NVIDIA’s new Protect TVs begin at $149 with Dolby Imaginative and prescient and Atmos

And sure, the Protect TV would not actually seem like a TV streamer in any respect.

NVIDIA’s new Protect TV units rival the Pixel four for probably the most leaked devices of the yr. We bought an virtually full run-down of the $200 Protect TV Professional just a few weeks in the past, and shortly afterwards, we realized a couple of new cylindrical $149 Protect TV. Nicely now, NVIDIA is lastly confirming the existence of its two Android TV units — you possibly can snag them as we speak ($149+).

The very first thing you may discover is that the cheaper mannequin seems to be… a bit completely different than your typical set-top field. It is a cylinder that is meant to sit down among the many wires behind your TV. In keeping with NVIDIA, that helps it keep away from wi-fi interference. And if WiFi streaming is not your factor, the corporate additionally included a gigabit Ethernet port. The Protect TV Professional, in the meantime, has the identical case because the final mannequin, together with two USB ports and 3GB of RAM (the usual Protect TV has 2GB).

Each new set-top bins characteristic Dolby Imaginative and prescient and Atmos decoding help (the final Protect solely provided Atmos pass-through and HDR 10). They’re additionally powered by NVIDIA’s new Tegra X1+ processor, which the corporate claims is 25 p.c sooner than the X1. That does not actually imply a lot relating to streaming video apps, however the further horsepower gave NVIDIA room to develop an AI-powered HD to 4K upscaler, which may also help lower-resolution content material look higher on 4K TVs.


Positive, your TV already does HD upscaling by itself, however NVIDIA says its method goes a step additional. The corporate fed HD and 4K video samples to a neural community, which helped them construct a mannequin that may fill in gaps that typical upscalers miss. On a 65-inch OLED TV, NVIDIA’s AI upscaler delivered extra superb element in a Sport of Thrones character’s robes. I used to be nonetheless an HD feed from HBO Now, but it surely had an additional little bit of sharpness that resembled real 4K footage.

Whereas watching an HD stream of Coco on Netflix, the colourful Metropolis of the Useless was far sharper with NVIDIA’s upscaler. I may truly make out the homes and buildings floating within the background, whereas it seemed like a muddy mess with out the characteristic. The corporate did warn that the AI upscaler won’t work nicely with older content material, because it was largely skilled on high-quality fashionable footage. However, identical to any AI mannequin, NVIDIA plans to enhance it over time.


As a substitute of following in Apple’s footsteps with its new Protect TV distant, NVIDIA opted for a very distinctive triangular controller. It resembles Neil Younger’s oddball Pono music participant, however at the very least it is not one thing you are meant to place in your pockets. Whereas it seems to be awkward, the brand new Protect distant is extra snug to carry than the final mannequin (mockingly, its bigger measurement helps with that). There’s additionally a misplaced distant locator in case you handle to misplace it, and the buttons additionally helpfully mild up everytime you transfer it. You possibly can nonetheless go for NVIDIA’s $59 Protect controller in case you’re planning to play video games, however now you can even pair up some other Bluetooth gamepad.

At $150, the brand new Protect TV is a extra compelling buy than its predecessor, which launched at $200. You will get all the advantages of NVIDIA’s new {hardware}, together with that AI upscaler, in addition to all the options of the Android TV ecosystem, like built-in Google Assistant help. And identical to earlier than, you may additionally get beta entry to NVIDIA’s GeForce Now streaming service, which helps you to play loads of fashionable video games at no cost. If you would like so as to add extra storage or run a Plex server, although, then the Protect TV Professional stays your best choice.