Nvidia's pricey Shield Android TV adds some value with 4K YouTube and Netflix HDR in US

It will also be able to tap into the new wave of apps arriving for all Android TVs

As Nvidia closes in on the first birthday of the Shield media streamer, the company is promising 4K and HDR updates as part of its version 3.2 software upgrade: Netflix and YouTube, specifically.

Nvidia said the next update will support Netflix HDR, offering a wider dynamic luminosity range for any Netflix content that supports it. Moreover, the Shield media box now supports the 4K version of YouTube at 60 frames per second. Finally, the company will add the Vudu movie rental app, together with 4K support.

Software Upgrade 3.2 is “coming soon,” Nvidia said, without specifying a specific date.

There’s more on the app front: As an Android TV device, Nvidia will be able to tap into the new wave of apps arriving for all Android TVs, including CNN, Comedy Central, ESPN, and more. But there still isn’t any Amazon Prime Video support, either through Google itself or from Nvidia. If you’re looking for Amazon-only titles like The Man in the High Castle, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Nvidia’s Shield media streaming device—as opposed to the Shield tablet, which is entirely different—is both a 4K box as well as a lightweight gaming console, whose Tegra X1 processor can handle games like Portal. It can also stream high-end games from the Internet using Nvidia’s GRID subscription service, and from networked PCs with Nvidia GeForce graphics processors on board. Nvidia said three new games would be added: Resident Evil 5, as a native Android app; plus Shadwen and Homefront: The Revolution, both of which would be provided via GeForce Now.

At some point in the future, a version of GameStream using HDR will become available once gamers start buying Nvidia's new Pascal-based GPUs: the Nvidia GTX 1080 and 1070 cards. It’s not clear whether the new version will be included in Nvidia’s software update.

Why this matters: At up to $300, the Shield streamer is a pricey alternative to more traditional boxes like the Roku line. But with the updates, Nvidia probably hopes it can better justify its cost.

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Mark Hachman

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