The Nvidia Shield’s incredible AI upscaling technology just got better – including 4K, 60fps gaming upscaling

By Alex Donaldson
27 August 2020 12:42 GMT

An upcoming update could make Nvidia GeForce NOW streams look a whole lot better on Nvidia’s dedicated streaming device.

If you haven’t heard, the Nvidia Shield is one of the best set-top boxes out there. Yes, it’s comparatively expensive to things like the Chromecast Ultra, but it also comes with a feature set to match, powerful enough to natively play some pretty good-looking games and the perfect home for Nvidia’s GeForce NOW game streaming service. It’s about to get a whole lot better, though, with a big AI upscaling update incoming.

Owners of the current refresh model of the Nvidia Shield, released in 2019, should be familiar with that iteration’s addition of a powerful AI upscaler. It uses a trained neural network to take lower resolution video, processing it to produce sharpness and detail that’s so good that in some instances it can fool you into thinking it’s native. It’s a really impressive video upscaling solution, and for my money is actually a major selling point to the Nvidia Shield device as a whole.

An update released today expands the use of that feature. For a start there’s a wider range of upscaling options, allowing it to boost a wider range of resolutions. More exciting, however, is that the Pro model of the Nvidia Shield now has support for 60 frames per second – and that can be deployed on live TV, YouTube and beyond.

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The most important beyond to us on VG247 will arrive in an update next month: 4K, 60fps upscaling support for Nvidia GeForce NOW.

If you don’t know of Nvidia GeForce NOW, it’s easily enough explained: it’s another game streaming service, an alternative to Google Stadia or Microsoft’s xCloud offerings. GeForce NOW differs in one key way, however – it integrates with your existing PC library on store fronts like Steam and Epic Games, basically allowing you to play games you already own on the go for a slim subscription fee. It’s hit some snags with publishers pulling their games from the service, but it remains a particularly attractive streaming offering.

Like any game streaming service, one of the greatest sacrifices you potentially have to make is resolution in order to get stable streaming performance – and the AI upscaling on the Nvidia Shield should help to alleviate that, hiding some of the imperfections a lowered resolution could bring.

It’s a cool addition, and another string to the bow of what is – as we said – the best general-purpose under-tv streaming box around. The GeForce NOW upscaling update will arrive at some point in September.

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