UPDATED: The New Shield TV: Unraveling the Secrets

This article was updated on 1/8/2017.  New info in italics.

While press releases are flying around the internet and NVidia discussed it briefly on their CES keynote – I’ve been doing some digging trying to uncover the answers to the question we all have: What ARE the secrets of the new Shield TV that weren’t revealed?

I’ve tapped all my resources and I have found some information that loyal Shield users will want to know.  I’ll update this page as I get more info.

Will I need the new Shield TV if I already own the Shield TV OG (original)?

Right now, the answer appears to be “no”.  Spec-wise, there appears to be nothing worthy of an upgrade.  Now, manufacturing improvements may offer some advantage – but what’s under the hood seems to be the same.  That is NOT true of the controller which really appears to be the biggest change of the group.  Fortunately, that is available separately.  Since it is Bluetooth and the Shield TV OG and the new Shield TV should be sharing the same version of the OS?  There should be no issues simply adding the new controller to your existing Shield TV system.

Both new Shield TV skus ship with both CONTROLLER and REMOTE.

Bad news: It appears that the new Shield TV sku is without microSD slot.  Let’s hope a phat 128GB USB3.0 flash drive will do the trick.  Trying to find out if the Pro sku still has it.

What’s new about the controller other than the visual appearance?

Aside from aesthetics, the controller is now Bluetooth.  It also has dual vibration feedback (a much welcomed addition).  According to the spec sheet, it also includes an IR blaster to allow you to control TV volume and power.  All in all, it sounds like the new controller kicks butt and we should all start budgeting for one.

It has also come to my attention that you’ll need either the new Controller or Remote to use Google Assistant.

The volume control is now the touch area in the middle of the controller – much like the Remote.

What about the Shield Remote?

The spec sheets on the Remote seem to indicate that other than being Bluetooth now, much is unchanged.  However, one of the spec sheets says that it has IR Blaster capabilities (Shield TV) and one spec sheet doesn’t mention it (Shield TV Pro).  The press release mentioned the remote for both Shield TV skus, but only mentioned a headphone jack when talking about the Pro unit.  My guess is that there is only ONE Shield Remote that works on BOTH machines – and that it has IR Blaster and headphone jacks regardless of whether you go standard or Pro.

This is an area of confusion.  Apparently the one that comes with the new Shield TV is no longer rechargable (uses coin type batteries – but supposedly lasts a year) and supposedly does NOT have a headphone jack.  The one you buy over the counter (or possibly with the Pro) might be the “full version” we’ve previously seen.

Is Amazon Video finally coming to Android?

We don’t know about “Android” overall, but yes – Amazon Video in 4k will be available on Shield TV.  Finally.

What do we know about Shield TV Pro?

Other than the Pro version looks to be the same size as the old Shield TV Pro (The new Shield TV 16GB version definitely looks smaller in both pictures and video) and that the Pro version has 500GB of storage – we don’t have much.  We do not know yet if the hard drive inside is still the proprietary hybrid type drive we’ve all grown to love – or if this has been changed.  Time will tell.  The price wasn’t announced, but shows on the website as $299 – same as before.  It appears that this sku will be shipping later than the 16GB sku.

I’m hoping it retains the microSD card slot.

What about NVidia Spot?  How does that fit in?

Spot is a little device that plugs into power outlets in various rooms of your house that extend the natural voice control of Shield’s new Google Assistant.  I’m guessing it works over WiFi, so I see no reason to believe that Shield TV OG skus will be excluded from supporting them.  Old or new, your Shield TV should handle communications with Spot.

Voice recognition was already part of Shield TV.  What makes Google Assistant different?

While the original Shield TV voice recognition was about SEARCH, Google Assistant is about CONTROL.  It is part of the “home automation” arm of Shield TV.  Integrating with Nest, Hue and other existing home automation products, Google Assistant via Shield TV will let you control THOSE devices as well as extend the “powers” of the voice recognition – allowing you to leverage more features via commands within the OS.

Whoa!  What is with the Steam app icon that appears in the Shield TV demo video released?

We try not to miss a thing around here.  While we don’t have definitive information about it, it sounds like NVidia has worked with Valve to bring “Steam Big Picture” to Shield TV in much a similar way that SteamLink works.  This was briefly mentioned but not expanded upon.  The other possibility is that it works with the new GeForce NOW PC service – which is essentially ‘Steam in the Cloud’.  We’ll have more on that as we get it.

Based on more information released, this sounds like exactly what it is

4 Responses to UPDATED: The New Shield TV: Unraveling the Secrets

  1. John Sandlin says:

    I can confirm that the new sheild update 5.0 has Amazon Video and Android 7.0… I got the advanced update lastnight

  2. So is this more like stock/fone/tablet Android, or still Android TV? In other words, will apps like Minecraft work now? 😉

Leave a Reply