In early October, I spent a few weeks putting the Nvidia Shield through its paces, and now that the new Apple TV is upon us, I’m leaning ever-so-slightly to saying that I prefer the Nvidia Shield way more. Well, right now it’s available on Amazon for $150, down from $200, which puts in in line with the price of the new Apple TV… Except the Nvidia shield includes a proper controller. So much stuff is totally cross platform these days anyway that there really aren’t a whole lot of things that you can only find on the Apple TV, particularly if you’re patient as most things are still launching with slight lead times on iOS.
What makes the Shield the cooler set top box is just how flexible it is. Here’s an example: I’ve got kind of a weird setup for my house when it comes to watching TV as I’ve got a projector with a huge screen instead of a typical TV with a tuner and everything. When I watch live cable TV it’s via the Xfinity TV Go app which in the iOS world only exists on the iPhone and iPad, with Comcast publicly saying there’s no plans for Apple TV support. (They even block AirPlay, so, it’s truly device-only.) That same app exists in the Android world, and while it isn’t on the Android TV store, it took me less than five minutes to get it installed on the Nvidia Shield via a supremely simple side loading process. So, inside the walled garden of the Apple world, you basically just shrug and say “Welp that’s cool, I can never do that," versus spending a couple minutes watching a simple YouTube tutorial someone made.
The same process works for emulators, and all sorts of other crazy stuff that really makes the Shield do whatever you want it to, instead of what Apple allows. The PC game streaming stuff is really rad, and since Google doesn’t follow Apple’s totally ridiculous controller requirements, there’s a much wider variety of great games to play. Both platforms have their issues, for sure, but right now for things that aren’t the requisite watching iTunes/Netflix/HBO/etc content, I’ve found myself using the Nvidia Shield way, way more. …And now you can save $50 buying one if you snag one today.