At Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang announced the chip vendor's latest hardware effort, the Shield, which is the world's first 4K Android TV that also doubles up as a game console.The Shield comes with an H.265 decoder that can handle 4K at 60Hz with 10-bit video processing. Another highlight is the ability to search for content on the Play Store using voice.
Made of one-piece diecast aluminium, the Shield is ultrathin and features Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi ac connectivity as well as USB connectors. Under the hood, the console is powered by NVIDIA's Tegra X1 chip that is claimed to be 35 times faster than Apple TV.
NVIDIA has also announced a Bluetooth-enabled Shield Remote that features an iPod-like spin button. There's also a Shield game controller that is good for 40 hours of gaming on a single charge. Each SHIELD Android TV will come bundled with a Shield game controller for free.
NVIDIA is making a content-curated store that features the "best of the best" games tailored for the Shield game console. At the time of launch, over 50 games will be available, including titles like Half Life: 2, Contrast, and Borderlands. That's not all, as creative director of id Software Tim Willits was on hand to reveal that DOOM will be making its way to Android. The game will run at 60fps, and will include all the content from DOOM 3 as well as the first two titles in the series.
Oh, and the Shield runs Crysis 3. A game console powered by a mobile SoC runs Crysis 3 in multiplayer.
The price for all these features? $199. As for a launch date, Huang mentioned that the Shield console will launch in May.
During the event, Huang talked about how smart television devices will replace dedicated devices over time, making a reference to how smartphones replaced dedicated GPS and music players. The Shield is the vendor's efforts at doing just that.
NVIDIA Launches Its First Living-Room Entertainment Device
New SHIELD Android TV Console Brings 4K Entertainment to Every Home – Harnessing Tegra X1, Android TV OS and GRID Game-Streaming Service
SAN FRANCISCO—Game Developers Conference—March 3, 2015—NVIDIA today introduced NVIDIA® SHIELD™, the world's first Android™ TV console, which delivers video, music, apps and amazing games to the home.
Built on Android TV, SHIELD can play top-quality 4K video content, includes one-click access to Google Voice Search and provides the richness of Android's app ecosystem.
SHIELD is a sleek device that comes loaded with cutting-edge NVIDIA technologies, including the recently launched NVIDIA® Tegra® X1 processor.
SHIELD is also the gateway to the NVIDIA GRID™ game-streaming service. Powered by GeForce® GTX™ supercomputers in the cloud, GRID delivers an on-demand "Netflix for games" experience at up to 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second.
"SHIELD will change the way we enjoy digital entertainment at home," said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of NVIDIA. "It's an incredibly powerful, efficient and advanced living room entertainment device. It's the best Android TV experience. And it can transform into a serious gaming machine. It's made to game."
Made to Game
SHIELD – sold with the SHIELD controller made for serious gaming – is a single platform with access to a wealth of great games.
First, 50+ Android titles optimized for SHIELD will be available for download, including AAA titles like Crysis 3, Doom 3®: BFG Edition™ and Borderlands: TPS. These can be played at blistering speed, thanks to SHIELD's Tegra X1 processor, with its 256-core Maxwell™ architecture GPU and 64-bit CPU.
Second, favorite AAA titles, including console games, can be streamed using the GRID on-demand game-streaming service. GRID will include with its subscription price access to 50 titles, such as Batman: Arkham Origins, GRID 2 and Metro: Last Light Redux, with additional titles added each week.
Third, the GRID service can be used to purchase and stream new release AAA titles – including Batman: Arkham Knight and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt coming later this year.
Broad Developer Support
Some of the world's leading game developers and publishers have embraced SHIELD and the GRID service.
"The incredible processing power of Tegra X1 enables us to bring Doom 3: BFG to Android and we're excited by the possibilities that GRID is bringing to gaming." - Tim Willits, studio director, id Software
"Tegra X1's enormous processing capabilities running on Android TV gives us access to a much broader audience, and we're delighted to partner with NVIDIA to explore a variety of exciting possibilities for SHIELD, including the remastering of the survival horror classic, Resident Evil 5." - Jun Takeuchi, managing corporate officer, CAPCOM
"SHIELD is definitely made to game and thanks to Tegra X1 we have The Witcher: Battle Arena playing natively on SHIELD. With GRID, we'll be able to bring new hit games to fans immediately." - Benjamin Lee, The Witcher: Battle Arena lead producer, CDPROJEKT
Pricing and Availability
SHIELD will be available in May, starting at $199 with a controller. Optional accessories include additional controllers, a remote control and a stand enabling the device to stand vertically.
SHIELD is the central member of the SHIELD family of devices, complementing the SHIELD tablet, the ultimate tablet for gamers; and the SHIELD portable, the ultimate portable gaming device. More information is available at https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/shield/.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.