The movie Rebel Moon, an indie game, and the true power of the NVIDIA Shield TV Pro

Have you ever used an older media streaming device and noticed how it runs slow? You click on an icon and wait a half-second for the app to load. When you scroll through some YouTube videos, there’s a pause as the media streamer tries to keep up.

This is when you know it might be time to upgrade. The NVIDIA Shield TV Pro is a good option, especially because it runs fast and nimble for most of the modern apps we use — like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Yet, it’s the remote that really sold me the most.

As you could guess from a company that makes graphics processors, the Shield TV Pro is speedy and won’t have those awkward pauses. I’ve tested many media streamers from Roku, Amazon, and Apple — plus many others — and the Shield TV Pro was the most responsive. It uses the NVIDIA Tegra X1+ processor and has a 256-core GPU with 3GB of RAM.

I ran through a series of tests — adding new apps, loading them and closing them, playing YouTube videos — and I was impressed by the speed and never noticed any slowdowns. The reason that’s helpful, at least to me, is that I don’t really have a lot of time to watch anything these days, so when I do finally have a chance to watch a new Netflix movie like Rebel Moon, I don;t want the streaming device to get in the way.

The Shield TV Pro also boots up quickly, whi9ch is another perk. My main discovery, though, is how much I liked the remote. It’s bigger and fits better in my hand than the previous Shield remote, which was thin and flat — it also didn’t have dedicated buttons for volume. Instead, there was a touch-sensitive strip you used. I remember people visiting who would be confused about how to change the volume. With the new Shield TV Pro remote, it’s much more obvious. There’s even a big Netflix button — which helps accessing that app to watch Rebel Moon.

For games, I also tested a few indie platformers and the Shield TV Pro worked extremely well. Once again, no slowdowns, pausing, or stuttering like I’ve seen on old media streaming products that also let you play indie games.

The Shield TV Pro is packed with features. It supports Dolby Vision and 4K video, Dolby Atmos sound, and has 16GB of storage for apps and games. I loaded a few games and my favorite media streaming apps and still have plenty of extra storage.

The device has one HDMI port and two USB 3.0 ports, plus a Gigabit Ethernet port that I doubt many people will ever use. The OS is Android 11 running Android TV, which also supports Chromecast from your Android phone. I like the interface, especially being able to use the Google Assistant to ask about movies and shows. It’s also easy to move apps around or delete them. 

I didn’t test this, but the Shield TV Pro also works with the NIVIDIA GeForce NOW gaming service. Essentially, it means if you own the games and they run through a service like Steam, you can then play them on the Shield TV Pro. My only issue with this service is that I wonder how many people would just use their PC for gaming and not the Shield Pro.

Overall, the Shield TV Pro is a smart buy — it costs $200 and yet provides a smooth, fast media and gaming experience. I highly recommend it.

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