The “FCC Season” that precedes the holiday shopping seasons seems to be in full swing. Yesterday we saw the first of Amazon’s new tablets appear in the FCC’s filings, and now a new NVIDIA Shield Controller has made an appearance. This new controller carries model number P2920 and FCC ID number VOB-P2920. These values are very similar to the current NVIDIA Shield TV Controller, which has a model number of P2570, so this may be the new controller for a new NVIDIA Shield TV. The FCC filing doesn’t reveal much, but it does indicate the new controller uses Bluetooth instead of Wifi direct, like the existing model does. This is likely because the new controller does not appear to have a headphone jack anymore.
Wifi direct connections are superior to Bluetooth when transmitting audio, which is why the new Fire TV Game Controller switched to WiFi direct when it gained a headphone jack in the second generation model. If this new NVIDIA controller is infact going to be paired with an NVIDIA Shield TV, it seems NVIDIA may be shedding features to lower the price, in order to better compete with the Fire TV.
Judging by the silhouette of the new controller in the FCC documents, it seems the new controller has a slimmer profile than the current controller. The existing controller always reminded me of the original bulbus Xbox controller, which was generally disliked by most people, so it’s nice to see a more traditional form factor is being used for the new model.
NVIDIA has a history of releasing overpowered devices and then lowering the price each year, insteading of refreshing the hardware. The NVIDIA Shield TV is four times as powerful as the Fire TV 2, according to NVIDIA’s metrics, so it’s possible this new controller will be paired with the existing Shield TV at a lower retail price. This is the approach NVIDIA took with their Shield Tablet, which was released in 2014 for $300 and then re-released in 2015 with the exact same hardware for $200. Time will tell.