Nvidia to take on Apple TV with Shield set-top box featuring Android TV

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited June 2015
The latest major company to step into the crowded set-top box market, where the Apple TV competes, is Nvidia, whose upcoming Shield media player will be powered by Google's Android TV platform.




The new Nvidia Shield will be available in May starting at $199 with a controller. It will feature an Nvidia Tegra X1 processor with a 256-core Maxwell GPU and 3 gigabytes of RAM.

The box will be capable of outputting 4K "Ultra-HD" video, and will also capture up to 60 frames per second. The hardware will feature 16 gigabytes of onboard storage, MicroSD expansion, USB ports, HDMI 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.1.

While the box will stream media like other devices currently on the market, the main focus of the Shield will be gaming. At launch, more than 50 Android titles optimized for Shield will be available to download, including "Crysis 3," "Doom 3: BFG Edition," and "Borderlands: TPS."

The Shield will also allow console games to be streamed using Nvidia's GRID on-demand service. Subscription pricing will allow access to titles including "Batman: Arkham Origins," "GRID 2," and "Metro: Last Light Redux."

"SHIELD will change the way we enjoy digital entertainment at home," said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of NVIDIA. "It's an incredibly powerful, efficient and advanced living room entertainment device. It's the best Android TV experience. And it can transform into a serious gaming machine. It's made to game."




After the Google TV platform floundered against the likes of Apple TV, Roku, and others, Google introduced a new take in the form of Android TV at its annual I/O conference last year. Android TV has been off to a slow start, however, with the upcoming Nvidia Shield representing one of the most high-profile product launches with the fledgling platform.

Like the Apple TV and others, Android TV offers access to streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. In addition, applications and games can be downloaded from the Play Store, with specialized TV-centric user interfaces.

As competition in the set-top box market heats up, Apple has not updated its own device in years. There were rumors that the company was working on a new version with motion controls last year, but Apple's alleged plans are said to have stalled due to a breakdown in talks with cable companies and content owners.

There have also been expectations for years that Apple might bring a full-fledged App Store with unique downloadable Apple TV titles to the device. Currently, channels are added to the Apple TV automatically, and content from an iPhone or iPad, including games, can be streamed to an HDTV via AirPlay, but such titles cannot be played directly from the device.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    [IMG]http://forums.appleinsider.com/content/type/61/id/56138/width/200/height/400[/IMG]

    Saw that Saturday. That's what happens to AndroidTV devices; the Wallyworld clearance rack.
  • Reply 2 of 25
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,458member

    The ONLY things keeping me from jumping ship on the Apple TV is iTunes and AirPlay. I have been patiently waiting for a new ATV product that I can buy but so far no cigar. I bought the ATV1, my son gave me his ATV2 when he bought his ATV3. That’s where I stand now. No way am I going to buy an ATV3 in its current iteration. 

  • Reply 3 of 25
    hypoluxahypoluxa Posts: 657member

    I watched the video on this on CNET yesterday. Interesting device with what it can do, but streaming video games seems iffy. So much going on there. I'd be really shocked if Apple doesn't incorporate this functionality into the TV device. They have a unique opportunity I would think. Hopefully Apple provides the option to download games onto the Apple TV instead of streaming, if they do implement it.

  • Reply 4 of 25
    mrshowmrshow Posts: 152member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

    try harder

     

    i can spend $99 more for a real gaming system with REAL games. LOL.




    I was thinking the same thing. They need to get it down to at least $129 or better $99, if they really want to compete.

  • Reply 5 of 25
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,516member

    I don't need viruses in my pocket or in the house.

  • Reply 6 of 25
    I wonder how nvidia will deal with the inevitable GPU failures when they have to eat their own dog food. /s
  • Reply 7 of 25
    sog35 wrote: »
    try harder

    i can spend $99 more for a real gaming system with REAL games. LOL.

    The idea of nviidia challenging the likes of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo in mind and marketshare is amusing. OUYA never lived up to its "revolution in gaming" hype.

    Sure, the big three "need competition" (competition is good, blah blah) but getting a few of the same games (Doom 3, really?) on a more limited platform isn't going to cut it. At least Sony and Nintendo have compelling platform exclusive titles.
  • Reply 8 of 25
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,982member

    I won't buy another TV box unless it really adds true benefit over what I have been had with Apple TV. I'll wait PATIENTLY (Apple, hear that?) for the next Apple TV which I hope as Sog35 said: iEntertainment with full iOS and 4K output (future proof) playing central role as a hub for HomeKit and entertainment. Apple TV is in the position to win, but Apple still want to wait until they can bring TV contents into it the way they want...bundled channels in such way: 10 channels for $30, 20 channels for $50, User Selectable!...oh yeah, bring it on. Hopefully, cable companies will be on board with Apple so Apple TV can put the rest TV boxes to rest.

    Apple have so much potential in many areas that still can earn them big $. This is the reason why I keep buying their stocks: product portfolio and potential (iPhone, iPod, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, Beat, Apple Watch, Apple Pay, and soon...Apple Car, VR devices, smart home kits....)

  • Reply 9 of 25
    I think the price is too high. Sure, it comes with pretty good specs, but still people don't want to spend $200 plus accessories like extra controllers just to play souped up Android games. I can buy a used Xbox 360 for less and have much better games. Curious to see what their list of titles is.
  • Reply 10 of 25
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,750member

    I've been waiting for a new ATV box as well.  I'm sure Apple has something up their sleeves that they will introduce soon, but gosh darn it... hurry up!  



    I'm happy for the most part with my ATV2, it just irks me that it only supports 720p.  I want 1080, if not higher.  Maybe they are getting it just right to support 4K?

  • Reply 11 of 25
    almondrocaalmondroca Posts: 179member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post





    The idea of nviidia challenging the likes of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo in mind and marketshare is amusing. OUYA never lived up to its "revolution in gaming" hype.



    Sure, the big three "need competition" (competition is good, blah blah) but getting a few of the same games (Doom 3, really?) on a more limited platform isn't going to cut it. At least Sony and Nintendo have compelling platform exclusive titles.

     

    True that. Maybe nVidia's console would have better luck with Steam on it?

  • Reply 12 of 25
    jexusjexus Posts: 373member

    The Xbox one reveal, Konami and Ubisoft E3's COMBINED were better than this press conference.

     

    And no that isn't hyperbole.

  • Reply 13 of 25
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    almondroca wrote: »
    True that. Maybe nVidia's console would have better luck with Steam on it?

    I was thinking the same thing.

    Nintendo actually has the best console right now, but their stupid decisions and marketing blew it!!
  • Reply 14 of 25
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,449member
    400

    Saw that Saturday. That's what happens to AndroidTV devices; the Wallyworld clearance rack.

    If only this Android crap was easily recycled. Google's ill begotten offspring must be running close second place to Windblows machines for landfill fodder.
  • Reply 15 of 25
    almondroca wrote: »
    True that. Maybe nVidia's console would have better luck with Steam on it?

    At minimum, making Steam part of their console would give them access to one of the best game content stores around. But I noticed NVIDIA is trying to leverage their existing relationships with game developers. And I don't think that's the winning plan.
  • Reply 16 of 25
    disturbiadisturbia Posts: 563member
    Starting @ $199?!!!
    [RIGHT]WTF ... :smokey:[/RIGHT]
  • Reply 17 of 25
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,985member
    disturbia wrote: »
    Starting @ $199?!!!
    WTF ... :smokey:

    Or you can buy an ATV for $99, and then a controller for $99, thus saving yourself a whole dollar.
  • Reply 18 of 25
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,985member
    400

    Saw that Saturday. That's what happens to AndroidTV devices; the Wallyworld clearance rack.

    Perfect for XBMC box sellers.
  • Reply 19 of 25
    Take on Apple??? Are you completely deluded? This box is SO many generations past anything the apple tv was ever capable of that the comparison actually embarrassing.
  • Reply 20 of 25
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,230moderator
    mrshow wrote: »
    They need to get it down to at least $129 or better $99, if they really want to compete.

    That wouldn't be possible for the spec. If you take a $99 Apple TV, add in a controller, more NAND, more RAM and a more expensive chip (Nvidia says the chip they use is 35x more powerful than the Apple TV), they can't still sell it for $99. It has to be around $199. NVidia has videos of some games:


    [VIDEO]


    A few of them are running at 30fps. They look ok though. The Talos Principle running on Unreal 4 and Crysis 3 both use physically-based shading and you don't need to get much more realistic in terms of lighting. Unreal 4 can do the following in real-time:


    [VIDEO]


    1000

    For higher-end titles, they render the games on their cloud server and just stream the results in real-time. Ouya did the same thing but they used OnLive for the cloud part. It works ok as long as the internet connection is stable and has low latency. It has to be low latency because when you push a button on your controller, it has to send that action all the way to a data center miles away, move the game, get the new frame and send it back to your display within a frame (e.g 1/30 seconds = 33 milliseconds) and it has to sustain the latency and bandwidth throughout the whole game session. Modern games at least save fairly often and connections are quite stable but having to replay something difficult due to a network drop would be very annoying. There are videos about their cloud service here:


    [VIDEO]


    [VIDEO]




    As a TV device, it handles 4K content and they show off some of the TV features here:


    [VIDEO]


    These units don't sell in huge numbers but they don't have to. The Apple TV sells about 8-12 million units per year now at $99. That makes it a billion-dollar product. NVidia only makes $4b revenue per year for everything they do. If they can shift 5 million units per year, which is about 1/4 of the main consoles, that would be a successful product. The consoles don't always sell at a profit.

    Getting game titles is necessary for these products to be adopted by gamers because even lacking just one important title is enough for people to question why they bought the device. This happened with the Wii U because developers just abandoned it and focused on the PC/XBoxOne/PS4, which share the same hardware architecture and general performance.

    For Apple to get into this in a big way, they'd have to persuade big developers to port over a lot of titles and they'd have to make a controller and it might not be worth the effort for them. I think it would help the other iOS devices but it can't be done half-heartedly or gamers won't invest in it.

    These GPU chips also go as high as 20W, higher than a Macbook Air so they need cooling and I don't think that's where Apple wants to take the Apple TV.

    It would mainly be an add-on feature to the TV features, something to keep kids occupied. If the parents wanted an Apple TV anyway, it's more that this is an extra $100 with games that cost a few dollars vs an extra $300+ with $40-60 titles for a console and consoles aren't all that suitable for really young players. Cheaper titles would be like the following:


    [VIDEO]


    That's a collaborative game where two kids have to help each other progress through levels. They'd each have an official Apple controller and play when the TV wasn't being used for movies. Apple could offer 3rd party streaming games but they couldn't make any money from it because a 30% cut wouldn't work. They blocked these apps from iOS already.

    The biggest hurdle for Apple that I see is them making a controller because it's a commitment to gaming. The fact they went the MFi route suggests they don't want to do that themselves.
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