NVIDIA expanded its SHIELD TV lineup not too long ago with not one, but two new models: the tubular SHIELD TV and the SHIELD TV Pro. It goes without saying that they build on the SHIELD TV 2017 with new features and capabilities, but are they compelling enough to warrant an upgrade?
We compare the three to give you a better picture and help you make an informed buying decision.
NVIDIA Shield 2017 vs 2019 Comparison Chart
|Model||NVIDIA SHIELD TV (2017)||NVIDIA SHIELD TV (2019)||NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro (2019)|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
|Chipset||NVIDIA Tegra X1||NVIDIA Tegra X1+||NVIDIA Tegra X1+|
|RAM||3 GB||2 GB||3 GB|
|Storage||16 GB (expandable via USB)||8 GB (expandable via microSD card)||16 GB (expandable via USB or hard drives)|
|Operating System||Android 8.0 Oreo (upgradable to Android 9.0 Pie)||Android 9.0 Pie||Android 9.0 Pie|
|Video||4K HDR (60 fps), 4K (60 fps), 1080p (60 fps)||4K HDR (60 fps), Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10, AI upscaling (4K at 30 fps)||4K HDR (60 fps), Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10, AI upscaling (4K at 30 fps)|
|Audio||Dolby Atmos (pass-through), Dolby TrueHD (pass-through), DTS-X, DTS-HD (pass-through)||Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD (pass-through), DTS-X (pass-through), DTS-HD (pass-through)||Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD (pass-through), DTS-X (pass-through), DTS-HD (pass-through)|
|Remote Control||Bluetooth connectivity, IR blaster, voice search, button cell batteries||Bluetooth connectivity, IR blaster, voice search, motion-activated backlit buttons, remote locator, two AAA batteries||Bluetooth connectivity, IR blaster, voice search, motion-activated backlit buttons, remote locator, two AAA batteries|
|Voice Assistant||Google Assistant (built in), Amazon Alexa compatible||Google Assistant (built in), Amazon Alexa compatible||Google Assistant (built in), Amazon Alexa compatible|
|Connectivity||2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1||2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0||2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Ports||Two USB 3.0 Type A, HDMI 2.0, Gigabit ethernet||HDMI 2.0, Gigabit ethernet, microSD card slot||Two USB 3.0 Type A, HDMI 2.0, Gigabit ethernet|
The SHIELD TV 2019 has a faster processor than the SHIELD TV 2017.
Under the hood, the SHIELD TV 2019 only has a few advantages here and there over the SHIELD TV 2017.
First off, the new machines are now powered by the Tegra X1+, which should be up to 25 percent faster, according to NVIDIA. This might not matter much if you don’t game, but if you do, then this can go a long way.
Even though it has a newer chipset, the non-pro version of the SHIELD TV 2019 has 2 GB of RAM and 8 GB of native storage, while the SHIELD TV 2017 has 3 GB of RAM and 16 GB of space, like the SHIELD TV Pro. You’ll also need a microSD card to expand its storage rather than a USB stick. In other words, these could be considered as downgrades.
Both of the new versions do support Bluetooth 5.0 and run on Android 9.0 Pie from the get-go. For the record, the 2017 variant is upgradable to Android 9.0 Pie.
Video and Audio
The SHIELD TV 2019 ups the ante with Dolby Vision.
Arguably, the biggest reason to get the SHIELD TV 2019 is Dolby Vision, which is basically Dolby’s proprietary HDR. Needless to say, you’ll need a TV that can support it. And before anyone asks, no, HDR10+ isn’t in the mix.
Another new, nifty feature in the video department is AI upscaling. Using artificial intelligence, the SHIELD TV 2019 can upscale 720p and 1080p videos to 4K at 30 fps. Typically, 4K TVs can already do this on their own, but NVIDIA says its technology can produce clearer and sharper results.
In terms of audio, the 2019 models bring Dolby Digital Plus to the table. Put simply, it should deliver an overall better audio quality than the previous generation’s Dolby Digital. Put technically, it offers more channels to work with, a higher bitrate, and more efficient compression.
NVIDIA beefed up the remote controller for the SHIELD TV 2019.
Once you see the new Shield Remote, the first thing that’ll likely jump out at you is the big Netflix button, which has a pretty self-explanatory function already. Other not-so-obvious additions include a lost remote locator and motion-activated backlit buttons. Speaking of, it now has more media controls, volume controls, and a programmable button you can set to fire up, say, Plex.
Last but not least, it also runs on two AAA batteries instead of coin cells. Elsewhere, it’s more or less the same as the old remote in the sense that it still has Bluetooth connectivity and voice search.
The good news is the new remote controller is compatible with the 2015 and 2017 versions of the SHIELD TV. Regardless of whether or not you’re sold on the new SHIELD TV 2019, you can breathe new life into the older models with the updated Shield Remote.
The SHIELD TV 2019 has a lot of new features, but the SHIELD TV 2017 can already get the job done and then some.
If you’re upgrading from the SHIELD TV 2017, the new 2019 models aren’t exactly worth getting. That’s unless you really care about Dolby Vision, Dolby Digital, and AI upscaling. Besides, you could always get the new Shield Remote if you want to improve the experience.
If you don’t own any of these devices, the SHIELD TV Pro is your best bet. The price gap between it and the 2017 version isn’t wide and the new features are by all means a welcome addition.
The non-pro SHIELD TV 2019 is a decent choice as well. While it has lesser RAM and a smaller storage than the 2017 model, it has more features and a better processor. On top of that, it starts at a lower price point.
The main difference is the SHIELD TV 2019 has a faster Tegra X1+ processor, Dolby Vision, Dolby Digital Plus, and AI upscaling. It also comes with the new Shield Remote with more controls for media and volume and a dedicated Netflix button.
The non-pro SHIELD TV 2019 has a tubular form factor and has 2 GB of RAM and 8 GB of native storage that’s expandable via a microSD card. Meanwhile, the SHIELD TV Pro looks similar to the 2017 model and has 3 GB of RAM and 16 GB of built-in storage that’s expandable via a USB stick or hard drive.
Coming from the SHIELD TV 2017, the SHIELD TV 2019 isn’t much of an upgrade. However, if Dolby Vision, Dolby Digital Plus, and AI upscaling matter to you, then it’s worth getting.
Yes. In January, NVIDIA released an update that made the new Shield Remote compatible with the 2015 and 207 models of the SHIELD TV.
Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API