NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro is a 4K@60Hz, Dolby Vision enabled Google/Android TV 11 console. But that doesn’t quite do it justice, and it’s the Rolls Royce of media center consoles.
We’re testing both the NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro (this review) and the NVIDIA SHIELD TV dongle NVIDIA SHIELD TV – the dongle you need most (review). There are many similarities with all the pertinent information in the SHIELD TV dongle review, so you might want to start there first.
Australian review NVIDIA SHIELD TV model P2897
|website||SHIELD product page|
|Price||$349.95 Warning – if you’re buying used, make sure it’s a 2019 model P2897 or later with Google Android TV 11|
|Out of||Harvey Norman and many CE and computer shops|
|country of origin||China|
|company||NVIDIA (founded in 1993) is a global leader in GeForce and RTX graphics processing units (GPU), graphics API software, and GeForce Now cloud gaming.|
|More||CyberShack NVIDIA news and reviews|
We use Fail (below expectations), Pass (meets expectations), and Exceed (exceeds expectations or is best in class) for many of the following. Occasionally we give a pass rating of + to show it’s good but doesn’t quite make it to Exceed.
You can click on most of the images to enlarge them.
Repeat – we’re only adding new information about the Pro version and strongly encourage you to read the SHEILD TV review first.
Key differences between Nvidia SHIELD TV model P4340 (tube) and Pro model P2897
Some reviews call this the 2019 model; Technically, the hardware is the same. The operating system is Google/Android TV 11 and the firmware is now at 9.1 offering much more functionality.
|remote control||The same thing||The same thing|
|Memory/Storage||2/8GB/microSD up to 512GB 10Mbps UHS 1 or faster||3/16GB/USB memory|
|processor||16nm Tegra X1+ runs in 32-bit mode (normal for Android 11 TV)||Same – runs in 64-bit mode for more processing power|
|ports||Power, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet (mountable network storage)||Plus 2 x USB 3.0 5V/0.9A/4.5W 480Mbps|
|extras||Smart home functionality||Advanced Smart Home Plex or Kodi Server|
|Video||HDMI 2.0b 18Gbps supports Dolby Vision, HDR10+ 4K@60fps||The same thing|
|Wireless Internet access||Wi-Fi 5AC 2×2 MIMO 2.4GHz and 5GHz||The same thing|
|Chromecast||BT 5.0 + LE 4K Chromecast||The same thing|
First impression – Edgy – Exceed
This is roughly the size of an old VHS videocassette, 2159 x 98 x 26mm x 250g, with a lot more rough edges and a subtle NVIDIA green light stripe. As you can see from the table above, it runs Google/Android TV 11 in 64-bit mode (faster), has more storage (16GB is still minimal) and adds 2 x USB-A 3.0 480Mbps -Added ports that can connect to a PC, NAS, etc.
Input is via Wi-Fi 5 ac 2X2 MIMO or Gigabit Ethernet and the full suite of apps and streaming services from Google/Android TV 11.
The output is exclusively via HDMI 2.0b to a TV.
configuration – Exceed if you are tech savvy
According to the dongle check, this is done via Google / Android TV.
But the key to this device is expandability via the two USB ports, and it runs as a Plex media server. You need to be tech savvy to take advantage of this.
Plex Server and Client – PASS
The NVIDIA Plex client does most of the things you’d expect, although you’ll need to add an external NAS (Network Attached Storage) or USB-C storage device.
It has enough power to run a paid VPN like Private Internet Access or NordVPN that also supports torrenting. We tested with PIA and it increases ping times from around 10 to 15ms and reduces DL speeds by 5-10% (depending on VPN server location). We haven’t tested this extensively with simultaneous 4K playback, but the Tegra X1+ processor appears to have the capability.
Alternatively, you can load a media player like VLC or Kodi to play external content.
USB-A (PRO version) – EXCEED with limitations
The two USB-A 3.0 ports on the PRO can be powered depending on power requirements (maximum 5V/0.9A per port)
- Act as a DVR – it handles USB flash drives up to 512GB and HDD/SSD up to 2TB (minimum)
- Play content from a USB device – the maximum transfer rate is around 200 Mbit/s (25 Mbit/s suitable for 4K)
- Supports a 720p 4K webcam/microphone
- USB or dongle receiver for keyboards and mice
- Supports a TV tuner (Hauppauge WinTV-dual HD DVB-T2 #1590 for Australia) but may require Plex, Kodi or Android TV Live Channels to act as an OTA interface. Untested so buy from a retailer that allows returns if it doesn’t work). More here.
- Output audio to a DAC-equipped amplified speaker or AV receiver
- We couldn’t test with a USB-A hub, but it should work if the voltage/amperage is within spec.
- Bluetooth 5.0 can support a keyboard/trackpad such as Logitech keyboards and mice.
If you select the USB device as “internal” storage, it will be formatted appropriately and you won’t be able to use it on a PC without reformatting, so it’s a permanent addition.
Storage caveats – PASS(able)
To keep costs under control, it only comes with 16GB of internal storage – about 10GB free before you add too many apps, games or 4K movies (compressed movies are around 3GB each).
Therefore, you need to add an external NAS (Network Attached Storage) or USB storage for most applications.
NAS – Gigabit Ethernet (1000Mbps/125Mbps full duplex)
It can access most network storage devices. We tested on a 2TB NAS and got just over 80MB/s, although this dropped to 30MB/s when accessed from multiple devices – still more than enough for 4K. No USB volts/amps issues here.
CyberShack’s View – For the additional $100, tech savvy should buy NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro via dongle.
Enough has been said about the capabilities of SHIELD TV and Pro.
Gaming features aside, it’s a perfect streamer with the ability to stream content over a network, USB, or the Internet. It’s Google Android TV 11 and it adds a lot of extra features regardless of your current smart TV operating system.
Cons – You need to be a bit tech savvy to use all the features.
NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro
- Credible claim as the best Google Android TV streamer
- Could replace a Windows Media Center PC
- Adds Chromecast, Apple TV and more to a dumb TV
- You need to be tech savvy to get more out of it.