Thursday, January 05, 2017

nVidia announces new Shield TV with Google Voice Assistant

nVidia has just announced at the CES 2017, the next generation Shield TV streaming box running Android TV. Specific hardware specs were not revealed, but nVidia says it has three times the performance of any other streaming box on the market. The device’s biggest new features are support for 4K HDR, Amazon Video, and Google’s Voice Assistant.

Missing from all Android TV boxes has been an official Amazon Video app. That changes this month because the 2nd-gen nVidia Shield will be able to play Amazon Video content, including Amazon’s 4K HDR shows. It’s unknown at this time if Amazon will be releasing an Amazon Video app into the Google Play Store for all Android TV users to install, or if this is a limited partnership with nVidia which grants their devices exclusive access to the new app.

The other big new addition is the inclusion of Google’s Voice Assistant in the new Shield TV. This is Google’s competitor to Alexa and will allow Shield TV owners to use their voice to launch apps, search for content, control smart home devices, and more. This is the first time Google’s Voice Assistant is being made available on the Android TV platform.
nVidia will also be selling add-on microphones called nVidia Spot which plug directly into power outlets and extend the range of the Shield TV’s listening range. Spots do not work independently, like the Echo Dot, but require the Shield TV to be in range. Pricing and a release date for the Spot has not been announced.

The new nVidia Shield TV is available for pre-order now and will ship on January 16th. It costs $199 and includes both a game controller and a remote controller. In comparison, the 1st-generation Shield TV was the same price but only included a game controller and required the remote control to be purchased for an additional $50. There is also a Shield TV Pro for $299, but at this time, we don’t know what the Pro version adds.

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