was more flash than substance.
The redesigned remote is much more substantial to hold with a more traditional button layout that features dedicated media controls a big Netflix button and a customizable button in the top-right corner that can be programmed to open settings, toggle the AI-enhanced upscaling, mute volume and much more.
The new remote is designed to work with the older Shield models and will be available as a standalone product sold sometime in the future.
A great entry point for anyone new to Shield TV
The NVIDIA Shield TV is hands-down the best Android TV box you can buy, and that still rings true with the 2019 editions. The standard Shield TV is an easy recommendation for anyone looking for a simple way to stream from your favorite Android streaming apps, while those looking for more connectivity options will definitely gravitate toward the Shield TV Pro.
But things get a bit more complicated if you already own an older version of the NVIDIA Shield TV — specifically the 2017 NVIDIA Shield TV Pro. Odds are good that your Shield TV is still running great, thanks to NVIDIA doing a consistently great job with timely software updates. The 2017 model also came with 500GB of internal storage which was probably a big reason why you would have opted for the Pro model.
Of course, the 2019 line up does offer some technical upgrades that may be worth upgrading for. Both models support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, and the AI-enhanced upscaling will not be coming to older Shields so if that feature entices you then it is worth considering an upgrade.
The best balance of price and features
The non-"Pro" NVIDIA Shield TV is a compact new design that still delivers outstanding performance and improved AI-powered upscaling. A great choice if you want the best Android TV experience.
For hardcore streaming enthusiasts
The Shield TV Pro is the better choice if you care about expandable storage, using your Shield TV as a Plex server, and care about NVIDIA's gaming offerings. It offers more connectivity options and can be used as a hub for SmartThings.
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