I have owned an NVIDIA Shield TV for five years now and it's never let me down. While there's a hot new Android TV streaming dongle on the box, last year's NVIDIA Shield TV (2019) is worth recommending over the Chromecast with Google TV, even with the wide price difference between them. That price difference is a little bit closer right now as a Black Friday deal brings the Shield TV down to $130 at both Amazon and Best Buy.
Best Android TV Experience
Great remote and greater power still make this the best.
While the new Chromecast with Google TV is making waves, the NVIDIA version is the better buy not just because it's more powerful but because it has a more robust interface. The inclusion of a Recents screen where you can quickly flip back and forth between apps makes it great for indecisive watchers like me.
Yeah, it's only $20 off, but the last time the Shield TV was down this low was back in early April on my birthday, which was a full six months ago. And as I mentioned, there are a few reasons to get the 2019 NVIDIA Shield TV over the new Google TV. First and foremost, this dongle is much more powerful, and that means it'll buffer fresh streams quicker so that your picture goes from SD to HD in apps like VRV and CBS All Access much quicker without having to rely on Ethernet instead of Wi-Fi. Secondly, while the new Google TV interface looks all shiny and new, it's still missing some important integrations and features — like the ability to quickly swap between recently used apps through the Recents menu that I adore and use so often on my Shield.
It's also worth pointing out that the Shield TV will get the Google TV update in the future, but NVIDIA will work with Google to make sure that the update is an improvement over the current Android TV UI before it sends it to a single device. NVIDIA has done this before, and that commitment to quality and long-term system updates has made it the longest-supported Android device in history. We have no clue how long the new Chromecast will get updates, but we can expect to see five years of updates on the Shield TV because the original Shield TV is still getting updates over five years after it first launched.
Also, while the new Chromecast remote is super small and kinda cute, it's missing some basic buttons that the Shield remote has, like a play/pause button and dedicated rewind/fast forward buttons! For apps like Disney+, this is important because of how these apps lay out their playback controls on-screen. And of course, if you get an NVIDIA Shield TV, you can grab the NVIDIA Controller and use the back triggers and fast-forward rewind in a number of apps. It's an addictive feature and I absolutely recommend it.
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Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.