NVIDIA Shield TV Pro vs. Apple TV 4K (2021): Which should you buy?

by Joseph K. Clark

For gamers

NVIDIA Shield TV Pro

New hotness

Apple TV 4K (2021)

The NVIDIA Shield TV Pro is our favorite streaming device for many reasons. It works best with Google’s ecosystem, includes expanding the storage, and is better for those who want to game on their main TV.

$200 at Amazon


  • Works best with Google’s ecosystem
  • Can expand storage with external options
  • It could be used as Plex Server
  • Better for gamers


  • Doesn’t include an HDMI cable
  • No support for 4K/120Hz

Apple made a lot of right moves with the Apple TV 4K (2021) while finally upgrading the included remote. You’ll get 4K HDR support with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, and it will eventually allow you to view content in 4K at 120Hz.

Apple TV 4K

From $179 at Amazon


  • Works best with Apple’s ecosystem
  • Upgraded remote is easier to use than its predecessor
  • Gigabit Ethernet jack
  • HDMI 2.1 for future 4K/120Hz support


  • Storage is not expandable
  • Limited gaming options are available

Now that Apple has finally updated and upgraded its flagship Apple TV model, it’s a much more formidable opponent when compared to the best streaming devices. Our upgraded pick, the NVIDIA Shield TV Pro, is a fantastic option, even without including 4K/120Hz support. But how does the best Android TV streaming device stack up against the best Apple TV? Let’s find out.

Shield TV Pro vs. Apple TV 4K (2021): Break it down now …

From a specification standpoint, it’s a mixed bag here. The Shield TV Pro uses the latest NVIDIA Tegra X1+, but the Apple TV 4K (2021) does not use the newest Apple chipset. Instead, Apple opted for the A12 Bionic, launched in 2018 alongside the iPhone XS. That doesn’t mean that the A12 is a slouch; it’s surprising to see Apple using outdated internals for its latest streaming device.

When you look at onboard storage, Apple gains the edge, as you can opt for 32GB or 64 GB. But that’s it. When the storage is filled with games, apps, movies, or other content, you’ll be relegated to deleting some things. Meanwhile, the Shield TV Pro sports just 16GB of onboard storage, but it can be expanded thanks to the dual USB 3.0 ports on the side. This means you can use one of the best external drives for the Shield TV Pro and beef up the storage. With this ability, you’ll be able to use the Shield TV Pro as a Plex Media Server, which gives it another advantage over the Apple TV 4K if you have a massive library of content.

NVIDIA Shield TV ProApple TV 4K (2021)
ProcessorTegra X1+Apple A12 Bionic
Operating SystemAndroid TVtvOS
Storage16GB32GB / 64GB
External StorageYesNo
4K resolutionYesYes
Dolby AtmosYesYes
Dolby VisionYesYes
Voice ControlGoogle Assistant / Amazon AlexaSiri
AI UpscalingYesNo
Price$200$179 / $199

So we already have a basis of where the new Apple TV 4K stands in terms of performance, but how does it stack up in terms of capabilities? Well, Apple seems to have made many of the right moves regarding playback quality, and we aren’t just talking about the 4K resolution.

The Shield TV Pro and Apple TV 4K (2021) are compatible with the usual content compatibility suspects you seek. This includes the HDR10, the most common form of High Dynamic Range in many streaming devices and television. Dolby Vision support is also on board both streaming devices, which pairs quite nicely with Dolby Atmos support. You can’t go wrong when getting the best picture or sound quality with either of these options.

There is one area where NVIDIA gains the upper hand with its AI Upscaling functionality. Apple’s TV 4K (2021) does feature upscaling support for 1080p content, but NVIDIA uses a proprietary method that has turned out to be quite impressive.

If you want one of the best streaming devices and don’t care about storage, then the base model Apple TV 4K (2021) is a great option. The price is the absolute difference when comparing the Shield TV Pro to the Apple TV 4K. The Shield TV Pro is priced at $199, while the TV 4K starts at $179 for the 32GB model and goes up to $199 while doubling the storage to 64GB. You’ll miss out on the Android TV experience while being limited to using Siri for your requests.

Shield TV Pro vs. Apple TV 4K (2021): Moving the focus to a game

Considering that getting a new PS5 or Xbox Series X is still practically impossible, users are looking for other methods for playing games on the best gaming TVs. Apple has a vast library of fun with the help of Apple Arcade, and NVIDIA’s Shield TV Pro can take advantage of the Advanced Android gaming selection of games.

As you might expect, you can use NVIDIA GeForce Now with the Shield TV Pro, streaming all your favorite AAA games in your Steam library right to the big screen. While the TV 4K may have an upper hand thanks to Apple Arcade, the Shield TV Pro fights back with cloud gaming and NVIDIA GameStream. Meanwhile, GameStream provides 4K HDR gaming at 60 FPS from your desktop computer. The only absolute requirement is to use an NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics card to take advantage.

The Apple TV 4K (2021) will be OK for casual gamers with good playing titles from Apple Arcade. But if you want to get into more intense gaming sessions, the NVIDIA Shield TV Pro is the easy pick.

Better for practically everything

NVIDIA Shield TV Pro

For those who want Android TV, expandable storage, and better gaming, The NVIDIA Shield TV Pro works well with Google’s ecosystem, includes the ability to expand its hold, and is better for those who want to game on their main TV.

More basic streaming

Apple TV 4K (2021)

The way to go is if you want a no-frills setup process and have Apple products. With Apple TV 4K, expect 4K HDR support with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, and it will eventually allow you to view content in 4K at 120Hz. Plus, Apple finally upgraded its included remote. We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.

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