GeForce Now and nvidia Shield TV (2019 Tube)

This is more of a guide on setup and modification than a review of the service. That being said, thus far I am incredibly impressed at the service in terms of the quality of the picture and latency. I have tried it on a Mac using keyboard and mouse as well as on the nvidia Shield TV 2019 (aka "the tube").

Since I have seen very little written up about this, I decided to share what I have experienced to possibly help others.

GeForce Now on the Mac

  • Performance was great on a Mac (macOS Mojave 10.14.6, 2017 MacbookPro 13 inch, 3.5 GHz i7, 16GB RAM). I expect nothing less for that level of hardware. However it is good to know nvidia didn't do the Mac wrong on the app
  • It recognized my wired Xbox 360 controller immediately
  • This could be a bug with my game (Killing Floor 2) or the service, but when I visited the controls mapping page in KF2, it crashed the game and I had to restart
  • If using an elgato Stream Deck and you want it to use the ⌘+1 or ⌘+G and other shortcuts for the gaming bar, screenshots, and recording, you need to go into the settings of Geforce Now and disable "Direct Mouse Input" - I didn't see any performance lag while playing the game as a result
  • When using Discord on Mac, Discord reports my status as using "Geforce Now" with the title of the game below it
  • Recording works well for screenshots and saving last minute of gameplay. Saves as PNG/MP4 in ~/Movies/NVIDIA/Geforce Now/NAME_OF_GAME in the quality it is being streamed to you in
  • I have a multi-monitor setup. I must drag and drop the game launching window from one monitor to another while connecting in order to keep it on that monitor. If I do not do this while loading, it will not let me move it later and I would need to relaunch it.
  • Once I hit some combination of Control or Command and F1. This launched macOS's display settings which shrunk my window to a vertical window taking up about 15% of my monitor. I could not get it back without restarting the app.

Which Shield?

Again, I didn't see much info on the internet about the differences between the tube and the Pro model. Here are the critical things I need to report that ma influence purchasing decisions. TL;DR, I should have gotten the Pro (but it is sold out everywhere). I do not want to say whether the Pro has it since I have not tested it, unless I am confident based on documentation.

FeatureTV (Tube)Pro
USB PortsNoYes
EthernetYesYes
Bluetoth Media AudioYes?
Bluetooth MicNo?
RAMLessMore
4KYesYes
Screenshot & Game recordNoYes
Stream to TwitchNoYes

Sideload apps

What worked

The simplest way I discovered to sideload apps is to:

  • Install X-plore
  • Put the APK (from apkmirror, for example) on my Google Drive
  • Connect the X-plore app to Google Drive
  • Download and install in that app. It will prompt for permission to do so

Apps

  • Discord - I could install using above method. I can sign in. I can text chat (using the Shield TV App for Android and, using this app in mouse trackpad mode, I could control the hamburger slide out menu. Without it, I couldn't figure out a way to use that menu. I could not get any Bluetooth microphone to work with Discord, despite it connecting and giving Discord Android permissions to use it. The microphone test page showed nothing on the VU meter. This is the same behavior as I tested on my Android phone if I do not grant mic permissions. I could hear other people, however, through my Bluetooth headset. I even tried using the remapable hamburger button the remote to enable ambient mic (which presumably is for the disabled "OK Google" feature) and that also didn't work. It did seem to still run in the background while I launched other games as I could hear other people speaking but couldn't respond. You get no notifications overlaid in games, even with notifications enabled in the app and the Shield's Android settings.

  • XCloud - Xbox Game Streaming - It installed fine using the above method. Some of the setup screens put it in a vertical format. However it was easily navigable, and once configured, everything was portrait. I tried out Halo MCC with Halo 1 and it worked without issue. The startup time of the game is quite a bit slower than GeForce Now, but not ridiculously long. The only graphical issue I got was occasionally, it seemed like a frame would stick on the bottom 1/3rd of the screen while the top was updating and, over the course of about 1-2 seconds, would wipe down and go back to normal. It is hard to explain, but it wasn't often and no reason not to use the service.

Accessories

  • Included remote - I really like the shape of the remote and like that the buttons glow when you pick it up. It can control the TV via HDMI (power) but I had to configure the IR settings for volume to work. I really wish I could disable the dedicated Netflix button. The hamburger button is remapable.

  • PS4 Controller - The worst mainstream controller... Paired fine and worked just fine. However all menus still have icons for as if it is an Xbox controller so you need to mind-map that X is A, etc. To enter pairing mode, press and hold the PS button and the share button. Open the Settings on the Shield (press and hold the hamburger menu), go to Remote & Accessories, then Add Accessory. To turn off the controller, hold the PS button for 10 seconds til it turns off. PS button will turn it back on. The PS4 buttons acts as the home button.

  • Xbox One Controller - Works fantastic. I had an issue on the first time after pairing when I tried to reconnect and I had to unpair/repair. However subsequent times it worked fine. To pair, follow above instructions for the Shield side. To pair the Xbox controller via Bluetooth, turn on the controller with the Xbox button, then hold pairing button for 3 seconds. Xbox button acts as the circle home button on the remote.

With all three options, I really wish the TV warned you on pressing the PS/Xbox/O button that it will bump you out of Geforce Now. If you do so, you go to the home screen. If you relaunch your game, you will be returned after about 10 seconds of startup time.

  • Surface Headphones - Paired and I got game/TV audio. Microphone did not work in Discord. Ambient sound controls on the headphones still worked and the volume settings on the remote did control the shield.

  • Sony SBH56 - Same as Surface Headphones. Microphone still didn't work in Discord.

GeForce Now on the Shield

This still worked great. App startup times are very quick. The performance is possibly better than on Mac as when I get the alerts for dropped packets, I see less degradation of picture quality. This was tested on a 4K Samsung LED TV with game mode enabled.

Just be aware on the Tube I cannot get the rewind/screenshots to work as that seems to require the Pro.

When playing Steam games like KF2, it will use Steam Big Picture Mode. Navigation works just fine, once you get used to it.

Games Tested

  • KF2 - 30+ hours
  • Team Sonic Racing (Free) - 5+ hours
  • Tomb Raider - 1 hour

Updates

Any updates will be recorded in this section with a date and any changes