GDC 2015 | Nvidia presents SHIELD, an Android TV and gaming console for the living room
Yesterday at the GDC (Game Developers Conference) taking place in San Francisco, Nvidia expanded its SHIELD lineup with an Android TV console. Thanks to its powerful 64-bit Nvidia Tegra X1 SoC (cooled by a small fan) and 3 GB of RAM, it's capable of playing Ultra HD 4K videos and easily handling any Android apps and games. PC titles such as Batman: Arkham Night and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be available for streaming from Nvidia GRID cloud platform or a gaming PC. But that's not all: Nvidia partnered up with several AAA game studios, which will port their titles such as Crysis 3, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Dying Light and Doom 3: BFG to be played on Android natively. Several of these games were demonstrated running on the console in 1080p and 60 fps with some PC-like quality features like dynamic lighting enabled. This puts it in a completely different league than past Android consoles such as Ouya, which didn't gather much traction due to the limited Android game library.
SHIELD offers an impressive array of interfaces: there's microUSB 2.0, microSD card slot (up to 128 GB, which is good, considering the internal storage is only 16 GB), two full-size USB 3.0 ports (HFS, NTFS and exFAT formatted external storage will be supported), HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 (up to 3840x2160 60 fps output) and gigabit Ethernet. Wireless communications include Bluetooth 4.1 and 2x2 MIMO Wi-Fi 802.11ac (dual-band). Nvidia claims the console is capable of simultaneous game streaming from GRID and broadcasting the game process to Twitch, and the company is also working on a special webcam accessory. Up to 7.1 channel 24-bit/192kHz sound output is supported over HDMI, but there's also an analogue 3.5-mm combo audio jack.
The device sports a stylish design and weighs 654 g (23 oz), measuring 130x210x25 mm (5.1x8.3x1.0 inch), though that shouldn't matter a lot since it's expected to sit anchored to a TV and the included 40 W power adapter. Controlling games is possible with the familiar SHIELD controller (included), four of which can be used at once (presumably for split-screen gaming), or the optional new SHIELD remote. There's also an IR port that supports Logitech Harmony remote.
SHIELD will become available for purchase in May for just $200. Nvidia promises that by that time there will be 50 SHIELD-optimized games in the SHIELD game store.
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