Plex, the suite of applications that allow you to stream music and video around your home, is now offering a powerful update to its application on Nvidia’s Shield device.
The update will allow the Shield to act as both a Plex server, and player. Which might sound confusing at first, but actually makes a great deal of sense.
Save you power and thus money
Because Shield is a low-power device it makes a lot more sense to use it in conjunction with your home streaming than leaving a PC on the whole time. As long as you can fit what you want to stream around your house onto the device and any drives you attach to it. You might need the 500GB Shield for this to even start to be practical, but there are other options too. You can, for example, connect up USB hard drives to the device which can contain your media.
Of course, it depends on how much, and what sort of media you want to enjoy. If you just want to listen to music, then there’s more than enough space on the Shield’s 500GB internal drive. Plex also says that you can connect the Shield to a NAS drive on your network and it will find media too. So that means that even those with huge movie archives will be able to take advantage of the Shield as a central hub to manage your library.
Shield also gets HDR and Dolby Atmos passthrough
We’ve written at length on the subject of HDR and what it means, and now the Shield will bring Netflix to your TV in the expanded dynamic range format that we’re so in love with. That means that soon you’ll be seeing TV shows and movies in better quality than ever before – an exciting development for anyone with a TV that supports HDR.
Read next: HDR explained
Shield will also be able to stream videos with an Atmos soundtrack to your AV receiver. This is awesome news if you’ve invested in the hardware to enjoy Dolby’s next-generation sound system and means that – along with HDR – home users are able to inch ever closer to a proper cinematic sound and vision experience.
The really good thing about Shield is that it has enough oomph to manage even high-bitrate video with superb quality. Shield can manage 4K, and indeed this new update also brings YouTube 4K/60p support too. Having a lot of power in the box is useful because it means that the Shield can transcode video from one format to another.
This isn’t needed for playing back on the Shield itself, but it does come in handy if you want to watch on a phone or tablet that doesn’t support either the video or audio format the original file is in. Transcoding is hard, processor intensive and most NAS drives that can currently serve Plex internally don’t have the power to transcode properly.
Makes Shield an even better buy
Shield was awesome when it was just a gaming and media playing device, but this takes it to the next level. If you were wondering when mobile processors would offer the same sort of features as desktop computers, then this brings us one step closer to that goal. Nvidia’s Tegra X1 chipset is enormously powerful and it would seem, well suited for media streaming like this.
Additional good news comes with the promotion that’s currently running that will see you able to buy a Shield with game controller along with the media remote for a reduced price.
Read next: Nvidia Shield TV Review: In Depth