There is little arguing with the power and performance of the NVIDIA SHIELD within the Android TV world. It is hands down the most powerful Android TV device on the market and in no short order thanks to the NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor inside. Likewise, when it comes to consuming media, Plex is arguably one of the most powerful media players and services currently available and especially when taking into consideration features like the Plex Media Server. Now, it looks like those two aspects are about to come together to create one of the overall best Android TV experiences to date.
While Plex has always been available to SHIELD owners thanks to the app's support for Android TV, today Plex and NVIDIA announced that the SHIELD"s upcoming SHIELD Experience Upgrade 3.2 will bring with it Plex Media Server as an included feature. As a result, owners of SHIELD will be able to make use of the entirety of the Plex Media Server on the SHIELD and without the need for any additional hardware or devices. The integration will see the SHIELD able to independently run the Plex Media Server all on its own, including support for 1080p hardware video transcoding on the device locally. This will be of particular relevance to the SHIELD Pro. As this is a device which comes with 500GB storage, this is enough room for the unit to locally house a significant amount of media. With the Plex Media Server running naturally on the SHIELD Pro, 500GB storage and the ability to make use of the high-performing internals, the SHIELD Pro will process the Plex Media Server much in the same way as it would by a PC. It will essentially be a one-stop, all-in-one Plex player. Of course, for those who need more storage (or own the 16GB model) you can always attach an external storage solution like a network-attached storage (NAS) device.
The additional benefits of being able to run the Plex Media Server fully on the SHIELD is that again, similar to if you are running the Plex Media Server on a PC, SHIELD will be able to provide access to all of your locally stored content on other devices using remote access. So while all your content will be stored on your SHIELD, it will be accessible from any other device associated with the account and from anywhere. If all that was not enough, the SHIELD Pro is also capable of making use of simultaneous streaming. Offering SHIELD owners the ability for one household member to be streaming content while another member streams different content remotely on a different device. In the very shortest of terms, the inclusion of full support for the Plex Media Server means SHIELD will be able to offer a far more powerful and varied media entertainment experience and in a standalone fashion. While this is not a feature that will be available until the SHIELD Experience Upgrade 3.2 becomes available, the upgrade is due to start rolling in the newt few weeks. If you already own the SHIELD then you will see the Plex app automatically updated once the SHIELD Experience 3.2 upgrade is applied. If you plan to buy one, the feature will likely come pre-installed on purchase. You can check out a brief example of what is to be expected with Plex Media Server support on SHIELD in the video below.