New Nvidia Shield may support Google Stadia at launch

A photo of the Nvidia Shield TV
Image Credit: Nvidia (Image credit: Nvidia)

Speculation around the rumored refresh of the Nvidia Shield TV streaming box is getting intense. Just days after Google's developer tools seemed to make reference to an upgraded Nvidia Shield TV, it seems like there may be more going on behind the scenes than we first thought.

An anonymous source speaking to The Digital Fix has claimed that the Nvidia Shield TV refresh is not only coming this year, but will be launching in November alongside Google Stadia – the upcoming video game streaming platform hoping to offer an affordable alternative to traditional game consoles.

We know Google Stadia is launching in November, and will be coming to a variety of screen devices including laptops, tablets, and even Google Pixel smartphones. 

The promise of Stadia is in offloading most of the processing power needed to run games onto an external server, though you'll need some minimum hardware specs to get the program running.

It makes sense for Stadia to come to streaming boxes like the Shield, which has more than enough processing power to run the service, and is powered by Google's Android TV smart platform – as well as being able to play content in 4K resolution and HDR

We know Stadia will also play nice on the Google Chromecast streaming dongle, and it does seem like Google is making a concerted effort to strengthen its Android ecosystem with the upcoming games service.

Apparently, the source also mentioned that the new Nvidia Shield would come in a controller-free model, and be compatible with the Google Stadia controller – which is already available to order in advance of the Stadia's launch.

Don't cross the streams

What's curious about this is that the Nvidia Shield TV already has a cloud gaming service.

Nvidia's GeForce Now offers a curated list of games available to stream over the box, including many recent AAA releases. It's still a restricted lineup – and the resolution on GeForce Now is still limited to 1080p, compared to the Stadia's 4K HDR output – though it offers a simple interface, strong streaming, and the beginning blocks of cloud gaming.

Why Nvidia would want to compete with its own service isn't immediately clear, and unless GeForce managed to offer a distinctive offering – say, a number of niche games not offered through Stadia – we wouldn't image it getting much attention once the much-hyped Stadia has launched. 

You can see our in-depth comparison of the two services at the link below.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.