nVidia Shield Remote

subtitled: How to not build a remote

Nvidia released their Shield branded version of Android TV and it has turned out to be a very impressive device.  As the device is geared towards a gamer audience, it shipped with an nVidia game controller.  The controller can be used for browsing Netflix, Youtube, etc., but it is not optimal as it is big, it will power down if left untouched, and it features soft-touch buttons that are way too easy to accidentally press (specifically the $%@# voice search button)...

The nVidia offered alternative to this is a $50 bluetooth remote that initially looks nice (very thin, headphone jack, microUSB charging) but eventually fails when it is used for consuming media. It feels as if it was created in CAD by talented engineers and designers -but with no actual hands-on functional testing/revisioning before production.

The Shield Remote features three buttons situated below a four-way navigation circle with an additional button in its center.  The bottom half of the remote contains a stripe with a touch sensitive volume control (pretty cool!).  There is a mic at the very top of the remote (for voice search) and a headphone jack on the bottom (for roommate quiet-time or night use).  The remote is rechargeable via a microUSB port next to the headphone jack.

1st complaint: navigation pad placement
The navigation circle is placed at the very top of the remote.
The remote is flat and thin and has the sensation of not feeling 'stable' in hand: it wants to flip over on an edge and not lay flat while fingers are involved (it will securely lay flat in palm when not in use). It feels somewhat odd pressing the directional pad left/right with my thumb as I want to move my index finger up behind the navigation pad to brace -and that is a very unstable grip.  The end result is I often end up pressing the wrong (or multiple) button(s). Sliding the remote down orients the circle pad a little better, but then it is ass-heavy in the hand.

2nd gripe; the (completely useless) voice search button is in the center of the remote (where the navigation pad belongs).
I personally find voice search for a TV to be not-so-useful; I would rather browse around Netflix/YouTube/Etc.  However, the location of the button almost guarantees  will hit it when my thumb wanders away from the touch of the remote for an instant- resulting in the search overlay blanking my TV show, muting the audio, and providing a knowing 'chirp'...

3rd groan; the only 'backlit' button is the (aforementioned useless) voice search button.
I am really unclear on why anyone would design a button to light up in green to indicate a voice search request (covered by a finger at that moment) as the TV will also blank and provide an audible search 'chirp' affirming that same action.   That particular green LED would have been much better situated behind the directional pad that is located in wrong place...

This particular remote is headed back to Amazon as I personally cannot justify $50 for a dysfunctional search button stick.  Hopefully there will be a v2 (or a 3rd party) remote that addresses some of the above issues.

Continued rant about voice search:

Hands-free search is useful for a cell phone in a car- but not-so-much on a game console/media player/home automation system (or on the same phone in any other situation).  In the time it would take to pick up a remote and enunciate 'Battlestar Galactica' (-and assuming the search engine understands me on the first try) I could also browse through Netflix (or Kodi) and find the same movie with the same remote (and not appear to be going schizophrenic/tourettes to the roommate..).


nVidia Shield Android TV Tear Down

I ordered an nVidia Shield 16GB Android TV and received it this morning.

My first thought is the 16GB be upgraded with a 2.5" hard drive like the 'Pro' model uses?

The console has no visible screws; the bottom readily popped off with a plastic tool.

Below are images of the innards of the nVidia Shield Android TV (note: serials obfuscated).

Initial opening; note the 2.5" filler in middle

HD filler and cabling removed.  No obvious SATA ports.
Also to note is a metal shield that was covering some memory (?) chips below the CPU:
The metal shield was held in place by the tape holding the cables... (odd)

Interesting cable; the J1 end looks like a BGA.

Section of board where J1 connects; additional unused connector is located above.
Two metal pegs align and the screw secures the the contacts.

Console partially re-assembled with base

Thoughts: no obvious SATA or power connectors on board.  There is a possibility that a second cable may be used in the pro version that would connect the additional space above J1 to a SATA cable? Or is the the 16GB flash on a board that can readily be removed and and replaced with a board that supports SATA? 

The nVidia Shield Pro Android TV isn't due to be released for another few weeks; hopefully more info will be forthcoming once it has been released.