Nvidia Unveils 4K-ready Android-powered Gaming Console

Nvidia, known for the chip components it makes for high-end PCs, cars and tablets, is now building its own video game console. Yes, you heard it right!

Nvidia's Shield will have all the typical amenities, it streams video, it plays games, it has a controller too. NVIDIA claims the Shield also offers one more thing that will help it face off against Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, a mix of software from Google and Nvidia.

Nvidia Unveils 4K-ready Android-powered Gaming Console

This is Nvidia's third gaming device, following the 2013 release of its Shield Portable and last year's Shield Tablet. The company hasn't disclosed sales for either device, although Nvidia executives say they are pleased with the line's growth.

It's going to push that 4K content via HDMI out back, and pull down streamed 4K content via Gigabit Ethernet. If you need some extra storage, as it's only got 16GB of internal store. Here's the good news, It's got a microSD expansion port and two USB 3.0 ports for an external HDD. You'll need some extra storage for all those huge video files. Shield also has voice control, which works both via the Shield gamepad's mic and a separate remote control.

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Beyond the set-top box capabilities, Nvidia's aiming Shield directly at gamers. The company terms its box to be "more than 35 times more powerful than the next set-top box" and more importantly, double the performance of an Xbox 360 (at least on paper).

The Shield will use Android TV that allows tablet and games apps to run on a television set. The console will also connect to Nvidia's Grid service, which can stream video games over the Internet much like Netflix can stream movies. The combination, says Nvidia, makes a compelling alternative to today's lineup of video game devices.

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Under the hood, the Shield is powered by Nvidia's X1 processor, designed to create sophisticated visuals for mobile devices. The device's real power lies with Nvidia's Grid service, which connects players with a gaming machine in a datacenter. The technology allows gamers to play visually complex titles without paying for specialized gaming hardware. Grid is currently available for free, but Nvidia plans to start charging for it after June, though it hasn't yet disclosed specific pricing.

The Shield will sell for $199 (Rs. 12,600) when it's released in the first half of 2015.

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