Roku Express vs NVIDIA Shield TV Gaming Edition. Which Streaming Media Player Is Best? The Answer Might Surprise You.

I picked up the NVIDIA Shield TV Gaming Edition on sale for $159 at Best Buy on Black Friday, regularly $199. I also had a $100 gift card to bestbuy from previous sponsored posts I’ve done for them. This is not a sponsored post. This is me providing my initial feedback of the device as I’ve now had it for five days. My end cost was $59.99

Earlier this year I purchased a Roku Express for I believe it was $29.99. It is the most basic cheapest Roku device, in hindsight I wish I’d purchased one with voice controls which I believe start around $49.99. I’ve had my Roku for about six months.

I thought I’d be “replacing” my Roku with the NVIDIA Shield TV Gaming Edition… but that’s not the case… Roku is superior in almost every single way. NVIDIA Shield is only for very technical people, with very fast internet connections, and the only real reason I will keep and not return the product is because of GeForce Now their cloud gaming Streaming service that lets you play games you already own such as from Steam or Battlenet on your tv and on lightweight non gaming PCs without linking to another PC a direct contrast to solutions such as how steamlink works letting you mirror your screen from your gaming pc, in the case of GeForce Now you do not need an expensive gaming pc or any pc at all.

But the service is not without flaws. Everywhere I’ve read the hype, how there’s no lag, and everything is smooth, yeah sure maybe if you have a good internet connection. I do have cable internet but I live in extremely rural areas where I have no choice who my provider is. I don’t think my internet is terrible. It gets around 15mbps, but let me tell you… GeForce Now is almost unplayable for me… don’t believe the hype! It’s not any different for me than PlayStation Now, another Streaming service I use, in fact, PlayStation Now has far less lag for me than GeForce Now. I had to disable my steam authentication token because it was physically impossible to use the controller and onscreen keyboard to type the code before it refreshed and changed. Games stutter, lag, jerk, and freeze… and I wasn’t even playing super new AAA graphically intense games. The first game I tried was Battle Chef Brigade, a 2d simple indie game.

Ok lag aside, there’s some other flaws:

I thought I could play games from the google play store… I can… sort of… but very very few of my favorites are available for “android tv”. Here’s where being a tech wizard comes in, you can sideload apps from a usb stick. Not included of course. They didn’t even include an HDMI cable. I’m using the HDMI cable from my Roku, cost $250 less and provides me everything I need out of the box.

I’m not tech illiterate but the NVIDIA Shield is ridiculously needlessly overly complicated… every other Streaming Media player on the market just works out of the box in minutes… it took me three hours to set up and troubleshoot my Shield. Mostly due to generic unknown errors and series of reboots and updates…

Games aren’t the only thing missing, several of my favorite tv channel apps are not compatible with android tv, such as TLCGo. Roku has far more apps and a much more intuitive user interface and setup takes only seconds even when needing updating not hours…

Hell google themselves don’t even seem to want to support their crappy Android TV as Google Chrome isn’t even compatible with it!

If you want to spend $200 for hours of updates, then have to find or buy your own hdmi cables and usb sticks, then fart around side loading apps from your pc to the stick to your Shield, and have a laggy choppy gaming streaming experience well that’s up to you…. keep in mind NVIDIA will begin charging for this service soon too and has not released any pricing details. From what I’ve seen, I won’t subscribe.

I would take my Roku any any any day of the week. GeForce Now is an exciting and interesting concept. I became excited and interested reading reviews of how it had no lag and performed perfectly as if you were playing it right on a pc gaming rig, but my experience left much to be desired.

I haven’t tried side loading anything yet. My instincts and speculations tell me that Apple TV has far more compatible apps and a better interface than Android TV.

I tried watching kissanime and TLC on my Shield using Puffin.TV, TLC had audio but no picture, kissanime would play about ten minutes then tell me filetype is unsupportable. I’m now watching the same anime on my Roku using a mirror from my iPad and iWeb TV (to be fair this probably exists on Shield too I didn’t check) and having zero issues, TLCGo and other apps are all at my fingertips the interface looks more pleasing intuitive less cluttered and just works. For a tenth of the cost…

For me, the answer is clear, love my Roku, and shockingly disappointed in my NVIDIA Shield TV.

26 thoughts on “Roku Express vs NVIDIA Shield TV Gaming Edition. Which Streaming Media Player Is Best? The Answer Might Surprise You.

  1. Seriously, you have a BS in tech and design and a MBA not sure what school you graduated from but you should see if you can get your money back…..

    1. Lol I wish I could too, since I’m still paying it off. I’m not a software programmer, coding a website html PHP JQuerry css etc and the MBA project management and security and Ecommerce legal stuff etc is about the extent of my ability but it pays the bills (not this blog, but my day job). I’m not completely tech illiterate but I don’t like buying an expensive electronic and being expected to take weeks reading or watching stuff to be able to use it. Maybe I’m just spoiled by how pretty much every other consumer electronic device works, cellphone, computer, console, every other Streaming Media player, etc. Maybe my expectations are too high or I’m too lazy to put in the effort it takes to learn how to use the Shield.

      1. It’s pretty simple really it didn’t take me to long to get the hang of it and I’ve always been an Apple guy. But you gotta do your research before you buy stuff like this. All you gotta do is return it if you don’t like it. But once u get the hang of it I think you will be wishing u didn’t write this article lol

  2. Ok seems to me that you wrote this without knowing what your doing first. I don’t know where you got your information about no lag but trying to stream games online is not gonna go well at all with 15 mbps. Chrome? I have chrome on my shield and it was very easy to get it on there. You said it took you 3 hours to update your shield? Ok now I know your making this up cuz I’ve spent more then 5 mins doing an update on my shield. But hey maybe you just didn’t know what you were doing or maybe it’s your internet again. Who knows. My internet i get to my shield is around 30 mbps and it’s not perfect at all but it’s not the shields fault lol. You also said you have to be a “techie” to sideload?? You do not have to a usb stick for this. Once you get chrome on your shield that is all you need. But I’m sure you will figure that out once you mess with it more. I don’t understand why you would use puffin tv to watch that show when puffin tv is just a browser. It’s clear to me you just don’t know what your doing yet and that’s ok we all started somewhere. I’d be willing to help you. Good luck and Happy

      1. Es file explorer. There’s a video on YouTube explaining exactly how. There’s other ways to do it that are easier. Ok First go into Es File Explorer then to the left side you will see settings then go to the 4th one down called Search engine setting click on it then click on the first tab and set to google then back out twice to main screen in Es file explorer then two down under from settings tab u will see the Favorite Tab with a Star next to it click that go down one to the Add tab. A add to favorite box pulls up and you have to enter the path: which is then name it google and then press add. Now at the bottom of the favorites tab there’s a new tab called google. Go to it and a browser should pull up. Now search google for Chrome Apk. You should see one come up on the list from apkmirror click on it and download it and wallaaa you should be good to go! Or just get EUMC and use the apk installer much easier lol

    1. Also I was using puffin because the anime I wanted to watch was on kissanime and not on crunchy or funimation or similar apps. Later after the fact I realized it would’ve been easier to mirror my screen to the Shield using an app, although it adds the extra step of navigating to the site on my phone, computer, or tablet first.

      1. Oh gotcha I don’t watch anime so I can’t help u out there but I’m sure there’s apps that have it and u just don’t know it yet. There’s all types of support groups on Facebook where u can get all these answers also. Just saying. Good luck.

    1. Not garbage, just a different opinion. Many things were quite accurate, my unit didn’t work right out the box, had to call NVIDIA tech support who through hours of trouble shooting everything eventually got it to get past the “generic error” (literally the error message), then after which, many apps on google play store are not compatible with the Shield including google chrome, and popular movie streaming apps such as TLCGO. My experience streaming games on NVIDIA GeForce Now was laggy but I did disclose that my internet connection is not the best. I’m glad you’re enjoying your Shield, mine just didn’t meet my expectations, I won’t be using it for anything except GeForce Now, as watching tv and movies is easier on other media players, and for me personally I don’t have a plex server or other reason to use the Shield.

  3. Why you review something you don’t understand? The shield are very good but maybe not for beginners like you becuce you need to setup the shield for your TV and soundsystem.
    We people that have shield know that you talk not right so please have the shield 1-2 week and then you open yours eyes.

    1. It shouldn’t take weeks to learn to use though. To copy a comment to a reader similar to you above, That’s the point of my review though, my initial thoughts out of the box, most people buy a product and except it to work well without watching YouTube videos or reading forums or calling tech support. It’s not user friendly at all compared to literally every other Streaming device out there such as Roku, amazon fire stick, chromecast, etc

  4. Just because you’re not tech savvy doesn’t mean your review is accurate at all. Anybody who would say a low end roku is superior to an nvidia shield doesn’t have a clue what they’re talking about. Might want to learn more about what the devices can do, and how to get them to do that before you wrote an article on such equipment.

    1. That’s the point of my review though, my initial thoughts out of the box, most people buy a product and except it to work well without watching YouTube videos or reading forums or calling tech support. It’s not user friendly at all compared to literally every other Streaming device out there such as Roku, amazon fire stick, chromecast, etc

  5. Interesting article, and completely wrong in every way, apart from one, you should def stick to the roku.. 😉

      1. The only difference with the 2017 shield and “gaming edition” shield is it comes with a controller.

    1. People are putting me on blast for liking roku more than shield lol But that’s just my opinion so no need for anyone to be offended. I just like how simple the roku is and it has more apps that are accessible out of the box where as shield says not compatible with my device plus that it came with hdmi cables and everything I needed in the box and cost only one tenth of the shield. To be fair I dunno what the shield can really do, I know you can run a plex media server and side load apps and the big attraction is GeForce Now, but beyond that I can’t think of what I’d want it to do I just wanna play games n watch movies lol

      1. Edit to my above comment I forgot to mention the benefits of Shield with Google Assistant making it good for those who want smart home automation or those who like using very advanced voice commands while watching movies such as getting information about the actors or directors etc. I sadly have no interest in home automation and only use basic voice commands like turn on, search, rewind, play etc. The shield has some benefits but it’s not for everyone.

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