NVIDIA Shield Streaming Media Player

Last updated date: August 22, 2019

DWYM Score
9.2


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We looked at the top Android Streaming Devices and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Android Streaming Device you should buy.

Overall Take

The NVIDIA Shield Streaming Media Player is the biggest, fastest and most capable streaming device that exists today. This Android streaming device can play 4K HDR movies with ease and can also act as a Plex server or KODI box. It can even be shipped with a native video game controller, eliminating the need for a special gaming console. It comes with a remote control that is easy to use. Its user interface makes most consumers feel very comfortable with operating the product. In our analysis of 90 expert reviews, the NVIDIA NVIDIA Shield Streaming Media Player placed 1st when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note August 29, 2019:
Checkout The Best Android Streaming Device for a detailed review of all the top android streaming devices.

Expert Summarized Score
8.6
16 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.7
4,050 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Speed is unrivaled by most streaming boxes.
- TechHive
There's lots to love about the latest Nvidia Shield, including its 40% reduction in size, full Google Assistant integration, Amazon Instant Video for the first time on Android TV and a hell of a lot more.
- Tech Radar
July 6, 2018 | Full review
For me, it’s the improvements to the controller’s microphone that are key. Nvidia has tweaked the mic so it can pick up voices from a wider field. This may sound small fry, but it’s necessary for one of the Shield TV’s best new features: Google Assistant.
- Trusted Reviews
July 18, 2018 | Full review
Most of my SHIELD usage consists of watching video, and this is where the device shines. It has supported 4K since launch, and NVIDIA added HDR in an update. The SHIELD is a great media streamer—the 4K HDR output looks incredible, and controlling playback with a remote is preferable to using a phone.
- Android Police
The media experience ridiculously high-powered hardware provides is top-notch, too. Shield TV supports 4K and high-dynamic range (HDR) visuals. You can use it as a Plex server, a Kodi box, and a DVR for over-the-air TV.
- PC World
First, it's powerful. Really powerful. There is a lot of graphics power in this little box. So alongside all the Android TV awesomeness — including just about every streaming app you could think of — you get a whole lot of games.
- Cord Cutters
April 20, 2018 | Full review
4K ultra HD. Controlled via voice command to Alexa or Google Home. Works with all popular apps.
- BestReviews
If your top priority is playing content from your personal media library, the powerful Nvidia Shield TV offers the best local file support. Its Android TV OS supports all the most popular apps (with 4K and HDR10 support), but more important, it can play content from hard drives and flash drives either locally (via USB) or over a network using apps like VLC or from a Plex server.
- New York Times Wirecutter
Better gaming platform than any other streaming media player
- Gear Gadgets and Gizmos
Nvidia has promoted a number of Shield-optimized Android games made to show off the graphics power of the Tegra X1 chip, and they’re definitely a cut above what you normally find in the Play Store.
- ING Middle East
Streaming game options work very well.
- Product Reviews
The NVIDIA SHIELD has all the functions and features that make it worth buying. You can also stream your favorite games and enjoy your free time.
- Much Needed
It is small and lightweight and yet it can do so much.
- Best Brand Reviews
Can be controlled with both Google Home and Amazon Echo devices
- Le Reviewest
And the latency is amazing – we saw a live demo of this feature and the lag was virtually non-existent.
- TechGuide
The Shield user interface is one of the slickest I’ve seen. Google’s official Android TV interface runs on top of Android 8.0 Oreo – the only device on this list to use the latest version of Android.
- Android PC Review
What experts didn't like
Android TV is still behind on TV guide features and app support
- TechHive
Controller isn’t console-quality
- Tech Radar
July 6, 2018 | Full review
Smart home function aren't available yet.
- Trusted Reviews
July 18, 2018 | Full review
I appreciate that NVIDIA is trying to keep the cost of the SHIELD down, but it'd be nice if it came with a few more accessories
- Android Police
If there's one big gripe here it's that the software on Shield TV has lagged behind what you're used to on the Android phone side of things.
- Cord Cutters
April 20, 2018 | Full review
Pricey. Some issues with lag, and may not be as user friendly.
- BestReviews
Disappointingly, in April 2019 Google initiated a sponsored ad program that now runs on devices running Android TV. For now it’s running as a “pilot program,” but users report that even when they’ve gone into the settings to disable the ads they don’t stay disabled.
- New York Times Wirecutter
Voice search doesn’t work on Netflix
- Gear Gadgets and Gizmos
It’s expensive and Assistant is wonky.
- ING Middle East
Relatively expensive.
- Product Reviews
Some have had issues with the remote.
- Best Brand Reviews
Quite expensive
- Le Reviewest
Our only gripe was the sensitivity of the gaming controller which we had to adjust in the settings of each game.
- TechGuide
Not much now that Amazon Prime Video has joined the party. It’s worth noting that while it has 5.1 and 7.1 audio passthrough, there are some issues getting HD audio passthrough to work within Kodi at the time of this writing. Other services do not have this issue.
- Android PC Review

From The Manufacturer

Transform your TV experience with NVIDIA SHIELD TV. Enjoy Netflix, Prime Video, and Vudu in stunning 4K HDR. Cut the cord and ditch your cable box with apps like YouTube TV, Sling TV, and PlayStation Vue. Cast your favorite apps to your TV with Chromecast 4K built-in. Run Plex Media Server and transcode your content to any device. Use the built in Google Assistant to see results on your TV: control playback on your favorite shows, share your photos, see your Nest cam, display your calendar, and check the traffic, also play the latest songs, dim the lights, and so much more, all with your voice.. It’s more than TV. It’s your entire living room—smarter and more connected. Always updated, never duplicated, level up to SHIELD TV and never look back. Power - 40 W power adapter (5-10 W typical consumption)

Overall Product Rankings

1. NVIDIA Shield Streaming Media Player
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 16
2. Roku Ultra HD/4K/HDR Streaming Media Player
Overall Score: 9.1
Expert Reviews: 10
3. Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Streaming Media Player
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 18
4. Matricom G-Box Q² Android TV Streaming Media Mini PC
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 4
5. NEXSMART Android 4K TV Box S905W
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 3
6. MINIX NEO 4K Android TV Box
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 5
7. VANKYO TB80 4K Android 7.1 TV Box
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 2
8. Amazon Fire TV Recast DVR
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 10
9. MX PRO+ 4K Android TV Box, 7.1 2GB Ram
Overall Score: 7.5
Expert Reviews: 2
10. Pendoo Android X8 Mini Smart TV Box
Overall Score: 7.0
Expert Reviews: 4

An Overview On Android Streaming Devices

It’s a widely accepted fact today that consumers are cutting ties with the traditional cable television industry and opting for alternative devices. These gadgets allow them to not only watch the shows they love for a lower cost, but also have access to a slew of other benefits now offered by many Android streaming devices. These Android streaming devices are being developed to give the user a powerful technology that can stream their personal content, like home videos and pictures, to their favorite 4K HDR movies and even the ability to play video games without a traditional console.

But with this highly competitive market, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by all the tech specs and sales pitch angles that each major company is displaying to you. Let’s start the process of finding the right Android streaming device for you by asking the most important question first – why are you purchasing an Android streaming device?

The first piece of hardware that we need to break down is the streaming device itself. A lot of newer TVs can play gorgeous 4K and 4K HDR (High Dynamic Range).  If you have either one of these TVs or think you might get one in the future, it would behoove you to focus on devices that can stream content at that rate. The NVIDIA Shield TV is one of the most capable devices in this regard due to its hardware. The hardware is more than capable of streaming games, shows, movies and any of your personal videos or pictures that you want to see on a big screen or show to your friends and family.

Beyond the internal hardware specs, you need to think about what the Android streaming device looks like when it’s sitting on your entertainment center. The NVIDIA Shield TV looks like a space ship out of a science fiction movie. While it looks beautiful to some users, others may see it clashing with the vibe of their home decor. If you fall into the latter category, you may want something smaller, cleaner, or even completely invisible, like the Fire TV Stick 4K from Amazon. This Fire TV Stick 4K device plugs in to the back of your television conveniently hiding it from view and leaving you with less of a cluttered look.

Imagine you’ve finished a day of work, and you finally kick your shoes off and sit down to catch up on the news or a new episode of your favorite TV show. Obviously, one of the first things you’ll be reaching for is the remote control. Android streaming devices can often be controlled with the user’s cell phone, but it turns out that most consumers still prefer having a dedicated remote for their TV. Knowing this, a lot of great development has gone into the remotes used to operate Android streaming devices.

The first thing you’ll notice is that there are fewer buttons on most of these streaming remotes. Most of them have a microphone that also lets you talk into the device instead of having to move your cursor around selecting one letter at a time, which most of us have experienced enough to know the frustration in the old system. The user interface of remotes has also become easier to use.

The Roku Ultra HD/4K/HDR Streaming Media Player boasts one of the smoothest interfaces in the industry, as it will zip through all your menus and listen to your voice commands with ease. This Roku Ultra model also has a fun feature that allows you to find your remote after you inevitably lose it in your couch or set it down in another room. Just push the remote finder button on your Roku Ultra, and finding that remote will be a breeze.

With a good idea of what hardware considerations there are in making this purchase decision, you should also figure out what else you see yourself using this device for. A common feature that draws people in to these Android streaming devices is the ability to play your personal media on your TV. Chances are you’ve taken photos or videos that you want to show off to your family and friends on a bigger screen. A smart Android streaming device can handle this task in a number of ways.

With an Android device like the Matricom G-Box Q² Android TV Streaming Media Mini PC, you can easily stream content directly from your smartphone. The NVIDIA Shield, the Roku Ultra and the Matricom G-Box Q² all have USB ports on the back of them as well, meaning you can plug in an external storage device and seamlessly stream any of the downloaded content that you have stored digitally. That’s very handy when you start to think about the idea of always having to jump through hoops to get that content from your hard drive to your TV.

One last function to think about is the ability of your Android streaming device to allow you to play video games. There are many consumers that might enjoy playing a video game from time to time, whether it is an educational game that helps children with basic math and spelling or one of your favorite games from childhood. But even if you enjoy playing an occasional video game from time to time, some people are put off by the cost of traditional gaming consoles, not to mention the expensive games that come along with them.

There are a few Android streaming devices, like the NVIDIA Shield TV, that come with a dedicated video game controller. This allows you to play a large variety of games without the hassle of a console. With a little tech know-how, you can set up your Android streaming device to play emulations of your favorite childhood games as well. These emulators will play, sound and feel exactly like the old games you remember, but you’ll just be using the newer controller to play them. If you aren’t sure you want an actual gaming controller, you can use a device like the Matricom G-Box Q² to access a plethora of games from the Google Play Store; the Matricom G-Box Q² also has Bluetooth capabilities that allow you to connect a wireless keyboard or other Bluetooth accessories to further enhance your personal experience.

DYWM Fun Fact

It’s easy to get frustrated when your smartphone takes a few minutes to load up or stream a high quality video from the cloud to your TV. But let’s not forget that the small computer in your hand (your smartphone) is calling out through a wireless internet network to get a server that lives halfway across the world to instantly stream a high quality video to your high definition television. It’s amazing that this technology not only exists, but gets better at an exponential rate.

As recently as 1950, Zenith Radio Corporation invented the first television remote control. It was called “Lazy Bones” as a humorous shout-out to how silly it was that we couldn’t be bothered to get off the couch to change the TV to one of the other three stations that existed. It took five years before a man named Eugene Polley was able to invent a remote that was wireless.

The “Lazy Bones” remote was actually connected to a short cable that allowed your controls to remotely operate the TV.  It’s been under 70 years since those days, and here we are talking directly to our remote controls with voice commands and all sorts of other useful things. Isn’t technology great?!

The Android Streaming Device Buying Guide

  • The NVIDIA Shield TV is the largest device on our recommendation list, but the folks at NVIDIA have done wonders to make the newest version much smaller than its predecessor while still packing the best hardware on the list. It has an edgy and modern look that invokes opinions from people, both good and bad.
  • The Fire TV Stick 4K completely hides behind the TV, but its super small form factor makes it lack some external ports that are common in the other devices. This means it looks as clean and minimalist as possible, but limits the user to interfacing mostly within the options and menus put forth by Amazon. For hardcore Amazon Prime users, this might be an ideal product.
  • The two streaming devices that land in the middle of the road are the Matricom G-Box Q² and the Roku Ultra 4K devices. Both of these devices are small and rectangular with rounded edge and mostly just unassuming. They can blend in nicely without drawing too much attention.
  • The Roku Ultra 4K has the added benefit of being one of the first streaming device providers to have its own dedicated remote. The remote has a 3.5mm jack to plug in your headphones, allowing you to listen to your media without interfering with others or having others distract you while you struggle to hear over the sounds in the room.
  • The NVIDIA Shield TV and the Fire TV Stick 4k both have highly rated remote controls as well. While the Matricom G-Box Q² does ship with a workable remote, this device might be better suited for being operated by a Bluetooth mini-keyboard device (or your phone).
  • The NVIDIA Shield TV is the most full-featured and most expensive Android streaming device on our list. This is for a good reason. This device can be used as a Plex Server, it can run Kodi and seamlessly allow you to play video games. It streams at the fastest rates for your 4K and 4K HDR media, only limited by your internet speed if streaming online.
  • The Fire TV Stick 4K gives you a large offering of content at your fingertips with minimal setup or effort. You can have access to Amazon Prime videos, Netflix, YouTube, ESPN, NBC, Hulu, HBO and Sling TV.
  • Similar to the Fire TV Stick 4k, the Roku Ultra 4K is very friendly to the plug-and-play crowd of people that would rather not fuss with researching and tweaking their device to do what they want. The Roku Ultra 4K has USB ports in the back that allow you to play your locally owned media, it lets you effortlessly stream Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Sling TV, HBO Now, Showtime, The Roku Channel, Starz, CBS All Access, YouTube, Pandora, ESPN, PBS Kid, and much more. Some of these programs will still require you to pay for a subscription. This Roku device just puts all those subscriptions right at your fingertips without having to grab new remotes.
  • The Matricom G-Box Q² Android TV Streaming Media Mini PC is really a powerful mini-computer that is designed to be easy to use for all your media needs. It lacks some of the restrictions that the other devices have and is able to freely run the newest Android operating systems. You have the same USB ports to play media from your external drives, but it can also stream Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu and really any other program that you can imagine. It is a perfect option for a KODI box or to be a Plex server as well, but this Matricom G-Box Q² doesn’t pack the powerhouse graphics to play a lot of complex video games. However, that might be a plus for some people, as it allows the Matricom device to be much cheaper and much smaller.