The Nvidia Shield TV is an android-based streaming device, meaning it´s a gadget that you plug into your TV so that it can play Netflix, Disney +, and other streaming services from your phone, computer, or one of its built-in apps. Think Chromecast and you´ll be in the same ballpark as the Shield, it´s one of the gadgets that allow you to use your TV for digital channels instead of having to rely on cable.
So? What´s different about the Shield? Why does it cost five times more than the Chromecast? The answer lies in its origins. As you probably know, Nvidia is a company renowned for its graphics cards, they allow computers to run high-end games with the best possible graphics (along with other demanding programs and even some bitcoin miners, but that´s another issue.)
The Shield was launched in 2015 not so much as a competitor to the Chromecast (which had already two years in the market) but as a "micro-console", a way to stream your PC games to a TV so that you can play them without being tethered to your monitor and desktop.
As such, Nvidia places a greater emphasis on gaming and graphics when it comes to their streaming device. The Shield even comes with the technology to "smartly" upscale your HD media into 4k, if your TV allows for such definition.
The Nvidia shield is compatible with most TVs, as long as they have an HDMI port. However, it is more recommended for high-end screens that can take advantage of the 4k scaling. Also, be sure to have a potent internet connection in the first place, to be able to stream your media without issue.
Can you play PC games on the Nvidia Shield?
Like we mentioned before, yes. The Nvidia Shield was made primarily with gaming in mind.
The Shield is unsurprisingly compatible with the Geforce Now app which lets you stream any game you own on Steam, Epic, Origin, or any other major PC game store to any compatible device (even your computer, if it´s hardware is not up to the task). Geforce is a paid app, but there is another free alternative.
You can also cast your Steam games into your Shield with the free Steam Link app. To use it, you will need a decent internet connection, and to be able to have your computer on while streaming the game. If you meet these requirements, then it´s only a matter of downloading the app into your Shield and following the instructions.
So, in other words, yes. The Nvidia Shield is compatible with pretty much every PC game out there, be it Minecraft, Fortnite, Roblox, etc. Using Geforce Now or the Steam Link, you can cast the games from your PC to your TV without much issue.
Also, you can play all the games from Google Store, but are those the titles you are interested to play at 4K?
You might be wondering if Google Stadia works with the Shield. The answer is no, at least not "officially". You can use Stadia if you sideloaded it into the Shield by following the instructions that this Twitter thread suggests.
The problem with this alternative is that Stadia is not optimized for the Shield, so while you´ll be able to play games, some of them might experience some errors, and you´ll find that not all the buttons on your controller respond as they should.
Can you use a mouse and keyboard with the Nvidia Shield?
As a more game-oriented streaming device, you will need more especially controllers to play games than your TV remote allows. Nvidia has its own controller, and a series of recommended gamepads like the Stratus Duo or the Razer Raiju, but you aren´t limited to use them or even just controllers.
Since you can pretty much play any game of your PC library with the Shield, it stands to reason that you might want to play something where a controller doesn't work as well, like LOL, Age of Empires, or even an FPS like Call of Duty. In those cases, would a mouse and keyboard work?
Yes, you can use a mouse and keyboard to play games on the Nvidia Shield. The catch is, it needs to have Bluetooth to be compatible. If your mouse, keyboard, or even generic gamepad connects via USB ports, it will not work.
However, if it uses Bluetooth to connect, then it can work with the Shield just fine, regardless of its manufacturer. This goes even to other console gamepads, like Microsoft´s Xbox Wireless controller and Sony´s Dualshock.
And there you have it, the Nvidia Shield is an android streaming device, much like the Chromecast, with an emphasis on gaming and 4K graphics. You can use it to stream your PC games to your TV and then play them with a Bluetooth controller or keyboard.