Nvidia streaming devices review

Nvidia’s streaming devices offer a truly unique blend of video streaming, gaming and smart home functions, and as such, stand out from the crowd. The devices come in two flavors: Nvidia Shield TV and Nvidia Shield TV Pro. 

Both provide a full spectrum of video streaming options, as well as gaming and voice assistant functionality. The Nvidia Shield TV Pro adds more power and storage and a few enhanced gaming and smart home capabilities. Below, you’ll find more detail on the devices, which should help you determine which of these distinctive streaming boxes fits your needs. 

Compare Nvidia streaming devices 

Nvidia Shield TV is a stick-style device that looks like a big cigar case, and the souped-up Nvidia Shield TV Pro is a set-top box with more power and USB interfaces. Both come with a powerful remote, ethernet connectivity and built-in Google Assistant functionality. Nvidia Shield TV Pro’s increased power makes it more suitable for intense gaming. 

Nvidia Shield TVNvidia Shield TV Pro 
StyleStickSet-top box
AudioDolby AtmosDolby Atmos
Compatibility4K HDR4K HDR
Storage8 GB16 GB
Interfaces Ethernet, HDMI, MicroSD Ethernet, HDMI, 2 USB 
RemoteVoice, TV control Voice, TV control 

Best Nvidia streaming services and apps 

The Nvidia Shield TV and Shield TV Pro devices offer access to thousands of apps via Android TV, including all the major streaming services like Sling TV, Hulu, Netflix, gaming apps and channel-specific apps like ESPN+, CBS All Access and the upcoming Peacock service

You can use either device to run apps like YouTube TV or Hulu + Live TV to stream live programming. Apps like HBO Now or Showtime will give you access to premium channels. This makes Nvidia Shield TV and Nvidia Shield TV Pro both excellent options for cord cutters.

In addition, both choices come pre-loaded with the following apps: 

  • Amazon Music 
  • Amazon Prime Video 
  • Google Play Games 
  • Google Play Movies & TV 
  • Google Play Music 
  • Google Play Store 
  • Netflix 
  • Nvidia Games 
  • PLEX 
  • Vudu 
  • YouTube 

Nvidia Shield TV Pro also features Nvidia Share, which provides game capture and sharing ability. 

Both devices feature Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility, with Google assistant built in. You can stream from any app and take advantage of advanced gaming options, such as streaming games you own from a remote server. Nvidia Shield TV Pro can double as a complete smart home hub as well.

Enjoy access to an array of games such as Doom 3 BFG Edition, NBA Jam, realMyst and The Witness on either option. 

Picking the right streaming device for you 

Nvidia’s two streaming devices offer extremely similar features. There are some notable differences, however. The Nvidia Shield TV Pro is more powerful and offers a few features the company’s base option doesn’t. Nvidia Shield TV Pro delivers a better gaming experience and features USB connections, but Nvidia Shield TV has a smaller footprint, adds a MicroSD slot, and comes in at a lower price. 

Best value: Nvidia Shield TV 

At $149.99, the Nvidia Shield TV will save you $50 over the Nvidia Shield TV Pro. If you don’t plan to use the device as a smart home hub or play resource-intensive games, it should be more than sufficient. 

Standout features 

MicroSD card slot 

Nvidia Shield TV provides a microSD card slot, which allows you to add storage via an SD card. This provides up to 1 TB of extra storage with no extra space required. 

Google routines 

Nvidia Shield TV lets you program Google routines, which means you can trigger multiple actions with one command. So, for example, you could call up Netflix, play your favorite show and turn up the volume all by saying Star Trek. The only limit here is your imagination. 

Best for gaming: Nvidia Shield TV Pro 

Standout features 

Advanced gaming 

The more powerful Nvidia Shield TV Pro has 3 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage, so it works well as a gaming platform. You’ll need this extra zing to run Nvidia exclusive, Android-optimized games, such as Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Half-Life 2 and Tomb Raider (2013). 

Smart home hub capability 

Nvidia Shield TV comes Samsung SmartThings hub-ready, which means the device can act as a stand-alone smart home hub. With that functionality, you can control things like security cameras, door locks, lights and other smart home devices right from your TV.

The takeaway 

Nvidia’s two streaming devices both provide a high-quality video experience and plenty of gaming and watching options, as well as good connectivity, a great remote and extras like voice assistant compatibility.

From a strictly streaming video perspective, the devices offer nearly identical features, except that Nvidia Shield TV Pro provides more default storage. If you’re only interested in streaming movies and TV, you can easily add storage with a microSD card to your Nvidia Shield TV, and save yourself $50. If, however, you’re a serious gamer or looking for a streaming device that can double as a true command center for your smart home, the beefier Nvidia Shield TV offers a better solution.

Aaron Trumm

Aaron Trumm has been writing, creating content, and producing media, online presences and music for 25 years. He is the founder and head of NQuit Music, holds a master’s degree from Stanford University, and was once the 10th ranked slam poet in the world. He's written for publications like Recording Magazine, Linux Journal, Computer Music Magazine, and SonicScoop, to name a few. He also enjoys sports and fitness so much that he's a certified personal trainer and often writes in that area as well.