This week Apple reinvented their digital media player/micro-console known as Apple TV. This is a whole new beast and to prove that point they introduce a powerful new operating system called tvOS. With a new foundation, Apple will be able to take Apple TV to greater heights over time. In fact, Apple views Apple TV as the future of television; a TV experience based on channels and other content being selected by users in the form of apps. And we all know how successful Apple is when it comes to selling apps. In the bigger picture, it's all about TV Everywhere – and Apple already leads that market by a country mile. Then again, some Android supporters may disagree with that assessment, especially NVIDIA. Today's report isn't about Apple TV but rather NVIDIA's latest marketing shot at Apple TV via a new infographic that they released this week. Take a look and tell us what you think.
The following is a marketing message from NVIDIA: "There's no dearth of inexpensive streaming options out there. But what if, like us, you not only prefer high-end solutions, but you also recognize the ever-changing nature of technology and want to future-proof your set-top box setup? Until now, NVIDIA Shield was the only game in town. Yesterday however, Apple embraced what we've been saying all along:
People want more than the run-of-the-mill options that are currently on the market.
Streamers and cord cutters want high-end, future-proof solutions with the horsepower to deliver top-notch entertainment experiences. And that's where NVIDIA Shield and now Apple TV come into play.
NVIDIA Shield vs. the New Apple TV
If you've been watching from the sidelines as the cord-cutting revolution began to take shape, waiting for more 'substantial' options, you may now find yourself at a crossroads. "Which way do I go?" If you're already an Apple TV user, we don't necessarily expect you to run out and buy the new Apple TV, NVIDIA states.
While many of the features are impressive, the basic offerings may not justify the $200 price-tag over what you already own. There's a more important question however. Do you really want to be locked into that walled garden?
The Flexibility of Shield
Deciding between Shield and the new Apple TV can be boiled down to one key question: Are you already deeply invested in one ecosystem over the other?
If you already own an iPhone, MacBook, and an iPad you're, probably a committed iOS user. But Android TV is inclusive and to that end, Shield also supports streaming from your current iOS devices.
Shield Offers both Voice Search & Voice Commands
But what if your technological tendencies are less about adhering to one ecosystem over the other? Instead, you find yourself leaning toward the most powerful, capable, and flexible device available at the time? In that case you'll definitely want to consider Shield.
Sporting myriad high-end and unique features like voice search, voice commands, expandable memory, the flexibility of Android TV, and a plethora of IO options, Shield not only offers a top-notch streaming solution replete with 4K resolution, but class-leading gaming offerings that consistently set the industry standard.
More than just Set-top Box Gaming
Speaking of gaming, more than anything we were happy to see Apple embrace something that NVIDIA has been supporting all along: set-top gaming. Relatively speaking, the world of set-top Android gaming is in its infancy as is the case with set-top iOS gaming now with tvOS.
Where SHIELD stands apart from the new Apple TV is that it's more than just a set-top Android gaming device. Thanks to GRID and GameStream, SHIELD owners are free to play any manner of AAA PC titles like GTA V, Metal Gear Solid, and Mad Max.
The choice is yours as we note in NVIDIA's jumbo infographic. With two high-end streaming options on the table, it's decision time. While the new Apple TV is a definite improvement over its predecessor, the fact remains that would-be streamers and cord cutters also crave truly high-end experiences.
SHIELD, Boasting 4K streaming, voice search, voice commands, and a gaming ecosystem that not only includes a full-blown App store but also the same amazing titles that are currently available on PCs and next-gen gaming consoles. This means the choice is actually a simple one: SHIELD.
The 4K Question
NVIDIA's SHEILD may currently have a mild advantage over Apple TV, but that really depends on what you use Apple TV for. For those wanting to play higher-end RPG titles then PC game streaming is important. If you want 4K streaming for a limited amount of content, then SHEILD may hold an advantage. Though truth be told the 4K question really isn't solved yet by anyone.
While Apple TV didn't include 4K capability this time around, Apple is likely working behind the scenes with industry leaders on how best to bring this new standard to market.
There's not a lot of 4K content out there presently, especially for 2015, so rushing 4K technology for Apple TV just wasn't a priority, especially if the standard is to change in 2016.
On one front there's Sony Picture and their Home Entertainment division moving into Dolby Vision's HDR with new 4K Ultra HD titles. The video below describes Dolby Vision which you could learn more about here.
On the other hand, we learned in January at CES that Samsung, Disney and Netflix are part of a newly formed coalition of companies known as the Ultra HD Alliance (PDF), which will attempt to define and improve the future of 4K video content. On the manufacturing side, Samsung is joined by Panasonic, Sharp and Sony for making 4K TVs. The standard isn't fully ready yet.
On the content side, Sony, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Netflix and Disney are on board with Samsung. Together these companies are committed to embracing next-generation technologies including 4K and higher resolutions, high dynamic range, wider colour range and immersive 3D audio. Areas Apple talked about in-part for the iPad Pro this week.
It's no mystery that Apple will want to support the new industry standards that are now being developed (unless they want to split the market with their own Next-Gen TV – but that's the subject for another day). Once the standards are in place Apple will no doubt introduce this feature into a future version of Apple TV and likely integrate it like no other. So while in the short term NVIDIA wants you to believe that it has a giant lead over Apple on this front, in reality it amounts to little more than smoke and mirror marketing.
In the end, today's report was to show you what NVIDIA is promoting in a SHIELD vs. Apple comparison. While most Apple fans will choose Apple TV hands down – there are some that will always choose tech toys based on their individual merits. What's your take on the SHEILD in their comparison to the new Apple TV?