NVIDIA TV Shield vs. Chromecast with Google TV (4K): Which streaming device is right for you?

NVIDIA TV Shield vs. Chromecast with Google TV (4K): Which streaming device is right for you?

Android runs the show for both of these excellent streaming devices, but is one better than the other?

  • Nvidia Shield TV (2019)

    Unbeatable picture quality

    When picture quality is of the utmost importance, the NVIDIA TV Shield’s next-level 4K upscaling ensures that every pixel works at its full potential. And when it comes time to stream, the built-in 1Gbps Ethernet port allows you to hardwire directly to your router for the best internet speed.

    Pros

    • Impressive 4K upscaling
    • Expandable microSD card storage
    • Works with Chromecast, Google Assistant, and Alexa

    Cons

    • Expensive
    • Android TV isn’t as polished as Google TV

  • Chromecast with Google TV (4K)

    Source: Google

    Google Chromecast with Google TV (4K)

    An intuitive interface

    The Chromecast with Google TV (4K) may not take home the gold for upscaling, but the $50 Google Assistant-powered device still supports a number of leading HDR and audio formats. A major plus? The fact that Google TV can recommend content based on your viewing history.

    Pros

    • Excellent Google TV interface
    • 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos support
    • Much cheaper than NVIDIA TV Shield

    Cons

    • Only 8GB of internal storage
    • No Ethernet port or microSD card slot
    • No GeForce Now support

Summary

  • The NVIDIA TV Shield (2019) offers advanced 4K upscaling and additional features like an Ethernet port and a microSD card slot, making it the top choice for those who prioritize picture quality and expanded storage. (150 characters)
  • On the other hand, the Chromecast with Google TV (4K) provides a great streaming experience at a lower price point and features the best UI for content recommendations. It’s a more affordable alternative with multiple color options. (146 characters)
  • Both devices have their strengths, but if you’re willing to splurge, the NVIDIA TV Shield offers superior performance and additional capabilities that make it worth the higher price tag. However, the Chromecast with Google TV is a fantastic option for budget-conscious consumers. (150 characters)

The NVIDIA TV Shield (2019) and the Chromecast with Google TV (4K) are two phenomenal streaming devices, and both peripherals just so happen to be powered by Android. On the NVIDIA end, it’s tried and true Android TV, while the Chromecast runs off its titular OS, Google TV. Both interfaces are packed to the brim with features. But when it comes time to watch your favorite movie or TV show, which of these two Android gadgets will give you the kind of experience you’ll want to write home about? Well, that depends on what you prioritize in the world of apps, games, and picture upscaling.

At Android Police, we’re major fans of both devices. And while there are many similarities between them, there are also a few key differences that might be deal-breakers. So, to help you make the best buying decision for your streaming wishes, we’ve put together this side-by-side comparison of the NVIDIA TV Shield and Chromecast with Google TV (4K).

Price, availability, and specs

The NVIDIA TV Shield currently sells for $150, and you can purchase the streaming device directly through NVIDIA and Amazon, as well as brick-and-mortar outlets like Best Buy. However, keep in mind that because of its higher price point and more advanced features, the TV Shield tends to be a bit more niche than the Chromecast with Google TV (4K), which may impact device availability across the board.

The full retail cost for the Chromecast with Google TV (4K) is $50. You can buy the streaming device through Google, Amazon, and retailers like Best Buy and Walmart.

  • Nvidia Shield TV (2019) Google Chromecast with Google TV (4K)
    Operating System Android TV 11 Android 12
    Downloadable Apps Yes Yes
    Resolution 4K, 1080p 4K
    Ports HDMI 2.0b, MicroSD, Gigabit Ethernet HDMI, USB-C
    RAM/storage 2GB/8GB 2GB/8GB
    Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
    Price $150 $50
    CPU Nvidia Tegra X1+ Quad Core A53 1.8 GHz

Tabletop and TV-tied designs

Unlike smartphones, streaming devices are getting smaller and smaller, and we’re not complaining. When it comes to entertainment real estate, we already have to contend with the fact that modern game systems are bigger than most Blu-ray players. This is why it’s nice that both NVIDIA and Google prioritize an out-of-sight-out-of-mind approach. And in NVIDIA’s case, if the gadget needs to be visible, the final footprint is fairly minimal.

That being said, the NVIDIA TV Shield requires some kind of tabletop placement, even though it’s only 6.5 inches wide and 1.57 inches tall. Yes, the required placement is a small gripe but one worth pointing out. In comparison, the Chromecast with Google TV is extra convenient with its suspend-in-the-air aesthetic.

Connections

As far as connections go, the TV Shield has more to offer than the Chromecast. On one end of the sphere, you’ll find both a power and Ethernet port, the latter of which is often reserved for higher-priced devices like the TV Shield. If lightning-fast internet is crucial to your streaming experience, a hardwired connection to your router is the way to go. Plus, you’re not going to find this connection on the Chromecast; the same goes for the microSD card slot on the other side of the TV Shield, which allows you to expand the 8GB of internal storage (meaning more apps and games for you).

However, note that most streaming devices (including the TV Shield) function just fine over Wi-Fi. So, you will save around $100 without the Ethernet and microSD card if you choose the Chromecast option. If Ethernet is integral, though, you can purchase a USB-C to Ethernet adapter to use with your Chromecast.

Remote controls

Remote controls are important, too, and both NVIDIA and Google did a nice job of giving streamers a controller that doesn’t feel cheap and is easy to use. As for the TV Shield remote, the design is a little on the skinnier side, and there are less popular shortcut buttons to play with (just Netflix). Still, backlit buttons, a mic command for calling up Google Assistant or Alexa, and an integrated remote locator make up for the absence of Prime Video and Disney+.

As for the Chromecast remote, the look and feel are on the smaller side, but chopping a few inches off its length makes for an easier handheld experience. And while there’s only one more shortcut button (compared to the single Netflix command of the TV Shield), Chromecast users can choose between a jump-to for Netflix and YouTube. There’s also a Google Assistant button and a few different color options for both the main device and controller, including Snow White, Sunrise Pink, and Sky Blue.

Old Android software vs. new Android software

chromecast-with-google-tv-hd-lifestyle-official

Source: Google

The TV Shield and Chromecast are both powered by Android, but there are some differences here. Whereas the TV Shield runs off Android 11, the Chromecast gets its UI and algorithmic abilities from Google TV, a next-gen version of Android TV. So what’s the big difference between these OS types? For starters, if you’re all about recommendations for new things to watch based on the programming you already enjoy, Google TV is going to be your best friend.

Thanks to strong AI capabilities, Chromecast keeps tabs on the content you stream and feeds this data back to you in the form of personalized “For You” content. One of our favorite parts of this feature is that your OG streamer subscriptions like Netflix and Hulu are tied into this AI, so if there’s a movie or two that Google TV thinks you’ll dig, it’ll appear on the For You page as a jump-to Netflix tile. Select the flick, and Netflix will automatically fire up the stream.

The TV Shield delivers its own algorithmic recommendations in the form of a Play Next section, but Google TV does a much better job at making these suggestions navigable. And at this time, Netflix and a few other apps don’t support Android TV’s Play Next feature. If you’re more of a scrolling devotee, the TV Shield is more of your traditional rows-and-columns app library; however, this UI element isn’t missing from Chromecast.

Regarding gaming, the TV Shield supports NVIDIA GeForce Now, which is great for those of us with many titles in our Steam library. And although the Chromecast with Google TV doesn’t include GeForce Now, gaming fans can still use Google Stadia.

In terms of casting capabilities, the TV Shield and Chromecast have built-in Chromecast support, allowing you to wirelessly beam certain apps and media from your mobile device or computer to your streaming device. You’ll also be able to use Google Assistant on both devices, but if you’re more on the Amazon smart home ecosystem, the TV Shield works with Alexa, too.

A clear winner for performance

Let’s not beat around the bush: If picture and sound quality are of the utmost importance, the TV Shield totally beats the Chromecast. How? It all boils down to 4K picture upscaling. Although both devices support all top HDR formats, the TV Shield uses advanced AI tools to fill those missing pixels with data from onscreen human faces and other focus points, depending on whatever content you’re watching. This results in a far better viewing experience, especially when watching older movies and shows. You’ll also be able to adjust the amount of upscaling applied. Unfortunately, 4K upscaling is completely missing from the Chromecast.

When it comes to UI and voice assistant responsiveness, the TV Shield and Chromecast are solid options. Thanks to powerful quad-core processors built into each device (an NVIDIA Tegra X1+ for the TV Shield and an Amlogic S905X3 SoC for the Chromecast), launching and navigating through apps, playing games, and using a voice assistant are all lightning-fast processes.

Which should you buy?

While we all like to save our pennies for a rainy day, the NVIDIA TV Shield is the streaming device you’ll want to use when it’s pouring outside. Yup, it’s $100 more than the Chromecast with Google TV (4K), but that extra Ben Franklin nets you some killer AI-powered 4K upscaling, a built-in Ethernet port, a microSD card slot for improved internet speeds and expanded storage, as well as GeForce Now and Alexa support.

Nvidia Shield TV (2019)

Editor’s choice

Best picture quality

While it’s one of the more expensive streaming devices on the market, it’s hard to beat the powerful 4K upscaling that you’ll get from the NVIDIA TV Shield. And if you’re big on downloading apps and games, the microSD card slot allows you to expand the Shield’s internal storage.

Of course, we understand that not everyone can splurge on a streaming device, which is why the Chromecast with Google TV (4K) is an incredible alternative. Not only will you save $100, but Google TV is the best UI for content recommendation and overall layout. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that there’s more than one color option.

Chromecast with Google TV (4K)

Source: Google

Google Chromecast with Google TV (4K)

Good alternative

An intuitive interface

The Chromecast with Google TV (4K) may not have the upscaling capabilities of the higher-priced NVIDIA TV Shield, but the Google TV user interface is one of the best ways to enjoy your favorite movies and TV shows.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *