Although 2017 has only just begun, there is already a new NVIDIA SHIELD on the scene. Announced in the first week of January, the new SHIELD is now available to buy at various retailers and offers more value than ever before. Which means there is likely to be one or two SHIELD devices being picked up in the coming weeks. Whether you are new to SHIELD or not, here are ten of the best apps that you should have running on your new SHIELD...and yes, most will work on your old SHIELD too - although for one or two of them, you might have to wait for the upcoming Android 7.0 (Nougat) update.
NVIDIA Games / GeForce NOW
NVIDIA Games is the app that you will find on the latest 2017 version of the SHIELD and essentially adopts the position of the hub for all your SHIELD gaming needs. Whether that is for Android games that are only available on the SHIELD or for games accessed through NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW service. When it comes to gaming, this is the app you will likely find yourself using more than any other.
Of course, Netflix needs no introduction. This is not just a video streaming service, but is generally speaking, the largest streaming service on the market. One which is available on just about any Android device that you own. However, as the new SHIELD is designed to make use of high-end viewing capabilities (with support for HDR and 4K), Netflix is one of the few streaming apps which will help you make the most of those supports.
Although, then there's Amazon Video and this is a significant addition to the SHIELD’s repertoire. Up until now, Amazon Video has been largely absent on most Android TV devices, but the SHIELD does come with Amazon Video included. Which means if you are a Prime member, then you will instantly have access to a significant number of movies and TV shows at no additional cost. Even if you are not a Prime member, there is still a benefit to having access to Amazon Video as you can also rent a large amount of content.
The NVIDIA SHIELD is a device for gamers. Twitch is an app for Gamers. So needless to say, Twitch is an app for NVIDIA SHIELD users. If you are not that much into your gaming, then Twitch probably won’t be one of the best apps for you. Although, watching games on Twitch might appeal to some non-gamers too. Either way, this is largely what Twitch is for - watching other game. Or of course, making use of the built-in ability to record your own games and upload for others to watch.
The Talos Principle
To be honest with you, as the SHIELD is designed with gamers in mind, there is an absolute ton of games available for this device and some really good ones. So listing the best game on this list will largely be impossible. Although, not including any game on this list will also largely be unforgivable. So with that in mind, if you are a new SHIELD owner and are looking for a game that is worth checking out, then The Talos Principle is one of them. This is a game that is only currently available for the SHIELD and is broken down into six parts which you have to purchase individually - although you can purchase all of them at a significantly reduced rate by buying the season pass. In either case, there is plenty of gameplay on offer here and this is a game which should take a decent amount of time to get through.
Sideload Launcher is not an app that will be for everyone. However, for those it is for, it is a lifesaving app. If you are someone who likes to ‘sideload’ apps to your device, then Sideload Launcher is the answer. This app will show all of the apps you have installed on your SHIELD, regardless of whether they are Android TV-compatible apps or not. Without this one installed, then it might prove a little tricky finding your sideloaded apps - as non Android TV apps will not show up on the main home screen.
The now ‘old SHIELD’ highlighted its power when NVIDIA released an update which essentially turned the SHIELD into a standalone Plex Media Server. Offering older SHIELDs the ability to run Plex in its full capacity, unaided. The new SHIELD comes with all of the same good points as the old SHIELD and while there are a number of new and headline features and services included, Plex compatibility is not one to overlook or forget about.
Like Sideload Launcher, this one also might not be for everyone. However, if you are into your media players, then you will find few better than Kodi. This is a great app for viewing all of your video (and non-video) content, and the more you know about Kodi, the more you can do with it. This is one of the few apps which just gets better and better the more you use it.
Owning an Android TV device does mean that you can start 'cutting the cord' and one good option for making the transition to a cord-free lifestyle is Sling TV. This app looks to offer you the best of both worlds - traditional TV content in app form and without the need for additional hardware or contracts. You will have to pay monthly for this one, but with plans starting from only $20 per month, this is an affordable and cord-free way to enjoy traditional TV on the SHIELD.
Like Netflix, YouTube needs no introduction and like Netflix, you don’t really need a SHIELD to make use of the service. But that does not take away from the benefits of using the service on the SHIELD. This is a device which is tailor-built to take advantage of the video streaming advancements and again, like Netflix, there are few apps which are 4K and HDR-ready more than YouTube. So this is another one of the essential apps for your new (or old) NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV console.