Review: NVIDIA Shield TV Pro - a dissertation apparently
Two months later:
I am seriously glad living in semi-isolation made me crazy enough to buy this, and that's apart from the Plex server, which has had some growing pains.
This is an incredibly good media streamer. I cannot emphasize enough that it's upgraded my entire viewing experience a lot. Everything looks so much better and crisper. Due to a (unsettlingly good) sale, I got a TV for my bedroom that is more recent, also 4K, and moved the SHIELD in here. It's not as nice a TV as my main one, but 2019 4K has definitely made some advances, and it still upgraded my picture noticeably. Which led me to compare the living room TV with bedroom TV on SHIELD objectively.
My living room TV, although 4K, is from 2017 and trust me, comparing the two TVs, it shows, but comparing SHIELD on both, it upgraded my older living room TV significantly in sharpness, clarity, and after some finagling, color. It's almost as good as the newer TV. So if your TV is older than 2019, this might legit improve your TV watching experience. I can't promise, but it's something to consider, especially if you've had to put off upgrading your TV this year but need a new media streamer.
Also: with 2019 TV, we didn't have to do any finagling with color at all; it worked fine out of box.
SHIELD Specs Regular and Pro
The NVIDIA SHIELD TV comes in two flavors: regular and Pro. Here are the differences in the Pro:
RAM: Pro: 3GB of RAM; Regular: 2 GB
Internal Storage: Pro: 16 GB; Regular: 8 GB
MicroSD: Regular only
USB: Pro only, 2 USB 3.0
Network storage: both allow you to mount network shares
Plex Server: Pro only
Wireless: 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi
The USBs allow the Pro to have expanded storage of two types; you can attach a USB drive and choose to format it as internal and it will be treated as internal storage. You can also attach drives as removable storage. The former is incredibly useful to expand that 16 GB storage--especially if you use the SHIELD for gaming--but with this: while pretty much any SSD or flash drive will work for extra internal, using the one NVIDIA recommends works better.
SanDisk 128GB Extreme PRO USB 3.1 Solid State Flash Drive - $42.99
There's also a 256 GB version
I started off using a 128 GB Kingston solid state I had and it worked okay but was cranky and SHIELD complained it was slow sometimes, which was something I'd noticed but didn't connect to the drive specifically. The SanDisk is faster and required no effort to add to the SHIELD.
This is important especially if you want to run a Plex Media Server on your SHIELD.
So I did run into problems, but not due to SHIELD, but a known issue with Plex: the database got corrupt. Because Plex has no backend access (and no way to backup, and ugh, don't start me on the issues)), the solution is basically 'erase' either the specific library or just start over from scratch. Generally, with a corrupt database, its better to scrub and reinstall. I ordered the Sandisk, waited for it to arrive, then reset the SHIELD to factory, moved it to my room, and did the configuration/Plex installation.
So far, there is nothing Plex can't handle playing on the LAN without a problem. I tested with two friends, all of us watching the same movie at the same time, and watched the stats; for the most part, the only thing that affected playback was internet speed.
Speaking of, if anyone would like to help me test Plex watch together, email me or leave a comment, especially if you have or are interested in getting Plex; this would be a good way to get introduced to it. All you need is me to send you an invite to share my library and when you get it, set up a Plex account, then we'll meet on Discord so I can get live feedback while we watch and talk about the movie. It can be watched via browser, computer client, app or on a client app on your TV, streamer, tablet, or phone.
I was thinking we'd watch Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or Legally Blonde. Or Clueless!
1.) Google Assistant is built in if you want to use it.
2.) Chromecast is built in.
3.) It is Alexa compatible; all you need is an Alexa-enabled speaker.
4.) SmartThings skill can be downloaded from the Google Play Store app on your SHIELD and the SHIELD can be a hub for home automation. To control Z-Wave and Zigbee devices, however, you need SmartThings Link, which is a USB looking thing that is not easy to find at this time.
Note: If you have Alexa at home, you can tell Alexa to find the SHIELD remote and the remote will beep. We live in the future indeed.
Hitchhiker's Guide to the SHIELD TV (Everything you need to know) - this was posted at the NVIDIA SHIELD forums and is a great resource if you have a SHIELD or think you may want one and want to see what the fuss is by other users. Posted at Dreamwidth: https://seperis.dreamwidth.org/1079800.html. | You can reply here or there. | comments