Day 1 Impressions:
Right, got it. I went for the basic, cylinder-shaped model. Its small, quiet (no fan) and will probably fit behind your telly out of view, without someone walking into your home and asking you ‘WHAT’S THAT?!?!?’
Installation was more or less painless, the hardest part was typing in my login for Steam and Epic Game stores via the on-screen keyboard/mouse (and I think there’s an app for that). Note there’s no HDMI cable supplied. I can confirm that my Xbox Series X controller can connect to the Shield TV via Bluetooth.
I upgraded to the Priority membership package for GeForce Now (£45 for 6 months, Premium PC Rig, RTX enabled, 1080p @ 60fps, 6 hour play sessions…its Xmas ok?? ). Just had a quick play of Crysis Remastered (which you get for free when upgrading to Priority membership) and its impressive considering its being streamed. My (wired) connection is 200Mb. Latency wasn’t an issue during my gaming session. Nvidia have done a good job there.
For those who want more eye-candy, there’s a Highest Performance plan (£89 for six months), based on PCs using 3080 GPUs and offering 4K/RTX/HDR gaming via Shield TVs. There’s also a free plan, based on a basic PC rig, but at peak times you’ll end up in a queue waiting for a cloud-rig to become available. When I tried the free-plan after 5.30pm today, I was at position 334 in the queue for a West European server .
The paid plans give you priority access, allowing you to jump the queue and get on with the important task of having fun (I believe its called Gaming around here ):
As for Games, there’s quite a selection, more then just Indie stuff. New games are added every Thursday:
Its a really nice, budget way to get access to some PC-only games with decent, RTXed visuals which are beyond most mid-range PCs and even the next-gen consoles. Its not a Game Pass alternative, in that you have to buy the games from Steam/Epic, on top of a potential membership fee.
What you’re paying for here is the ability to run these games in the cloud, on far beefier PC hardware than you own in your home, for a faction of the price of the equivalent PC/GPU hardware. In that context, it works very well. Of course, a decent broadband connection is required, minus any caps.
Note there’s nothing stopping you from using GeForce Now on your existing PC/laptop, or even mobile. I chose the Shield TV because I wanted to play games on the big TV screen, via a wired network setup, without a HDMI cable going across the floor from my laptop to my telly. There’s some reports of GeForce Now working on Xbox consoles via the Edge browser, but, AIAIK, some games on there have been blocked.
The only GeForce Now/Shield TV issues I’ve read about so far is that the Steam Cloud gaming seems a bit flaky with some games, there’s reports of games not being saved with X4 Foundations for instance. Dunno if that’s been fixed or is an ongoing issue. Also, expansions to games on the service seem to take some time to become available, or so I’ve read. I think it supports multi-player gaming.
Oh, and I need to get this thing outputting 5.1 surround sound.
As for media streaming, it does the business. Its got hardware AI-assisted scaling but it doesn’t seem to work via BBC iPlayer. Haven’t tested yet with other content.