We found a display milestone in the Nvidia booth, where the chip company is first to support 4k resolution content at 60fps in its new Shield Android TV Box (and offering so much more to the game community). This was announced last May and covered in our Display Daily articles. At Siggraph, Nvidia said that it made a commitment to deliver its TV entertainment box directly to the living room to “fill the gaps in the industry” not addressed by others in the space. Specifically, the company is delivering a 4k streamed image over ethernet for gamers wanting to port PC-based games into the living room (this is huge) and offer access to the Steam game platform where most gamers search for killer deals on the latest game content and interactive play. So in one fell swoop, Nvidia has captured the heart of mobile, PC and interactive game play with a set-top-box whose real reason is to deliver the complete game experience to the best display in the house, the TV in your living room.
To get there, the Nvidia Shield includes the 64-bit Tegra X1, memory includes 3GB of RAM 16GB HD plus an open micro SD card slot, not to mention HiFi audio in the form of Dolby 7.1. For installer hounds there is CEC support over HDMI. As we said above, the STB is the first to support 4k video output (yes, Netflix is supported). Beyond Steam, the company is opening up other ways to play games with a subscription based approach that supports streaming 1920 x 1080 at 60fps, plus access to the Steam platform, as well as UHD TV at 60fps.
“We are streaming the graphics that game developers intended”, said an Nvidia engineering source, who didn’t want to be named. We were also told the company also plans to offer a subscription to gamers for a monthly fee, where users can buy and stream games, as well as a licence key to play the games anywhere. Games will be saved into the cloud. Nvidia owns the IP for this technology. They plan to launch this last component in late September with a global product deployment. Shield TV console is selling today for $199.
Nvidia also had a Light Field Stereoscope in the booth that the group claims solves the vergence-accommodation conflict (Ok, discomfort and visual fatigue) that is inherent to all stereoscopic displays. Nvidia said that it was showing the first “factored NTE display that supports both high image resolution and focus cues using factored light field synthesis using a pair of stacked LCD (dual) panels”. The approach shows improvements in both resolution and resolution blur quality. The contributors included two researchers from Nvidia and Stanford University’s Computational Imaging group.