Should you upgrade to NVIDIA Shield TV Pro (2019) from the older version?

Looking better than ever

NVIDIA Shield TV Pro (2019)

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$200 at Amazon

Pros

  • Same sleek Shield TV design
  • New Tegra X1+ chipset
  • AI-enhanced upscaling when watching on 4K TVs
  • Dolby Vision and Atmos
  • Upgraded remote is easier to use and harder to lose

Cons

  • Less internal storage than older Pro model
  • Does not ship with NVIDIA gaming controller

The NVIDIA Shield TV Pro (2019) both looks and runs nearly identically as the older Shield TV Pro model, which is great news because we loved all that the older Pro model could do. The only downside here is the downgraded internal storage.

484 more reasons to stay

NVIDIA Shield TV Pro (2015)

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From $300 used at Amazon

Pros

  • 500GB of internal storage
  • Shipped with NVIDIA’s own gaming controller

Cons

  • Older Tegra X1 processor
  • Lacks support for Dolby Vision
  • Does not offer AI-enhanced upscaling

The NVIDIA Shield TV Pro (2015) is still a media juggernaut in 2019, but now is the right time to upgrade if you’ve been holding out. It’s an especially easy choice to make if you’ve upgraded to a 4K TV and want the best from all the content you watch.

The only area where the new NVIDIA Shield TV Pro (2019) falls short compared to its predecessor is its 16GB of internal storage — and that’s an easy fix with an external drive or a microSD card. In every other capacity, the upgraded Shield TV Pro offers better performance and features than the older model, and it’s reasonably priced. Plus, having a second Shield TV Pro kicking around that’s loaded up with all your favorite media is great considering how portable these consoles are.

Only one is actually available to be purchased new in 2019

Anyone looking to buy the 2015 version of the Shield TV Pro in 2019 is out of luck — NVIDIA discontinued the older model back in 2018 to put the focus on selling out the remaining stock of the standard 16GB Shield TV via gaming and smart home bundles. That’s not to say that the older Shield TV Pro are now obsolete; NVIDIA has continued to offer great software support for the Shield TV across all the hardware variations.

What are the compelling reasons to upgrade to the new Shield TV Pro (2019)? Well the answer to that question is cut and dry. The new Shield TV Pro offers the same look and functionality at its core, but comes with a way better remote to replace the thin and unintuitive remote that used to ship with the older Shield TV models. The real magic, however, lies on the inside with the updated Tegra X1+ chipset. Not only does it offer snappier performance but it also allowed NVIDIA to finally add support for Dobly Vision to go along with the previous support for Dolby Atmos.

The new Shield TV Pro may look similar to the older models, but it’s got more power under the hood and ships with an infinitely improved remote control.

This keeps the Shield TV line up in step with the rest of the competition while also being one of the few streaming boxes that works double duty as a competent gaming console. You can still enjoy all the offerings from the Google Play Store, stream games from NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW streaming service, or cast your own PC games if you’ve got the necessary NVIDIA graphics cards powering your rig.

The spec sheet comparing the two consoles is nearly identical, although it’s worth noting NVIDIA is only offering 16GB of internal storage for the Pro Shield this time around. If the 500GB of internal storage was one of the reasons you gravitated to the older Shield TV Pro, don’t fret. You can just as easily add as much or more extra storage by bringing your own external drive or getting an affordable microSD.

Price $200 From $300 used
Processor Tegra X1+ Tegra X1
Storage 16 GB 500 GB
RAM 3GB 3GB
MicroSD Yes Yes
Ethernet Yes Yes
USB Two ports Two ports
Dolby Vision Yes No
Dolby Atmos Yes Yes
AI upscaling Yes No
Plex server Yes Yes
SmartThings Yes Yes
GeForce gaming Yes Yes
AAA gaming Yes Yes

Arguably the most important feature included with the new Shield TV Pro is how it can upscale content to 4K. Most 4K TVs on the market today offer some form of 4K upscaling that helps to make the HD content you watch look a little better, but nothing does what NVIDIA’s new AI-enhanced upscaling is capable of. NVIDIA used machine learning algorithms to train the Shield AI to know and recognize how patterns, textures, and human features look like in 1080p versus 4K, so it knows when to add extra detail to fill in the gaps between HD content to bump it up to 4K.

That means when you’re using your Shield TV Pro to watch HD content on a 4K TV, you’re going to notice enhanced details during close ups on the actors and notice more crisp details and textures as you’re enjoying your favorite movies and shows. It’s all done intelligently in the background and only where the Shield deems it to be most effective.

That, coupled with the inclusion of Dolby Vision, means the new NVIDIA Shield TV Pro will simply offer a better viewing experience for most of the content you’ll be watching on a 4K TV in your home. If the only thing holding you back from upgrading is the downgraded internal storage, it’s easy to mount additional storage via USB or microSD, which is also makes it easier to load up your favorite content.

Best Android streaming box

NVIDIA Shield TV Pro (2019)

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For the hardcore streaming enthusiasts.

$200 at Amazon

The Shield TV Pro is the better choice if you care about expandable storage, using your Shield TV as a Plex server, and care about NVIDIA’s gaming offerings. It offers more connectivity options and can be used as a hub for SmartThings

Still a streaming juggernaut

NVIDIA Shield TV Pro (2015)

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Not worth tracking one down in 2019.

From $300 used at Amazon

While still a great streaming box with more internal storage than you likely no what to do with, there are enough new features baked into the new Shield TV Pro to justify an upgrade — especially if you’re already living that 4K life.