Home » Music » Nvidia Shield Vs. Steam Link

Nvidia Shield Vs. Steam Link

Performer Life is supported by its readers. If you buy something with our links, we may earn a commission.

On a PC, you may play games in a variety of ways. You can use a games console or the keyboard and mouse to play video games on your computer.

Get a PC with a strong graphics card if you wish to play the games with greater visuals, settings, and audio than are available on your computer.

To help you decide which one is best for you, we’ll compare the characteristics and functionality of the Nvidia Shield and Steam Link in this article.

Nvidia Shield

The Shield is a family of Android-based gaming gadgets from NVIDIA, and the Shield TV is, as might be expected, the device that is placed beneath your screen.

It’s a hybrid set-top device and console that runs Android TV, and by using GameStream, you can play PC games wherever you place your feet up.

Obviously, running GameStream needs having an NVIDIA GPU in your PC in addition to the Geforce Experience program.

NVIDIA offers its own controllers for the Shield TV. The least expensive model, which now comes with a controller and joystick in the package, costs $199.

Steam Link

To put it more simply, it’s a tiny black box that you connect to your TV to stream PC games remotely. A comparably modest cost complements its compact size, and you can operate with a controller or a mouse and keyboard.

A set-top unit is something that the Steam Link is not. There isn’t a Netflix app or any other, really. It only allows you to play your games.

Additionally, since a gamepad or mouse and keyboard are not provided, you must source them yourself. Even while Steam may offer its very own controller, it costs extra.

The price of the Steam connection is now around $40, though deals are frequently available.

There are also more features that these two devices have in common besides the obvious one of allowing you to broadcast PC games over your network.

The Shield, like the Steam Link, enables you to broadcast your Steam Library, which is the initial benefit. which is fantastic. 

They diverge because although NVIDIA GameStream supports UWP applications from the Windows Platform, including Forza Horizon 3, Steam Link primarily streams your Steam games.

There are methods of using non-Steam games, and Steam Link can be minimized to the desktop, but it’s a little disorganized.

With GeForce Now, the Shield TV also provides access to cloud streaming for PC games that you do not own, albeit at an additional cost. Additionally, even though the Shield comes with a control, you are not required to use it.

The Xbox One gamepad is among the several that it enables. The Link does not require a Steam Controller, though.

The GPU is another thing to think about. Forget about the Shield TV at this time if your computer has an AMD Radeon graphics card.

The contrast is over. GameStream cannot be used without an NVIDIA GPU that is compatible. Players of the red team can get away with a little bit more on the Steam Link.

The two greatest distinctions, other than this, were mentioned earlier. The Shield TV is a comprehensive set-top box with the ability to run apps, display Live TV, and even function as a Plex Media Server. Your game collection can be played remotely with the Steam Link.

The cost is the other. The Steam Link is only $40, whereas the Shield is priced at $199.

Steam Link Vs. Nvidia Shield Tv Pro

If you’re anything like us, you certainly don’t find PC gaming to be especially cozy; you definitely wouldn’t confuse it for the couch-based pillow fest that its console version provides.

The back hurts, and our hands are tight from investing so much time slumped over a desk. 

Fortunately, a streaming transformation is now fully underway, and two new gadgets have been created that send PC games straight to your living room television.

The Steam Link is a little device that resembles the Chromecast from Google. Any TV with an HDMI port can receive gaming directly from your computer.

The Nvidia Shield is similarly configured to stream games, but it can also serve as a specialized console and purchase and play games from the Android market, independent of your computer.

It functions as a complete multimedia hub and supports Netflix and HBO Go, among other apps. 

You probably won’t be dissatisfied with any product, but you probably won’t need both.

User Interference

The Steam Link runs on a simplified, TV-friendly edition of the Steam OS that we thought to be far more user-friendly than the PC version of Steam’s occasionally perplexing software.

With no fuss—and little work to synchronize between PC and television—we immediately started playing our preferred game. The Android TV interface, in contrast, appeared a little disorganized. 

The device flooded us with applications when we turned it on, which was a mistake because all we needed were games, games, and more games.

Again, since the Shield has greater capabilities than the Link, this isn’t the greatest of fights. But once more, minimalism prevails for this player.


Neither device really impressed us in terms of beauty. With a matte surface and an unnecessary curvature on one side, the Steam Link resembles a compact hard drive in certain ways.

It’s not attractive, but it’s also not awful, and we like how straightforward the design is.

In the shape and size of a little tablet from a future where electronics have triangular designs all over them, Nvidia’s attempt is all sides.

Although the Shield has a contemporary appearance and is not without attraction, we thought the molding was a little brittle, and the overall look was awkward. 

Since the Shield has so much more capability built into it than the Link, comparing the two on this basis is obviously unfair.


It takes skill to create an excellent controller: The biggest brands in the industry took more than two decades to create their own joypads.

Therefore, it didn’t amaze us that both the Link and the Shield—the Steam Link in particular—stumbled a little in this most sensitive of domains. 

The independently available controller costs an additional $50 and entails dealing with a clunky layout and subpar buttons.

It has a trackpad that is intended to mimic mouse motions, but we were startled by how inaccurate it was.

You may choose to use a third-party option if neither device is exceptional for your finger-crunching pleasure.

Both have strong support in this area via wireless, USB, and—in the case of the Shield—Bluetooth, although the tougher it will be to get the controller to function, the less known the company. 

We made several attempts until we were able to use the Steam Link with the basic Xbox controller.

You won’t be permitted to utilize non-Shield joypads, like the common Xbox type, if you broadcast using GeForce, which is disappointing for Nvidia. Nevertheless, the Shield controller is better and is included in the set.


All the approximately 4000 titles in the Steam store may be played on the Steam Link, and the compatibility for third-party apps like Netflix is growing with each latest update.

Like the Steam Link, the Shield can broadcast suitable games through the GeForce Experience pc application if your PC has an Nvidia graphics card. Compatible software on the Shield includes YouTube and Pandora (but not Amazon or iTunes).

Regardless of your PC, the Shield appears to outperform the Link in its ability to play games you have purchased immediately from the Android market.

But in practice, your collection will be significantly constrained if you only use games from the Android Store and forgo streaming entirely. 

We considered this to be a minor deal breaker as a die-hard player. The second deciding factor is the widespread use of the steam link platform, which greatly impacts how game developers decide when to release new games and isn’t likely to shift dramatically in the near future.


Each product functions within its own ecology. While the Shield can only be fully utilized with an Nvidia graphic board and GeForce features, the Link only functions with the Steam Store.

Each device’s restricted interoperability serves as both an advantage and a disadvantage. Your selections are limited, but it also makes sure that everything runs well on both platforms. 

During our time using either device, we never had a connectivity issue. Hardware-wise, each device is compatible with any HDMI-equipped display; the Shield even functions with the newest 4K versions. This is essentially a tie.

Nvidia Shield Vs. Steam Link Latency

Since the games you play using Steam Link are loaded and streamed from the computer, there will usually be considerable latency or lag.

Steam Link Vs. Nvidia Shield Streaming Performance

The horsepower of the PC you attach both units to determines how well they stream. I’ve found the wireless to be really bad, and running The Witcher 3 on both gadgets resulted in significant lag (a graphically demanding game).

Nevertheless, the results of using both the Shield and the Link were fantastic when the bytes ran normally.

With its Tegra X1 engine, 3GB of RAM, and 16 GB of internal storage, the Nvidia set-top device has the unique benefit of becoming a mini-console in its own way, in addition to streaming.

Those components offer a potent gaming session that can handle graphically complex games irrespective of whether you have a modern PC. 

The Nvidia Shield is the undisputed winner in this comparison right out of the box, but the scales start to balance out if you use a cutting-edge computer for your Steam Link.

Nvidia Shield Vs. Steam Link For Netflix

Nvidia Shield

In all locations where the Netflix service is offered, Nvidia Shield TV Android stream multimedia players support Netflix.

Make sure you are on your Main screen and complete the instructions underneath to link your Nvidia Shield TV Android media streaming player to your Netflix accounts.

  • Go to the home screen and choose Netflix.
  • User Sign-in is the choice.
  • Create your subscription if you are not already a user.
  • Enter your Netflix password and email address.
  • Choose Continue.

Your device and your Netflix account are now linked.

Steam Link

There is a Browser, even if Netflix is not one of the many games and applications in the Steam Shop for Steam Link.

  • Launch the “Web.” This is close to the store. After choosing a browser, launch Netflix.
  • You may use Steam on your TV with Steam Link. By doing this, “Big Picture mode” is immediately activated.
  • Click the “Power Button” in the upper right corner of the screen, which is near the settings.
  • After that, you’ll be taken to a menu where you can choose “the Big Picture minimize.”
  • Worth noting: In the Trial, the Big Picture only partially succeeded in causing “leave.”

Your desktop will now be customizable. You can use a web browser to view Netflix.

Can Nvidia Shield Run Steam Link?

A portable device called Nvidia Shield enables you to broadcast Steam games on your TV. There have been complaints that some games do not function on the Nvidia Shield.

It’s not apparent if this is an issue with the Nvidia Shield or the games directly. Although some individuals have proposed fixes, others maintain that the issue can only be resolved by waiting for an upgrade from Nvidia.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Nvidia use Steam Link?

You’ll have to employ the Shield remote or joystick to properly open the Steam Link app because you can pair it with the Shield using standard Bluetooth connections, but it won’t appear as a gamepad to Android.

Can you view 4K in Steam Link?

You can run 4K at 60 frames per second if you have an appropriate client device, a cable connection, and a strong gaming machine.

For 4K viewing, the Nvidia Shield is a superior choice. It includes a built-in internet browser and enables HDR. But the price is more than the Steam Link. If money is not an issue, you should pick the Nvidia Shield, which offers a wealth of online applications and fantastic gameplay.