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Nvidia Announces a $199 Smart TV That's Also a Game-Streaming Console

The Nvidia Shield runs on Android TV and can play both native Android games and PC games streamed online.

Eric Johnson

Nvidia is getting into the smart TV business with a $199 box called Shield, the company announced at its “Made to Game” event tonight in San Francisco.

“We have been looking forward to this day for many years,” Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said, doing his best Steve Jobs in an all-black getup topped with a leather jacket.

Huang wasted no time in getting a rise out of the audience, pre-announcing that Nvidia would unveil a “revolutionary TV, a game console and a supercomputer.”

Naturally, these were all the same thing.

“Someday, everybody will want a smart television experience. This is very likely a multi-billion-unit market,” Huang said.

With that, he announced a “living room entertainment device,” the Nvidia Shield. A 16 gigabyte model bundled with a controller, capable of running native Android games and tapping into Nvidia’s game-streaming service Grid will cost $199.

This is actually the third Nvidia device to bear that name, following on a portable gaming device launched in 2013 and a tablet launched last year.

This Shield runs on Google’s Android platform and supports 4K, H.265 video. Huang said Google had “really cracked the TV operating system.”

Huang showed off Android TV’s ability to recognize faces in movies, use voice search to stream music from Google Play, browse photos and play 4K movies. The Shield comes with a Bluetooth remote, which has a microphone button a la Amazon’s Fire TV.

After that, it was time for a bunch of game demos, including the Android versions of Gearbox Software’s Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and Id Software’s Doom 3: BFG Edition.

The Shield uses Nvidia’s Tegra X1 processor, which it claims is “35 times faster than Apple TV” and therefore far better for gaming. He also noted that it was six times as powerful as the Xbox 360, which Microsoft released in 2005.

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