Last month, we brought you news that NVIDIA’s SHIELD Experience Upgrade 3.2 would bring some niceties like 4K VUDU content, in-app voice search and HDR support for the Netflix app, 4K support for the YouTube app, and the enabling of HDR GameStream for use with Pascal graphics cards.
But what NVIDIA failed to mention at the time, was that it was saving the best for last when it comes to the new software update: NVIDIA is also bringing the Plex Media Server to the SHIELD and SHIELD Pro. The Plex app has always been included for free with with the SHIELD, but adding media server capabilities just makes the console an even more powerful streaming tool for owners.
In case you didn’t already know, Plex is an incredibly popular media app that lets you organize all of your movies, TV shows and pictures into a single place. You can then access that content from your computers or streaming devices (a la Roku, Chromecast, Fire TV) via your home Wi-Fi network or away from the home using a smartphone or tablet.
By leveraging the powerful, 8-core ARM-based processor and its GeForce-class GPU, the SHIELD is actually capable of supporting hardware-accelerated video transcoding (H.264, MPEG2 and HEVC). SHIELD will also support multiple streams at a time at 1080p resolutions, which is a huge boon to families. That’s something that we can’t say for other ARM-based boxes out there. It also makes the SHIELD more competitive with expensive transcode-enabled NAS boxes or standalone PCs that are often used as dedicated Plex Media Servers.
If you’re a content hoarder, it’s very likely the 500GB HDD in the SHIELD Pro won’t be enough to satiate your needs (not to mention the 16GB of storage on the base SHIELD). With this in mind, NVIDIA allows you to hook up external drives to your SHIELD that can be classified as internal storage to further expand your library, or you can simply mount a NAS drive. And getting your media content to your SHIELD has been made easy using a simple drag and drop from your PC/Mac using the network share feature.
When the dust settles, the SHIELD Experience Upgrade 3.2 brings a lot to the table for SHIELD Pro customers, and the addition of the Plex Media Server is just the icing on the cake.