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SAN FRANCISCO — Nvidia’s new set-top console turns up the juice over other Android boxes.
Graphics chip company Nvidia announced its Shield Android TV Console at a press conference at the 2015 Game Developers Conference this evening. The Tegra X1-powered set-top device runs Android apps and streams high-end games at 1,080p over Nvidia’s Grid cloud system, making for a highly capable gaming solution. Its $200 price point squeezes into a sweet spot between the low-powered $100 set-top boxes such as Ouya and Amazon’s Fire TV and the current generation of game consoles, and if it works as advertised, it could disrupt both ends of the console industry — a business that researcher Jon Peddie Research says hit $67 billion in 2014. The system is part of a long-term strategy by Nvidia to shift from just supplying graphics chips to providing actual gaming products for enthusiasts.
Nvidia will launch Shield TV in May with a base subscription and a premium subscription — which gives access to triple-A games.
Of course, the Shield will also support controller-friendly Android titles. For control, the Shield TV is compatible with its predecessor, the Shield handheld, as well as its own controllers.
It runs games in 1,080p. During the demo, it ran Doom 3 BFG Edition, Borderlands: The PreSequel, and Crysis 3 natively. Nvidia plans to launch it with 50 games in its Shield store. It streams from Grid at 1,080p, too, but that is a “premium” service.
Shield TV also does streaming video, with up to 4K support for popular video services. It also works with Google’s Chromecast media streaming technology.
“I believe that someday everybody is going to want a smart television experience,” said CEO Jen-Hsun Huang at the press conference. “This is likely a multibillion dollar market.”