NVIDIA Shield has been my favorite Android TV device since it launched just over a year ago, and NVIDIA has never really taken its foot off the gas with it. There have been 10 updates to the Shield since launch, including getting Marshmallow before many smartphones.
The gaming prowess of the device was to be expected from NVIDIA and they certainly have delivered there. Exclusive Android titles, GameStream to play your PC games through your Shield and, of course, the GeForce Now to play PC titles without the need for a PC. What has perhaps come as a surprise is how dedicated NVIDIA has been to making the Shield the best streaming media player on the market.
Thanks in no small part to its powerhouse hardware, the Shield is simply capable of more than many of the other streaming boxes on the market, and today’s announcement is a perfect example of that power paying off. While the Plex Android TV app is a great way to stream from an existing Plex Media Server, today Plex and NVIDIA have announced that with the SHIELD’s 3.2 update coming later this month, it will be able to function as a Plex Media Server all on its own.
And it isn’t a stripped down version; it will be running the full Plex Media Server with hardware-accelerated transcoding and multiple 1080p streams simultaneously. No more need for a separate PC or NAS device, although if you do have a NAS, just plug it into the Shield and you can have the best of both worlds with huge NAS storage and the hardware-accelerated transcoding from the Shield.
The Plex Media Server is the highlight of the forthcoming update, but that’s not all that’s being added. The Netflix app will be getting both HDR support and in-app voice search, so no more pecking around the on-screen keyboard with your remote anymore. For audio fans, the Shield will now support Dolby Atmos pass-through.
As a heavy Plex user and Shield owner, I’m thrilled with this update, but I’d be curious to hear if this is enough to sway anyone that hasn’t picked up a Shield already.