Steam Link vs NVIDIA Shield TV
Valve and NVIDIA are giants in the PC gaming industry, and both offer systems that allow you to play PC games from the comfort of your couch without having to move your hardware. Steam Link and NVIDIA Shield TV have integrated streaming systems that use your gaming PC for hard work and your local network to stream results to another display.
But in the battle of gaming streamers, what’s better and most importantly, what’s right for you. Let’s break it down.
What is NVIDIA Shield TV?
NVIDIA Shield TV.
Shield is NVIDIA’s line of Android gaming products and, not surprisingly, Shield TV is under your TV. Android TV is a combination set-top box and console, and with GameStream you can make your PC games the way you can put them.
NVIDIA has its own controller for the Shield TV, and, naturally, GameStream requires that your PC has an NVIDIA GPU, as well as the Geforce Experience app. The cheapest model costs $199 and currently includes the controller and remote.
How to stream PC games into your living room with NVIDIA Shield TV
What is Steam Link?
Simply put, it’s a little black box that you plug into your TV that lets you play computer games away from your computer. You can play with a controller or keyboard and mouse, and its small size is combined with a fairly small price tag.
What Steam Link is not , it is a console. There is no Netflix app or anything else for that matter. All it does is let you play your games. You will also need to provide your own controller or keyboard and mouse, neither of which are included. Cook on Steam does sell your own controller, but it’s an additional purchase.
The Steam Link costs about $40 at the time of writing, though there are often discounts.
Similarities and differences
NVIDIA Shield TV Link Steam.
Aside from the obvious fact that they both allow you to stream PC games online, there are other similarities between the two products. First, Shield, like Steam Link, allows you to stream your Steam library. Which is awesome. They differ in that Steam Link really only streams your Steam games, NVIDIA GameStream is much broader, even supporting UWP games from the Windows Store, like Forza Horizon 3 . Steam Link can be minimized to the desktop, and there are ways to use games other than Steam, but it’s a bit messy.
Shield TV also gives you access to cloud streaming of PC games that you don’t have, albeit for an additional fee, with GeForce Now. And while you get a controller with the Shield in the box, you don’t. have to use it. It supports many others, including the Xbox One controller. Likewise, you don’t need to buy a Steam Controller for Link.
Then you need to think about the graphics processor. If you use an AMD Radeon graphics card on your PC, forget about Shield TV right now. The comparison is over. Without a supported NVIDIA card, you can’t use GameStream. Steam Link is a bit lenient on the red team members.
Beyond that, two of the biggest differences were touched on above. Shield TV is a full-fledged set-top box, capable of running apps, showing Live TV, and even operating as a Plex Media Server. Steam Link is nothing more than a remote game for your game library.
The other is the price. Shield starts at $199; Steam Link starts at just $40.
Ease of use
It’s mostly a wash in this regard. Neither device is hard to set up and use every day.
The Shield benefits from the TV interface offered by Android TV, and NVIDIA created its own app to isolate gaming from everything else. You just need to open the NVIDIA games app, and you can access your PC’s library along with anything you have on GeForce Now or originally installed on the Shield.
Steam Link uses Big Picture mode, Valve’s controller-friendly interface. You have big margins, easy-to-read text, crisp images.
It’s hard to say one is better than the other when it comes to the specifics of streaming PC games, just know that they’re both easily accessible.
Both are excellent at streaming, although you’ll want to use either the 5 GHz wireless band or, better yet, an Ethernet connection for best results.
Two differences in how much detail you can broadcast. If you have a PC for 4K HDR gaming and a great LAN connection, Shield will allow you to stream your games in 4K. Steam Link is limited to 1080p at 60 frames per second, which is still very respectable considering you’re not really in front of your PC.
After all, that’s what current-generation consoles like the Xbox One are capable of.
Steam Link or NVIDIA Shield TV: which is better?
It depends on what angle you’re approaching it from. if you only care about streaming your PC games, and you only have the games you need to stream on Steam, then Steam Link is the way to go. It’s cheap, efficient, and doesn’t interfere with your home entertainment at all. It’s easy to set up, and with Big Picture mode, it’s very easy to use.
NVIDIA Shield TV is a more serious product, mainly because it’s not just a box for streaming games. It’s anything but. When you’re done streaming games, it’s just a couple of clicks and you’re on Netflix or Amazon Prime.
The downside to the extra functionality is the price. It’s a better box, but Steam Link costs a quarter of the price. So the choice comes down to whether you want Steam games or games plus everything else.
If you have a PC to play games in 4K HDR and an excellent LAN connection, the Shield will allow you to stream games in 4K. Steam Link is limited to 1080p at 60fps, which is still pretty decent considering you’re not in front of a PC.
Does the Nvidia Shield work as Steam Link?
Since Steam Link now lives only in the software, Shield TV is one of the “cheapest” ways to transfer PC games from Steam to your TV screen.
Valve discontinued Steam Link hardware in November 2018 in favor of supporting the Steam Link software application for mobile devices and smart TVs and making Steam Link available as a software package for the Raspberry Pi microcomputer.
If you want to get the most out of your 4K TV, the NVIDIA Shield TV is absolutely worth your money. It’s expensive, but it offers the best 4K streaming experience with AI upscaling technology. Enthusiasts and nerds can also get a lot of benefits from NVIDIA Shield TV, although they’ll have to buy the Pro model
Best Steam Link Alternatives
PS Remote Play.
NVIDIA GeForce NOW.
Dixper Remote Play.
The Nvidia Shield (2019) costs three times the price of an entry-level streaming player with 4K HDR support, it’s not cheap, but it’s an incredibly powerful streaming player thanks to advanced AI scaling technology and support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision content.
On a 5 GHz network, our goal is 1080p resolution at 60 FPS with good quality for most scenes. If you have a powerful gaming console, a wired network, and a capable client device, streaming 4K at 60 FPS is quite possible.
Yes. You may. Because otherwise all streamers violate the ToS (Screen Capture Software).
A 64-bit 1.5GHz quad-core processor with 4GB of RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB 2.0/3.0, a headphone jack, and dual Micro HDMI (4K). Includes power supply, MicroSD, USB MicroSD card reader, case with cooler and fan, mini-HDMI cable and USB-C PiSwitch. USB interface, USB 2.0, USB 1.1.
While the recent release of Steam Deck gave gamers a new way to play games away from their computer, Steam Link allows you to stream your games from anywhere using an Android or Apple device that is connected to the internet (R.I.P. Steam Link Box
The Nvidia Shield TV Pro may be one of the most premium streaming devices out there, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good value for money. It’s more powerful than traditional streaming set-top boxes, offers 4K streaming, and because it’s an Android-based device, it has a wide variety of apps to take advantage of.