The past year has seen the TV industry witness a wealth of new OTT (over-the-top) and VOD (video on demand) services launch, as well as some of TV’s more traditional players take the initiative in providing their content in this form too. With the ever growing trend towards tuning previously ‘dumb’ TVs connected via STBs (set-top boxes), Consoles, and streaming sticks, we have now seen NVIDIA make a concerted effort to also gain traction in this space.
TV & Gaming Goes Android
With Shield’s launch at Google I/O developer conference, NVIDIA has taken aim at not just the STB market, but also at the console giants; Microsoft’s Xbox, and Sony’s PlayStation, both of which have seen considerable popularity not just within gaming, but also with the streaming and downloading of OTT and VOD content.
The Shield device harnesses the NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor, and NVIDIA claim that it delivers up to 25 times the performance of one of the most lauded STBs, the Roku 3, giving consumers a delivery mechanism which is more powerful than many of its rivals.
In terms of TV and video, Shield owners will have access to the Google Play store, as well as applications on the device for OTT services such as Netflix and Hulu.
The Shield console is available in the US as either 16GB or 500GB models, which cost $199 and $299, respectively. Compare this pricing with the Xbox One ($338.99) and the PlayStation 4 ($399.00) and it appears consumers are being offered an attractive bundle. The device comes with one Shield controller as standard, and customers can purchase further controllers for $59 each, as well as a non-gaming remote, which is available for $49.
However, the uptake of this device will be interesting, it appears to be targeting a middle market, those whom wish to connect TVs to Internet content can do so through much cheaper STBs which offer similar features (For example Amazon’s Fire TV which retails at $99.00). And the core gaming community is largely split between PC and traditional consoles, with a trend towards brand loyalty. Currently Shield does not offer the wealth of major next-gen titles that Xbox and PlayStation have made available to consumers, but does offer high-end cloud gaming through NVIDIA’s ‘Grid’ delivery system. It is likely to see popularity with families and casual gamers- those who wish to use its TV and download features, as well as purchase games on demand.
Shield markets itself on delivering 4K video content, and as we have seen there is not a considerable amount of this currently on offer. It will be interesting to witness how NVIDIA delivers on this promise, with Juniper’s Mobile and Online TV & Video report finding that 4K content looks set to be a key driver of OTT service uptake, and with the research forecasting significant gains for both OTT and VOD services.