Nvidia announced a new version of its Shield set-top box and the debut of an online service designed to bring millions of new consumers to high-end computer games.
At the CES opening keynote Wednesday, the company shared its vision for reinventing gaming, TV and transportation.
NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang announced that our GeForce NOW service will expand to millions more PCs and Macs, and launched a new version of SHIELD advanced streamer.
"Because of artificial intelligence we're now able to realize the dreams that we've been dreaming about for so many years," Jen-Hsun said. "What used to be science fiction is going to be reality in a few years."
One of the most dazzling aspects of the presentation was the tech powering the presentation itself. As Jen-Hsun spoke, a curved display the length of a football field lit up with images, videos and animations. And it seemed to reach out to embrace the audience of press, analysts and technology enthusiasts.The result felt like an enormous virtual reality experience. Powered by CANVAS software from Montreal-based Immersive Design Studios and the Epic Games Unreal Engine 4 game engine, the display was nearly 30,000 pixels wide and 1,080 pixels tall. It relied on a bank of 10 NVIDIA Quadro GPUs to crank out nearly 2 billion pixels a second.
Accelerating the Auto Industry
Scott Keogh, president of Audi of America, joined Jen-Hsun to announce that Nvidia and Audi are working together to put advanced AI cars on the road by 2020.
Scott noted that since announcing a partnership with NVIDIA ten years ago, Audi's sales have jumped from 60,000 cars a year to 210,000 cars in 2016.
Outfitted with a DRIVE PX 2 and running NVIDIA DriveWorks software, the Audi Q7 uses deep neural networks -- specifically, NVIDIA PilotNet, which recognizes and understands its changing environment while driving safely. The course will be modified during the demonstration, and features a variety of road surfaces, with and without lane markings, and a simulated construction zone requiring a detour.
Jen-Hsun also provided details on partnerships with mapping companies HERE and ZENRIN; and two of the world's largest automotive suppliers, ZF and Bosch.
It's all part of Nvidia's effort to reinvent the $10 trillion transportation industry with the AI car - vehicles that use deep learning-based AI to make driving safer, more personalized and more enjoyable.
It's the only way to manage the complexity of navigating city streets, Keogh said. Central to delivering this capability is our DRIVE PX platform and the Nvidia DriveWorks software, which integrate a range of sensors and blend multiple neural networks that learn based on past experience.
And providing new muscle for this vision will be Nvidia's forthcoming Xavier AI supercomputer on a chip - a thumb nail-sized chip using our next GPU architecture, Volta - that delivers 30 TOPS (trillion operations per second) of performance while consuming just 30 watts of power.
Nvidia is putting that power to work with AI Co-Pilot, which promises to help your car understand you as well as it does the world around it.
There's an AI for natural speech recognition, to pick up your spoken commands. An AI for face recognition, so the car knows who you are, setting personal preferences and eliminating the need for a key. An AI for gaze detection, so your car knows if you're paying attention. And an AI that can read your lips when you say the name of the next song you want to play, even if you've already got your radio cranking.
In addition to the AIs within the car, AI Co-Pilot integrates external sensors so that it can tell you when there's a bicycle pulling out into traffic as you're about to make a turn, or if a pedestrian has stepped into the road.
Besides helping you drive better, our new AI Auto-Pilot enables the car to drive itself, combining input from an array of sensors, HD maps and - thanks to the ability to share data - a far deeper well of experience than even the most seasoned driver.
GeForce Now service
Jen-Hsun also announced GeForce NOW for Mac and PCs, delivering on-demand, high-performance NVIDIA Pascal gaming PCs from the cloud to PC and Mac computers.
It's a simple way for new players who may not have access to a high-performance GeForce GTX gaming rig to experience PC gaming. It connects gamers to GeForce GTX 1080 PCs in the cloud, renders games with the latest NVIDIA GameWorks visual technology and streams them in high definition to PCs and Macs.
GeForce NOW is compatible with most Windows- and Mac-based desktop PCs and laptops. Gamers download the GeForce NOW app to their local machine. With a few clicks, they can connect to their own GeForce GTX virtual PC, install their favorite games from digital game stores -- like Steam, Battle.net, Origin, Uplay and GOG -- and start playing.
When gamers register for GeForce NOW, they can play for free for 8 hours on a GeForce GTX 1060 PC or 4 hours on a GeForce GTX 1080 PC. For an additional $25, gamers can play for 20 hours on a GTX 1060 PC or 10 hours on a GTX 1080 PC.
Early access to the new GeForce NOW service is scheduled for March in the continental United States, with full commercial service slated for the spring.
Jen-Hsun also now introduced an updated version of SHIELD, which now supports 4K HDR and offers 3x the performance of any other streamer on the market.
With the addition of Amazon Video in 4K HDR, SHIELD offers the largest catalog of media in 4K - also supporting Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies and VUDU.
SHIELD also provides access to GeForce NOW with Pascal-generation GeForce GTX GPUs in the cloud, improved GameStream and new native Android games.
With GameStream, GeForce GTX GPU owners can now cast their PC games to their TVs via SHIELD at resolutions up to 4K HDR.
SHIELD TV and GameStream bring a new dimension to PC gaming and a new SHIELD controller adds support for Haptics to the SHIELD / GameStream experience. In addition, Nvidia has added support for UWP (Universal Windows Platform) games like Minecraft and Gears of War 4, just to name a few.
Finally, a slew of upcoming features will transform SHIELD into an AI-powered hub for smart homes. SHIELD will support the Google Assistant hands-free. And with an upcoming update it will also support SmartThings - turning it into a smart home hub that can connect to hundreds of smart home devices.
NVIDIA SHIELD is the center of NVIDIA's home AI strategy. It relies on the hands-free Google Assistant, smart home hub integration and an AI mic accessory, the NVIDIA SPOT, to extend intelligent voice control throughout your home.
SHIELD is the first third-party Android TV device to announce support for using the Google Assistant, hands-free, bringing the power of Google to your living room.
Optimized for TV, and using just your voice, SHIELD taps into the Google Assistant to make the home smarter and replaces clicking a remote to control your TV. Request an Uber, adjust the thermostat, play music or control the lights - your desire is just a request away.
Google has optimized the Assistant experience for TV by presenting visual answers to your questions, in addition to audio ones. SHIELD also allows for conversational searches, so you can search based on the findings of a previous search.
Taking on-screen visuals and AI a step further, simply say the magic words "Ok Google" and "Show my photos from the beach" and view your requested Google Photos on your TV in up to 4K on SHIELD.
The new $199 Shield will get an accessory, called Nvidia Spot, which will bring sensitive microphones to each room of a house and allow users to speak naturally to the device wherever they are. Huang said the aim is to bring Amazon.com 's Echo-like capabilities to a media and gaming hub, eliminating the need for multiple devices.