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How to stream PC games to your living room TV with NVIDIA Shield TV

NVIDIA Shield TV

The NVIDIA Shield TV is an Android-based product, but it should be of interest to PC gamers thanks to the tight integration NVIDIA implemented between the box and your rig. By using GameStream, you're able to play your PC games in your living room through the Shield TV.

It's a powerful set-top box on its own, but the Shield TV at $199 is also a pretty handy gaming machine. Here's what you need to know.

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Using Shield TV for gaming

Before you get going, there are some prerequisites. The first, of course, is that you own a NVIDIA Shield TV. It doesn't matter if it's the 2015 or 2017 model, because they're both mostly the same and both support GameStream.

You also need a powerful enough PC. NVIDIA has made the feature pretty accessible, but at a minimum, you need a GTX 650 graphics card, 4GB of RAM and Windows 7 or above. Have a look at our best graphics cards roundup if you need to upgrade. You'll also need a fairly decent home network, with either a wired connection to the Shield TV or a 5GHz 802.11ac-compatible router if you're going wireless. Check out the full requirements (opens in new tab) for more. You can game up to 4K and with HDR, as long as you have the hardware for it.

Shield TV

Shield TV

You'll also need to be running Geforce Experience, which you can download here (opens in new tab) if you don't already have it. Then follow these steps:

  1. Login to Geforce Experience with an NVIDIA account or create one using Google or Facebook.
  2. Make sure the latest drivers for your PC are installed.
  3. Once you're up to date, go into settings.
  4. Select Shield.
  5. Make sure GameStream is enabled.
  6. Boot up your Shield TV.
  7. Go into GameStream, which you should find automatically on the home screen.
  8. Login with the same account as you did in step one.

Now you should be good to go. NVIDIA GameStream-supported games will be automatically detected by the system and allow you to play them on the Shield. If they support controller, you're all set and can begin playing with the stock NVIDIA Shield controller you have with your box.

If you need a mouse and keyboard, the Shield supports both wired and wireless options for both. Either hook up to the USB ports on the back or over Bluetooth in the Shield's settings menu. That said, if you're using mouse and keyboard you're probably just going to do it in front of your PC, right?

GameStream also supports streaming your Steam library, somewhat similar to Valve's own Steam Link.

Closing thoughts

The Shield TV is already an awesome set-top box, whatever your preferred software platform, and NVIDIA's gaming prowess makes it all the more exciting. Besides streaming your own games, you can also sign up for the Geforce Now service, which allows you to stream games you don't own from the cloud right to your Shield. That's on top of being able to play exclusive versions of top titles, such as Tomb Raider and Half Life 2.

So, while it runs Android TV, the NVIDIA Shield TV is definitely something the PC gamer should be interested in — especially if they occasionally like a little sofa time!

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Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

30 Comments
  • Did you get high before you wrote this article? PC gamers already have their PC hooked up to their TV, and consoles and PCs are far, far better gaming devices than a Shield TV.
  • Wow. You assume a lot here. With my shield TV wired I can play all my PC games on my TV without having to hook up my PC to it. In fact I can even stream Xbox play anywhere titles so it plays windows store games too and at 4k resolution. And the interface on the shield is way simpler than Xbox, plus apps like Pluto TV and Kodi work and even the Plex app is better than on Xbox. Oh and there is voice search for media content Full disclosure I own two Xbox ones and they are really good, but I don't want to buy both steam games and Xbox games and I am a digital guy so no discs for me. Plus PC is by far the most versatile platform
  •   "PC gamers already have their PC hooked up to their TV"  I think you're wrong. And I don't think I'm the only person that will say the same thing.     
  • Agreed. Plus these steaming methods always exhibit far too much lag for me to enjoy the experience. No way will streaming 4K have a zero latency 😆
  • Not every game is perfect. But 4K gears works great as does Crysis 3. Not every game can stream in 4k either. Wired it works well.
  • Lol, no I ******* don't. I have my PC hooked up to my Ultrawide monitor at my desk. If I want to play games on my TV I use my HTPC to stream to by using Steam's In-Home streaming function. Not everyone, not even most people have their PCs hooked up to a TV. I don't know why you'd say something so stupid.
  • Um...no.  First, I don't have my PC hooked up to a TV.  My monitor is much higher res than my TV, and that's just for starters..  Also, as soon as you said "Android-powered" I immediately lost interest.  I won't sully myself with that garbage, period.
  • What if it had Kinect?
  • Weird title. It isn't a must have for most. Even more, lots don't want to play games on their TV.
    No desk chair, less responsive screen and so on.
    Personally, 95% of the time I stream Xbox games to my PC (screen)
  • I considered getting a Shield when I was trying to decide what to buy as my main streaming device (went with the Amazon Fire TV). I can't shake the feeling that the Shield line is one step away from being discontinued without notice.
  • What makes you say that? NVIDIA is great with support; the older SHIELD TV runs the exact same software as the current one, and their SHIELD tablet from 2014 is still receiving software updates.
  • Lack of market presence.  Zero to no advertising.  
  • meeeh, too expensive for what it "offers" we have many better options from not well known Chinese manufacturers who offer better HW for a better price with both Android and Windows
  • The Shield TV is a no-go for me due to its closed nature and proprietary controller.  Steam in-home streaming allows use of an Xbox One Wireless Controller, or any controller of your choice, and is compatible with most games. However, I would ditch both of these systems if Microsoft brings platform-level game streaming from Windows 10 to Xbox One.  
  • From what I hear, you can use the Bluetooth Xbox Controller with the SHIELD just fine, so long as it's been connected to a PC first so it can get an update from Xbox Accessories. I really hope Microsoft announces a Bluetooth version of the Elite controller this year.
  • Yes yes yes. Please Microsoft let me stream my PC games to my Xbox. It's the one thing Xbox still needs.
  • I don't like Steam a lot but I'm gonna recommend to just buy the Steam link.
  • Steam Link doesn't stream Windows Store games, or act as a set top box with entertainment apps.
  • How does this differ than the Steam link?
  • It plays non-Steam games (including Windows Store games) and serves as an entire set top box with Netflix, Hulu, etc.
  • It also let's you use big picture mode, just like steam link.
  • I've already got my PC hooked up to my TV. One out for the monitor, one for the TV. So this is pretty useless to me. If I lived with others, and actually wanted a set-top box, I'd probably use a gaming barebones, or an xbox/scorpio, because doubtless I'd want to keep it in the same ecosystem everything else is.  In general I am not that big a fan of streaming, I don't spotify, I don't netflix, I really only bluetooth and very occasionally miracast for movies when travelling. I prefer HD audio, wired HDMI etc, whenever possible. I find streaming just to be lower quality, and sort of a pain.   
  • NVIDIA Shield is the WORST device I have ever used.
    Buy a mini PC instead with full Windows 10.
  • That mini PC will take ten minutes to just turn on, doesn't have a TV interface, and will be a pain for major Windows updates due to a lack of storage.
  • I bought a fanless stick after getting rid of my shield TV. I saw the first blue screen in like forever. Didn't think those existed. There's definitely no comparison to having box like the Shield. It's way more convenient and can do the basic things most people will need plus stream games from most if not all PC platforms. 
  • "Why the Android-powered Shield TV is a must-have for PC gamers" Sad how you can tell who wrote an article just by reading the headline.
  • Sad that people are triggered by the word "Android."
  • It's even sadder when prople get even more triggered by some one speaking the mere truth.
  • What mere truth? That a device running Android can be complimentary to another device running Windows?
  • Ha ha ha. Look who's beyond triggered now. Thanks for proving my point. The hypocrisy of calling others "triggered" when it's you getting triggered for a comment that struck a truth nerve in your anus.