Why We’re Building SHIELD, the World’s First Android TV Console

by Matt Wuebbling

200 gaming titles at launch. One teraflops of computing power. Support for 4K television. Access to a huge, and growing, library of on-demand games. And the ability to delve into a deep well of Android TV apps and entertainment.

“Today we are introducing NVIDIA’s first living room entertainment device,” Jen-Hsun Huang told a crowd of more than 900 press, analysts, and game enthusiasts at an event ahead of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco Tuesday night.

NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang introduces SHIELD.

We’ve been working on the technologies we’re talking about today for more than five years. Now, with SHIELD, you can bring it all together in a device that lives near the best screen in your house.

Just as smartphones will be how we enjoy phones, smart TVs are how we will enjoy television, Jen-Hsun said. These devices will replace dedicated devices over time, just as an application has replaced your GPS, your music player, your radio and your camera.

“Before you know it, applications will come along that surprise us,” Jen-Hsun said. “This is really a discontinuity in the gaming industry.”

Your living room will never be the same.

Bringing Android Home

SHIELD runs the Android TV operating system. So, it works with your other mobile devices—and the rich ecosystem of apps built around them. Google Play. Pandora. YouTube.

These apps do more than just work on SHIELD.  They scream.

Our Tegra X1 processor’s 256 GPU cores bring the power of our Maxwell GPU architecture to Android, cranking out 1 teraflops of computing power. That’s more than what the world’s fastest supercomputer could do just 15 years ago.

That means SHIELD is ready to handle whatever multimedia comes next. It’s the first streaming device built to handle 4K digital media, hustling video onto next-gen TVs at up to 60 frames per second.

“We think people using NVIDIA’s SHIELD console will love watching YouTube in 4K, thanks to the work NVIDIA did to make its Tegra X1 processor support VP9 video decoding,” says Heather Rivera, YouTube’s director of product partnerships.

Getting content is easy, too. Call up movies and shows using Google’s shockingly accurate voice search. Use SHIELD’s included console-style controller or our incredibly simple remote. You can even beam content to your television, via Cast, from Android devices.

Changing the Game

Of course, SHIELD offers great gaming, too. SHIELD is built with the same Maxwell GPU found in everything from supercomputers to the very latest gaming PCs. So it has graphics grunt to spare.

The story behind that hardware story: we’re building the software and services needed to plug all that power into the thriving Android ecosystem. We’ll launch with 50+ Android titles that take advantage of SHIELD’s capabilities.

SHIELD is built to slide into your entertainment system, and can be displayed either vertically or horizontally.


It’s a package that’s grabbed the attention of the industry’s best developers: “We’re very excited about the power of Tegra X1-powered SHIELD,” says Steve Allison, senior vice president publishing at Telltale Games. “When you play our games on a Tegra X1-powered SHIELD, you are getting a mobile version with the same visual fidelity as our next generation console and HD PC versions.”

These are games that break boundaries. Games such as Doom 3, Crysis 3, and Borderlands: TPS. And with support for as many as four players at once—on your big screen—these games become a social experience like no other. On SHIELD, they deliver action that will bring you—and your friends—to your feet.

“I am positively thrilled that NVIDIA has once again proven their commitment to being the best graphics platform for gamers by making it their mission to bring Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre Sequel natively to the new SHIELD, driven by the incredibly powerful Tegra X1,” says Gearbox Software President Randy Pitchford.

Making the Cloud Rain Great Games

SHIELD comes bundled with our Wi-Fi direct controller.

SHIELD also serves as another way to access our GRID instant gaming service. GRID – available on our entire SHIELD family of devices – brings the latest PC games to the living room.

“NVIDIA has created a powerful and unique device that we are excited to be working with,” said Fredrik Liljegren, vice president, Graphics & Portability Group, TransGaming. “Our partnership with NVIDIA provides the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the value of TransGaming’s cross-platform enablement technology by delivering high-quality AAA+ games to this exciting new platform.”

Equipped with GeForce GTX GPUs, our GRID game-streaming service packs the power to make the most demanding PC games feel immediate and visceral. GRID lets us deliver the latest PC games—titles like Metro: Last Light Redux, Dying Light and Batman: Arkam Knights—to SHIELD the way these games were meant to be played. With GRID, gamers can enjoy games delivered at 1080p and 60 frames per second. That’s an experience you won’t find outside of a high-end PC.

“GRID enables us to deliver entertainment to our fans when they want, where they want,” says Pierre Vinson, head of digital for Deep Silver. “Gamers can play Saints Row IV and Metro: Last Light Redux and we’re working hard with NVIDIA to expand the catalog.”

Game On

Tegra X1. Android TV. Support for 4K displays. 50+ Android titles at launch. A great controller. SHIELD is about more than just a collection of powerful technologies. It’s about your games. Your music. Your movies. Your photos. It’s about your digital life. And bringing it all together in your living room.