Nvidia Shield - or another streaming device?

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  • Gregolution 13 Mar 2020 06:12:09 9,976 posts
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    Right, I really enjoy gaming on PC but every time I try to do anything out of the ordinary it goes Pete Tong very quickly.

    Mainly referring to any type of output to TV instead of the monitor. I've tried using a huge HDMI cable but I usually run into issues with the Bluetooth dongle for Xbox pro controller not connecting until after a couple of reboots.

    Also have to faff about resetting resolutions and turning on v sync. Its such a bloody ball ache. Love how consoles just work every time in this regard.

    Have also tried steam link but the thing is flakey as fk. Works perfectly... About 50% of the time .

    It's so boring having to configure things and troubleshoot for ten minutes every time I want to switch from monitor to TV.

    So..... Will the shield make these problems disappear? Anyone have the latest model and is the gaming one the one to get (with controller) or is normal fine?

    I just want things to work without any faff....
  • monkehhh 13 Mar 2020 07:40:27 5,229 posts
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    I don't think either of the new 2019 models come with a controller. If you have a Bluetooth Xbox controller then I would just use that with it, no dongle required. The best streaming experience I've had on the Shield is using the Steam Link app on it. Nvidia's own Gamestream stuff works, but it seems more susceptible to network issues in my setup (everything wired). I would recommend the Pro model because that's what I have - 200 quid is a lot of money but we use it for all our media streaming as it's Android-based and has a Chromecast built-in.

    I guess the biggest question for you is, what's flaky about your Steam Link experience? If it's a shite network then you'll probably have the same issues with the Shield and you'd probably be best spending money on the network first. If it's other stuff then maybe you'd have a shite experience with the Shield too - I much prefer it to the Steam Link box, but that never gave me big issues either.
  • Gregolution 13 Mar 2020 08:21:51 9,976 posts
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    @monkehhh

    It's not network issues. It's just flakey as fk. Sometimes it shows no screen connection at all, then reboot 3 or 4 times and it works beautifully. I'm absolutely fed up with flakey things like that on PC. I just want things to work like all my consoles (or the PC when I just use it as a basic desktop).

    I'm tempted to just buy a long usb cable and forget streaming altogether. If I connect via a long hdmi to the tv in the same room as the pc and wire the xbox pro controller, it usually works straight away. However, doesn't stop me having to faff about turning on v sync and switching resolutions to 4k which is a faff I don't want.

    Edited by Gregolution at 08:22:34 13-03-2020
  • rice_sandwich 13 Mar 2020 08:49:41 6,426 posts
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    How loud is the fan on a Shield Pro?
  • dominalien 13 Mar 2020 08:56:07 9,538 posts
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    Iíve given up on using the Steam Link. Itís never worked for me reliably, with issues ranging from stuttering frame rate to interface elements in games disappearing or flickering (I canít even begin to guess how it managed to stream some parts of the game and not others).

    Iíd love to have a reliable streaming solution, but for the time being I just connect a computer with hdmi to the TV and use a DS4 via bluetooth. I donít have any problems with vsync or resolution, the computer just seamlessly switches from one screen to the other. I can even log in using the DS4ís touchpad as a trackpad and the on screen keyboard on the login screen.

    Maybe I should look into the shield, but Android kind of puts me off it.
  • monkehhh 13 Mar 2020 09:21:48 5,229 posts
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    @rice_sandwich I've never heard it.
  • monkehhh 13 Mar 2020 09:27:45 5,229 posts
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    @Gregolution it's difficult, it's not exactly at a price point where you'd be happy for it to not work if you tried it. I love it though and cables wouldn't work for me as the TV and PC are at opposite ends of the house on different floors (PC is wired through a powerline network).
  • Gregolution 13 Mar 2020 09:56:44 9,976 posts
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    monkehhh wrote:
    @Gregolution it's difficult, it's not exactly at a price point where you'd be happy for it to not work if you tried it. I love it though and cables wouldn't work for me as the TV and PC are at opposite ends of the house on different floors (PC is wired through a powerline network).
    fair enough, cheers
  • Gregolution 13 Mar 2020 09:59:23 9,976 posts
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    dominalien wrote:
    Iíve given up on using the Steam Link. Itís never worked for me reliably, with issues ranging from stuttering frame rate to interface elements in games disappearing or flickering (I canít even begin to guess how it managed to stream some parts of the game and not others).

    Iíd love to have a reliable streaming solution, but for the time being I just connect a computer with hdmi to the TV and use a DS4 via bluetooth. I donít have any problems with vsync or resolution, the computer just seamlessly switches from one screen to the other. I can even log in using the DS4ís touchpad as a trackpad and the on screen keyboard on the login screen.

    Maybe I should look into the shield, but Android kind of puts me off it.
    Yeah, inconsistent behaviour drives me bonkers. I have exactly the same issue.

    So.... how does resolution automatically change for you? I want that!! I mean... when I connect the hdmi cable to my tv, the pc resolution automatically changes but games won't. Or rather, typical of PCs.... some do but most don't.

    Divinity for example last night changed it's resolution to 4k just because I was connected to a 4k tv. But Metro exodus didn't change, and when I tried to change it to 4k, the screen actually became tiny like a picture in picture! (and then crashed). Brilliant.
  • Gregolution 13 Mar 2020 10:02:14 9,976 posts
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    Ori and the blind forest was even better. Coudln't change the resolution at all. Had to trawl through forums to find some bolx about the properties of the exe and flicking on some override checkbox hidden a few tabs down. WTF. I used to half enjoy doing this sort of thing..... 25 years ago. Can't believe it's still necessary
  • Tomo 13 Mar 2020 10:52:50 17,630 posts
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    Ahh, great thread!

    So, I got an Nvidia Shield Pro (2019 version) in January because I was really getting back into my Steam backlog, but didn't want to be constantly hunched over my PC. I've had a Steam Link for years and used it a bit, but in my experience, it was unreliable and caused more headaches than it was worth. I can happily report that the Shield Pro is wonderful.

    My setup:
    Fibre broadband ~40Mbps
    TP-Link AV600 Powerline adapters (600 MBps)
    -> so ethernet into both my PC and the Shield

    PC: 6xxx series CPU, 2080 RTX, ultrawide 3440x1440 monitor
    TV: 1080p Sony jobbie
    Controller: Xbox One Wireless pad


    The main issue I had with the Steam Link was that it absolutely sucked at handling the resolution difference between my TV and the PC. Despite having options to automatically rescale to the TV resolution, I found these never worked.

    The best thing about the Shield is just how seamless the desktop experience is. When you click Steam on the Shield interface, it actually takes you to your PC desktop rather than Steam itself. It rescales to 1080p without any issues. I've also setup my PC to Wake-on-LAN so when I open Steam on my Shield Pro, the PC boots up in the other room. It works every time.

    Then navigating Windows is just as you'd expect, even with a controller. You can move the cursor with a stick and use L/R as right and left mouse clicks. It works really well. You can open a browser, Word, Steam, whatever you want to do. I also have a little wireless keyboard for any typing I need to do.

    The other issue with the Steam Link was latency. When it worked, it was great for turn-based games, etc. But anything that required quick reactions was crap in my experience. I don't really understand why given, but the Shield Pro is wayyyyy better in this department. I can play games like Dirt Rally 2 over the Shield and it feels great. I was really surprised by this. I'm guessing the processor in the Shield is a lot better than the Steam Link and it can just handle the incoming data lot better. But I don't really know. Maybe something in the streaming tech too.

    As a media device it's also nice. Nice remote (annoying ugly Netflix button, but whatever). It has pretty much everything you'd expect, but sadly not BT Sport or Sky Go (which the PS4 does have). You can cast to the Shield from your phone, so I sometimes do this. And it's impressively seamless because it detects being on the same network so you can do it very quickly. It also has Plex and Kodi if those are your thing.

    It's £200 for the 2019 version which is 20x the price of the Steam Link. So, it's not cheap at all. I looked into building an HTPC, but the best I could come up with was about £600 and that would've been another box under the cluttered TV stand. This thing is so dinky you barely notice it. I think if the Steam Link wasn't basically a freebie, or didn't exist, then you'd judge the Shield Pro less severely. As far as I'm concerned, the Steam Link is not fit for purpose, whereas this definitely is, so the 200 notes are money well spent for me.

    I did look into getting a 2017 version of the Shield Pro as it's basically the same bit of kit with an older processor, which, looking online, makes little difference. You can source those for more like ~150 quid if you look hard enough and are willing to wait. Similar for the 2015 version. The guts of the machines don't appear to have changed much. If you have a 4K telly, then the 2019 version does (supposedly excellent) upscaling if you want that.

    Some other thoughts
    + Interface is good. You can access games from the menus directly rather than booting into your desktop environment
    + Works with GOG and other store fronts because you can just boot into Windows!! This is amazing and far better than Steam Link. I did find Witcher 3 buggy when loading GOG directly, but when I added it as a non-Steam game within Steam it suddenly fixed everything

    - No way of switching on/off the box on the box itself. You have to remove the cable and re-plug in if you shut it down. This is annoying. I guess it's so you have the thing on constantly. EVERYTHING MUST BE CONNECTED.
    - I had a few days where the connection to my PC was rubbish. Graphics looked blocky and it was sluggish. I think this was more to do with my internet connection taking a dip. I ended up rebooting my network of Powerlines and the router and this seemed to fix it. But I was puzzled for a few days.

    (I've not tried GeForce Now yet, but there are some free games on there. I suspect my connection is too poor for decent streaming, but I can see it becoming "the future").
  • Blackmarsh63 13 Mar 2020 10:56:11 3,138 posts
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    I'd pick up the previous model. They're nigh on identical.I wouldn't bother with the pro unless you need loads of storage. Steam games just seem to work once setup . Other stuff is a slightly more of a faff but work fine once configured. Mine is hard wired so wireless performance might vary.
  • Gregolution 13 Mar 2020 12:26:34 9,976 posts
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    @Tomo

    Great post. Very interesting.

    I might try the 2019 model then. But why pro? Doesn't seem.worth it for usb ports. Otherwise should be identical right?. And the new non pro is nice and small.
  • rice_sandwich 13 Mar 2020 12:48:46 6,426 posts
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    The pro is necessary if you want a Plex setup for streaming locally hosted films and tv shows. I'm looking at the shield for this only, not interested in its gaming features.
  • Gregolution 13 Mar 2020 12:51:07 9,976 posts
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    ah ok, not interested in that - only gaming. And only streaming - not those rubbish android games. So it seems pro would be useless to me.
  • Gregolution 13 Mar 2020 12:51:30 9,976 posts
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    This is the best candidate for a birthday gift for myself yet! Thanks for all the input everyone.
  • Gregolution 13 Mar 2020 13:00:00 9,976 posts
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    @Tomo

    More questions for you :

    Does the wireless keyboard connect without any dongle etc ?

    Which controller are you connecting with and how?

    Does the controller have vibration effects turned on in game and do they work properly as if you were directly connected and not streaming?
  • Blackmarsh63 13 Mar 2020 17:07:17 3,138 posts
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    @Gregolution The official controller is pretty decent. I've a standard bluetooth keyboard connected to mine.
  • Tomo 13 Mar 2020 17:45:35 17,630 posts
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    I looked into the Pro v standard and I can't remember exactly why I plumped for the Pro. Seem to remember reading that's it was advised for enthusiasts. But maybe I was conned by marketing and poorly researched reviews.

    Wireless keyboard: depends which one you get. I have the Logitech K400 and a Logitech K800 and mouse. Both are 2.4 GHz wireless therefore require a USB dongle. Currently using the K400 as it's fine for typing in things into a browser etc. But with a better keyboard and mouse you could easily play first person shooters etc.

    I use an Xbox One controller which connects via Bluetooth. The Steam Link was shit for this. Unless I plugged it in via USB, it often couldn't find the controller. Again, it works as it should on the Shield. Set up quickly and I can use the Home button to turn on the Shield if necessary. Pretty sure you can use a PS4 controller too. Probably a Switch one, but check. I'd thought about getting a 2017 model Shield purely because they come with a controller for the same price or less. But then I realised that I just don't need another good but inferior controller sat in my drawer gathering dust. So I plumped for 2019 version which doesn't come with one.

    Controller rumble is as you'd expect from what I recall. You can turn it off in the Shield menus if that appeals to you.

    Edited by Tomo at 17:45:58 13-03-2020
  • Tomo 13 Mar 2020 17:47:17 17,630 posts
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    Gregolution wrote:
    This is the best candidate for a birthday gift for myself yet! Thanks for all the input everyone.
    Basically a belated Christmas present for myself when I bought mine ;)
  • Gregolution 13 Mar 2020 17:47:49 9,976 posts
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    Ok. Thanks everyone. Think I'll plump for the Shield tv 2019. 150 notes. Happy birthday to me (in a week)
  • Tomo 13 Mar 2020 17:50:37 17,630 posts
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    One final thing: I got well into my Switch again at the tail end of last year. Was loving playing all the indie games in my living room, or handheld. But since I got the Shield, I haven't used the Switch much. I've got close to 1,000 games on my PC across the different store fronts and now now I can play them with ease, reclined on my arse on the sofa. It's really great. Then when I want to play something in ultra fidelity, say Hunt: Showdown or Apex, I sit at my desk and play ultrawide. I'm well happy with it.

    Edited by Tomo at 17:50:58 13-03-2020
  • Gregolution 13 Mar 2020 19:29:28 9,976 posts
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    @Tomo

    Doubt that will happen to me. I love my switch and it's ram packed with 1st party Nintendo games that are absolutely irreplaceable.

    But I'm happy to have both ;)
  • Gregolution 13 Mar 2020 19:30:35 9,976 posts
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    Annoyingly I've got this stupid Xbox Elite controller and it's not bluetooth. And the dongle is fking useless. Don't know if mine's buggered or what but it works once in a blue moon wireless
  • Tomo 13 Mar 2020 21:19:36 17,630 posts
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    Arf. Can always plug it in via USB but it's not ideal, admittedly.
  • monkehhh 13 Mar 2020 21:25:58 5,229 posts
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    Always assumed the Elite controller was Bluetooth (I have one), but you learn something new everyday! Mine works well with the dongle and my PC though. I use a standard Xbox One controller with my Shield, the one that has Bluetooth.
  • Gregolution 13 Mar 2020 21:38:34 9,976 posts
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    I'll use the PS4 controller. Should work
  • dominalien 13 Mar 2020 21:58:09 9,538 posts
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    Gregolution wrote:

    So.... how does resolution automatically change for you? I want that!! I mean... when I connect the hdmi cable to my tv, the pc resolution automatically changes but games won't. Or rather, typical of PCs.... some do but most don't.
    Oh, yeah, games, no. But my computer doesnít automagically become more powerful if I connect it to a 4K tv so I donít mind that at all.
  • Blackmarsh63 14 Mar 2020 08:03:09 3,138 posts
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    @Gregolution Which dongle have you got. I had problems with the original big one. The new tiny one works perfectly.
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