The NVIDIA Shield, which we reviewed thoroughly back in mid-2015, has been a solid and for the most part well-liked 4K gaming and streaming content console/platform since its emergence on the market. Now however, the Shield is getting some very decent updates to make it into something even better than before.
As it was originally designed and built, the Nvidia Shield offered up a powerful Tgra X1 processing chip, a Vulkan API and some very serious 4K content access and streamed online gaming chops. In essence, it was a home entertainment platform with decent gaming chops and a penchant for high quality UHD and HD video playback.
All of these aspects of the Shield have now been further reinforced with the console’s latest firmware 3.2 update, which brings in several new things.
Among them are a Plex server, support for 4K video streams from the VUDU home entertainment app, support for YouTube 4K video streams and, most enticingly of all perhaps, support for Netflix HDR content, assuming of course that a given Shield owner also happens to have a newer-issue HDR 4K TV in their home, a model like say the Vizio P-Series 2016 4K TVs.
Earlier in June, Plex revealed that it would have a presence in the NVIDIA Shield at some point soon and now we have this as an impending fact. The server for Plex is different from and arguably superior to the normal Android app in the Shield because it now runs as… you guessed it, a server instead of just a client. This is possible because the Shield console itself has enough processing power to not only offer media to Plex client devices such as mobile phones and PCs but also the capacity to perform HD transcoding as well. This server-based content streaming from Plex even works when a user is on the go outside their local area network.
Aside from the Plex, there is the new content offering side of the Shield Firmware 3.2 update. This consists of a new capacity for handling HDR content from Netflix in particular, as long as you plug the Shield into an HDR TV that is. The result is, as we’ve covered in detail here, wider color gamut and a wider range of contrast stops from dark to bright. The Shield will also com with YouTube video 4K support at 60fps and so far as we know now, both the HDR Netflix support and YouTube 60fps 4K video support are unique to the Shield as of this firmware update to the console.
4K will also now work for VUDU’s video rental and sales app on the Shield smart platform from Android and the benefits of firmware update 3.2 don’t stop with video, because support for Dolby Atmos surround sound is being included as well for certain apps at least, including VUDU.
Other interesting expansions for data storage are also coming to the Nvidia Shield. The console comes with either a basic internal storage of 16GB or 500GB, depending on which model you buy but now Nvidia will allow NAS drives to be attached to the Shield, even wirelessly and the console can also connect to other local area network devices like PCs, Macs or mobile devices for access to their own files and folders.
Finally, the Shield will now also work with new games from Nvidia’s own GeForce NOW streaming title selections such as “Mad Max” or with SHIELD exclusive releases like “Resident Evil 5”.