With the release of a brand new software update, Nvidia has brought Google Assistant support to its Android-powered Shield TV.
With this integration, Shield TV owners can now enjoy hands-free control of their media, perform voice searches and control their smart home. In fact, it sounds very much like the Shield TV is now a viable Google Home alternative, able to do everything the smart speaker can do with the exception of a small number of features such as set timers and make phone calls.
Considering it's available in configurations for under £200/$200 this makes the Shield TV a very competitive streaming device. Remember that it can also stream media in 4K and HDR, act as a Chromecast, make it possible to access your favorite Android apps, and stream PC games from a nearby computer or Nvidia’s cloud-based servers.
Watch and learn
If you have a Google Home in addition to a Shield TV, you’ll be able to cast audio to the speaker as well as play, pause, skip, fast-forward and control the volume of what you’re watching using only your voice.
The great thing about being able to use Google Assistant on the Shield TV is that you’ll be able to see Google Assistant’s feedback on your TV screen as well as hear it. For example, if you ask Google Assistant for the weather forecast it’ll be able to cast a full week’s weather report onto your screen as well as tell you what the weather will be that day.
If you don’t have a smart speaker, the Shield’s gaming controller has a built-in microphone which means you’ll still be able to initiate hands-free controls by saying “Okay Google” just as you would with the Home speaker.
Your TV doesn’t have to be on to do this, either, making it useful if you simply want to change your smart thermostat setting or turn your connected lights out at the end of a night of binge watching.
As well as Google Assistant support, Nvidia is also bringing in Samsung SmartThings support to extend the device’s smart home control capabilities. Soon, the company will release a dongle that can be plugged into one of the Shield’s USB ports. This dongle will make it possible to control Zigbee and Z-Wave smarthome devices and make the Shield as capable as the standalone SmartThings hub.
The Shield 6.0 software is now available to download on all Shield TV devices.