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NVIDIA SHIELD (2017) review: Still the king for a reason

NVIDIA's SHIELD Android TV console has been, since its launch in 2015, the only Android TV you really should be paying attention to. For 2017, it has received a very light hardware refresh. Even with the changes overall being minor, it is still the only Android TV device you should be paying attention to.

Now, many of the changes in the 2017 version of SHIELD came to the existing SHIELD console today via the 5.0 upgrade, including Android 7.0. The old model, too, will get Google Assistant, SmartThings support, and Amazon Instant Video. And this brings me to the second major point of our review: If you already have a SHIELD, there's no reason to replace it with this refreshed version.

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[Update: 2017 only for now] NVIDIA Experience Upgrade 5.0 brings Nougat, Amazon Video, and more to SHIELD TV

NVIDIA just released its new SHIELD set top-box with upgraded design and controllers and plenty of goodies including Android 7.0 Nougat. But for those of you who have the first SHIELD TV from 2015, there's another goodie in store: NVIDIA is releasing Experience Upgrade 5.0, a software update that brings a lot of what the new SHIELD has to your existing unit. I know this ruins your excuse for buying fresh gear, so you'll have to work harder to find a new one.

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The NVIDIA SHIELD (2017) is now available to order

NVIDIA announced its new Android TV top-box, the SHIELD TV, at CES less than a couple of weeks ago and now it's available for you to order. This is the real deal, not the small mistake Best Buy made a couple of days ago by putting inventory up for sale too soon. Both the regular 16GB SHIELD and the 500GB SHIELD Pro are ready to take your money, but the latter is only pre-order now. It should be in stock around the end of the month.

The new SHIELD has a smaller body, a new controller, 4K and HDR support, the same Tegra X1 processor and 3GB of RAM, and the same storage tiers.

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Best Buy already has the new NVIDIA SHIELD on store shelves, and you can try to buy one

NVIDIA's hot new Shield TV hasn't officially been released yet, but Best Buy apparently didn't get the memo. Although the Best Buy online listings for the Shield TV and Shield TV Pro only allow you to pre-order, some stores actually have the base model on shelves. One tipster was able to purchase one from his local store, as seen from the pictures and receipt below.

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New FCC documents show photos of the SHIELD Portable 2, release still seems iffy

NVIDIA seems committed to a set-top box format and Android TV platform for its SHIELD brand, revealing a slightly tweaked model of the device at CES as the first major hardware revision in a year and a half. But fans of the original SHIELD, the somewhat goofy and crazy-powerful Android portable console, have been clamoring for a new device for even longer than that. The last we heard about follow-up from NVIDIA was almost two years ago, but it looks like someone at the company has been busy between now and then.

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Best of CES 2017: The best things we saw at CES this year

This year's CES has a couple more days yet to go, but the announcements for the show have settled out, and we probably won't be seeing any more big news from the world's largest technology conference. As such, we're about to head out ourselves from Las Vegas, and we're leaving you with some of our favorite technology announced this year. Without further ado, these are Android Police's picks for the Best of CES in 2017. (Presented in no particular order.)

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NVIDIA's GeForce NOW game streaming service gets new games and a new price model, coming to PCs soon

GeForce Now, NVIDIA's PC game streaming service, is currently limited to the original SHIELD Portable, the SHIELD Tablet, and the SHIELD TV. Starting in March that's going to change: the company is expanding access to all standard PCs running Windows and Mac OS, via a regular download client. GeForce Now will finally be the successor to "cloud" gaming services like OnLive. According to the PR material, any PC - including those without an NIVIDA-branded graphics card - will be able to connect to the GeForce Now service. It's a big deal if you want to play advanced PC games on something like a Macbook or a Surface.

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NVIDIA updates the SHIELD Android TV with a smaller body and a new controller for hands-free voice control

NVIDIA's yearly CES bash just wrapped up, and once again there's a new SHIELD coming for gamers. Well, "new" in a very limited sense. The new version of the Android TV-powered set top box looks nearly identical to the SHIELD TV that's been available since the summer of 2015. It's 40% smaller than the original - closer in size to competitors like Roku - but inside is the same Tegra X1 system that we're familiar with. (Which is still some of the most powerful "mobile" silicon around.) The big change, as hinted by the leak last month, is in the controller.

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Platforming shooter GoNNER comes to SHIELD Android TV, currently on sale for $6.69 (33% off)

Owners of the NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV are getting yet another sweet exclusive title today, the Steam favorite GoNNER. This is a hard-as-nails shooter with platforming elements and a unique art style. How long can you survive? Probably not as long as you think.

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This is very likely NVIDIA's 2017 refresh of the SHIELD Android TV, which may come in two sizes

There have been rumblings that NVIDIA was planning a refresh of its popular Android TV set top box at CES in January, and based on pictures we've obtained, that definitely seems to be true. While we don't have any specifications or features to share, we can show you what the new box(es!) and their accompanying control devices look like.

Visually, the new boxes and TV controller seem identical to the outgoing model - there's really nothing that's changed there as far as I can see. The gamepad, however, is sporting an overhauled design with some rather interesting geometric cues. I can't say I love the look, but the new shape does seem a little more ergonomic than the old controller.

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