Nvidia Shield vs Roku Ultra: Best Streaming Box | Ultimate Guide

Most modern TVs have smart streaming players built-in already. But many people still prefer to use stand-alone streaming boxes and there are lots of them around like Nvidia Shield TV and Roku Ultra.

So, for the sake of this post, we have decided to bring the discussion to two of the most popular – Nividia Shield vs Roku Ultra.

These two streaming boxes have become the go-to for everyone who is in search of a good 4K HDR streaming device.

The Nividia shield Tv offers a good 4K entertainment coupled with Dolby Vision Atmos, AI upscaling, premium Tegra X1+ chip, and fast ethernet speeds.

While the Roku Ultra, on the other hand, offers access to free content, an easy-to-search library, and the recent addition of Dolby Atmos and Vision.

Although the two are capable media players, taking a closer look under the table reveals some clear differences, similarities, and outstanding features that take them towards different buyers.

So the problem now becomes: which will suit your needs better? Is it the Roku Ultra or the Nividia Shield TV? Is the Nividia Shield TV worth it compared to the Roku Ultra?

All these questions and more will be answered in this Nividia Shield TV vs Roku Ultra article.

What Is Nvidia Shield?

The Nvidia Shield TV is an Android digital media player produced by NVIDIA as part of its Shield brand of Android devices.

It is designed to serve everyone regardless of specialization. Whether you are a media enthusiast, gaming enthusiast, or casual streamer, the SHIELD TV has you covered.

It is also an advanced Android TV streaming media player with an in-built Google Assistant and 4K HDR.

This feature helps you search for movies and shows, access media playback controls, change the temperature, dim the lights, and so much more. It also helps you watch your favorite show in the highest possible quality.

In fact, the Nvidia Shield TV is built for the most demanding users and beautifully designed to be the perfect centerpiece of their entertainment center. A higher version of it is known as the Nvidia Shield Pro.

What is Roku Ultra?

Roku Ultra is a digital media player manufactured by American company Roku, Inc. The device gives you access to stream media content from your favorite online channels in brilliant 4K, HDR, and Dolby Vision picture quality.

Additionally, it is a wireless stream box and hence allows you to stream in rooms far from your router.

You can also connect your phone or tablet with Bluetooth to play your favorite music, podcasts, and more through your TV speakers.

Although the Roku Ultra is for everyone, it focuses more on Apple users.

Nvidia Shield vs Roku Ultra: Who Is Winning?

In 2019, NVIDIA won the Nvidia Shield vs Roku Ultra contest, thanks to its high specs and features. And the fight has become more intense as the new Roku Ultra has added an upgrade to its existing features.

Some of its new features include Dolby Vision and Atmos, Bluetooth support, and an improved wireless range.

Nonetheless, the Nvidia Shield has remained the same with no obvious upgrade or new feature. Does this justify its higher price? We’ll find out shortly.

What we are sure of is this, there’s a contest – Nvidia shield vs Roku Ultra and we are bringing all the factors to the table.

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Nvidia Shield vs Roku Ultra: Specs

When it comes to the processing power, video/audio formats, and connectivity options, the Roku Ultra and the Nvidia Shield are the same. The other differentiating specs are listed below.

Nvidia Shield TVRoku Ultra
ProcessorRealTek RTD1319 (quad-core)NVIDIA Tegra X1+ (quad-core)
Voice assistantGoogle Assistant, and works with AlexaGoogle Assistant, and works with Alexa
Bluetooth5.0 & LE 5.0
Operating SystemAndroid TVRoku OS
External storagevia MicroSD card slotvia USB port
Internal storage8GB2GB
Video resolution4K, HDR, HDR10, Dolby Vision at 60 FPS4K, HDR, HDR10, Dolby Vision at 60 FPS
Wireless Network802.11ac 2×2 MIMO 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz802.11ac MIMO 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz
HDMIHDMI 2.0b with HDCP 2.2 and CEC support (no cord included)HDCP 2.2 HDMI (cord included)
AirPlay 2 & HomeKitNoYes,(impending update)
Gaming featuresWorks with NVIDIA GeForce Now or Android TV appsNone
Size6.5″ x 1.57″ x 1.57″, 4.83oz14″ x 4.2″ x 2.4″, 38.4oz
Remote controlYesYes
EthernetGigabit port10/100 Mbps port

Roku Ultra vs Nvidia Shield: Design

The first time I came across these two products, the first thing I noticed was the design. The Roku Ultra comes square-shaped with a black plastic build and ports behind it. And that’s all, no extra look. It doesn’t make it ugly, but it’s not eye-catchy either.

The Nvidia Shield on the other hand has a rather interesting design. The device comes cylindrical shaped with a black plastic build and ports behind.

Plus it also has some extra carvings where the ports are built. This design gives it a look beyond just being a streaming box, it has a more appealing appearance.

Another design to consider is remote. The Roku Ultras remote has playback controls, a directional pad, some buttons for other streaming apps like Netflix, a headphone port for private listening, and a microphone for voice control.

Additionally, you can press a button on the Roku itself that makes the remote beep audibly, to help you find it.

On the other hand, the Nvidia Shield TV remote is spectacular. It has a triangular prism shape, motion-activated black buttons for directions, a microphone for voice control, and a shortcut button for Netflix.

It also has a find-my-remote feature that can only be accessed through an NVIDIA app, which is less convenient.

NVIDIA recently made an update that allows you to add more customized actions to the remote buttons, such as specific actions occurring when you double-tap the menu button. But you’ll have to memorize which buttons perform what special actions.

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AI Upscaling and Gaming: Nvidia Shield vs Roku Ultra

Both Nvidia shield and Roku Ultra offer high-quality streaming, but Nvidia Shield wins the contest for streaming low-resolution content to appear like high-resolution.


Like most streaming devices, Roku Ultra takes low-resolution or HD content and automatically expands the pixels to fit your 4K TV while NVIDIA uses AI to cover for the empty pixels, upscaling content from 360p to 1440p and making it look like it is all originally 4K.

You can adjust the AI to low, medium, or high upscaling, as the effect will look amazing for some content but artificial for others.

For gaming, NVIDIA Shield TV gives you access to GeForce Now, the game streaming service that allows you to gain access to AAA games wirelessly.

The GeForce was developed by NVIDIA and now works so well that you’ll just need to get a Bluetooth controller. The Nvidia Shield also lets you play Android TV games.

Roku on the other hand has no option for gamers.

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Nvidia Shield vs Roku Ultra: Operating Systems

The other specs of your streaming box do not really matter or else it has an operating system that is suitable for you. The operating system (OS) allows you to search for content, compatible apps, and voice commands for controlling the content.

Now, bringing our two contesters Roku Ultra vs Nvidia Shield, let’s analyze how they work.

Nvidia Shield TV operates using Android TV which has access to a lot of free apps, including most of the major streaming apps asides from Apple TV.

The Nvidia shield is the best for Android TV box, and this makes it a reliable purchase for regular Android app users.

Additionally, NVIDIA Shield TV has an in-built Google Assistant command that is in line with the newly released Chromecast with Google TV built off of Android TV to create Google TV, a streaming platform with AI-based content recommendations and better Google Assistant commands.

Hence, it is safe to say that Nvidia Shield Tv exists for Android users.

On the other hand, Roku has an easy-to-use interface with all of the major free apps (including Apple TV) and a lot of free live channels. It is compatible with your Alexa or Google Assistant speakers.

The company says that soon it will have the ability to stream Apple app content via AirPlay 2, as well as be controllable through Apple HomeKit.

So, you can say that Roku Ultra cares for Apple users the most.

Set Up: Nvidia Shield TV vs Roku Ultra

Setting up the two streaming boxes- Nvidia Shield and Roku Ultra shouldn’t be so hard. Once you have unboxed them, you should be able to use them without professional assistance.

To set it up, you’ll start by connecting an HDMI cable to the streaming box and then to the TV before plugging it into a power source.

Once your TV and device are on and set to the right input, you can follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup.

For the Nvidia Shield TV, you will have to sign in to your Google account to complete the setup, while for the Roku Ultra, you’ll have to either create or log in to your Roku account.

The setup process is entirely easy and you’ll have instructions to follow either way.

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Nvidia Shield vs Roku Ultra: Pros and Cons

In as much as we have only shown the features of each of these streaming boxes, It is only right we discuss, the good and bad sides of them- Nvidia Shield TV and Roku Ultra. Here are the pros of using either of the streaming boxes.

Pros: Nvidia Shield vs. Roku Ultra

Nvidia Shield TVRoku Ultra
Compact tube designUSB slot for storage, local play
AI upscaling to non-4K contentFuture AirPlay 2, HomeKit support
Google Assistant button on remoteCustom shortcuts, the headphone jack on remote
Support for GeForce Now, Android TV gamingCheaper than NVIDIA Shield TV

Cons: Nvidia Shield vs Roku Ultra

Here are the downsides to using either of these streaming players.

Nvidia Shield TVRoku Ultra
ExpensiveNo built-in assistant
Doesn’t ship with HDMI cableMinimal gaming options

Nvidia vs Roku Ultra: Which One Should I Buy?

Both the Roku Ultra and the Nvidia Shield are good streaming boxes with positive reviews over the years but the Nvidia Shield TV is unarguably a more powerful device and this power is seen in its expensive cost of $150.

While the Roku Ultra is comparatively cheaper than the Nvidia Shield Tv, at $100, and is also a popular streaming box with a simple OS and plenty of free content.

Also, both the Roku Ultra and Nvidia Shield can handle high-resolution content easily, but only NVIDIA lets you watch older, non-4K content on new TVs and still have made it look natural.

If all you need is a good 4K HDR streaming box with a voice remote and lots of free apps, then the Roku Ultra would be your best fit. Its headphone jack and microSD card slot offers some extra convenience.

But if you want a premium streaming experience with features like Dolby Vision HDR, Immersive audio with Dolby Atmos surround sound then the Nvidia Shield TV is a better option.

This is because at the end of it all whether the Nvidia Shield Tv is worth all that money as compared to Roku Ultra really depends on your streaming needs.

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Nvidia Shield TV

It has stunning visuals brought to you by Dolby Vision HDR, and immersive audio with Dolby Atmos surround sound. Now powered has an in-built Google Assistant demands.

Roku Ultra

It upgrades any TV with powerful streaming and cinematic sound with Dolby AudioEasy-to-use Roku streaming player built-in. Now has Voice remote with TV controls.

FAQs Nvidia Shield vs Roku Ultra: Best Streaming Box In 2023

Which is best streaming box?

best streaming devices

Nvidia Shield TV (2019)
Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus
Roku Streaming Stick 4K.
Roku Express 4K Plus.
Chromecast with Google TV
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max
Apple TV 4K (2021)
Roku Ultra (2020)

Is Nvidia Shield better than Roku?

Shield is undoubtedly speedier and offers greater customization, but in many applications, they perform the same functions.
However, in my situation, Plex is running on Shield rather than Roku since Plex on Shield plays my full-screen video correctly.

Which is better Apple TV or Nvidia Shield?

Upscaling capability for 1080p material is included in Apple’s TV 4K (2021), but NVIDIA employs a proprietary technique that has shown to be highly effective.
The cost is the last distinction to be made between the Shield TV Pro and the Apple TV 4K.

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