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Now Western Digital has released the WD TV Live HD Media Player, which offers a number of features including better video playback and navigation, access to online services like YouTube, Flickr, Pandora, and more, support for more file formats, and connectivity to both local networks and the internet via WiFi and ethernet. Hardware-wise the WD TV Live HD Media Player is almost identical in size and shape to its sibling, the WD TV HD Media Player. As I mentioned above, the WD TV Live HD Media Player sports an ethernet port, but you can also connect it via WiFi. Since I wrote my previous review on the WD TV HD Media Player, the most common questions I get asked are around format support. To see how well the WD TV Live HD Media Player would perform I loaded up a USB stick with video files in a variety of formats including DivX, M4V, MOV, and MP4. Streaming videos from YouTube, watching photos from Flickr, listening to music via Pandora and Live365 all proved to be just as effortless.
The WD TV Live HD Media Player also offers the option of hooking to your computer or NAS and enjoying your media that way, too. As with the previous review, if you have any formats you’d like me to try, please put them in the comments below.
There are now ten products out there that network and play all the same files as WD does, are in the same price range, yet have full iso chapter and menu playback which WD can’t do due to some bug that has never been fixed. I want to run my FAT 32 external hard drive through this but am not sure if it will read it.
The WD TV Live can read a Mac HFS + formatted drive just fine, though I DID turn off journaling. Does the WD Live TV HD Media Server device support the “RMVB” (Real Media Variable Bitrate) video format? Bought one of these the other week after having used a Windows Media Extender for a couple of years. The 2014 WD TV is the newest addition to the WD TV line, joining the entry-level WD TV Play and the now midrange WD TV Live. Western Digital (WD) has been a leader in the computer storage industry for decades and has developed a pretty capable lineup of streaming median players since 2009. People wanted to be able to stream TV shows from Netflix or Hulu as well as play their existing media stored on their network. The WD TV Live (2011) and WD TV Live Hub (2010) were the top of the line models until this year.
The new WD TV (2014) does everything that the WD TV Live could do, but adds Miracast and features to customize your display. The WD TV has the typical matte black design, with the WD logo located on a small glossy black section on the left side of the face. The strength of the WD TV media player lineup is their ability to play anything in your media library. Western Digital designed the unit to be inconspicuous on your entertainment center, hiding in the shadows whenever possible. The rest of the remote includes large Power and Home buttons at the very top of the unit, standard playback functions and four arrow keys which will be the most frequently used buttons.
This means that you can change the music playing on your living room media player from the kitchen, or send a subtle reminder to your kids that it’s time to stop watching TV and do their homework. Here you’ll be able to enter your network username, password, information, workgroup, etc. I mentioned previously that setup was time consuming, and here’s where that part begins. The strength of WD’s streaming media players is in what data formats they can play – and they can play A LOT of them! During our WD TV review we threw everything we could at this player and it took it like a champ. The WD TV also comes loaded with several apps with the option for many more depending on your viewing area. One of the reasons to upgrade to the 2014 version of the WD TV is the ability to Miracast your screen from your Android phone or tablet. According to the user manual for the WD TV player, the USB storage system file formats supported are FAT32, NTFS and HFS+. When we have the chance to entertain friends or family by using the WD TV player, they are taken back by the quality of the video playback. If you're anything like me, you often find yourself wishing for an easy way to watch your digital media from the comfort of your own couch.
Both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 support a variety of different media formats, including high-definition video. Home theater PCs are a tantalizing option, but they can prove cost-prohibitive if done right. Instead, some folks may rather have a simple device whose sole purpose is to play downloaded or ripped content in the living room. One of the most recent newcomers to this market is the not-too-originally named WD TV HD Media Player, with which Western Digital aims to shake up the market. Sporting a glossy, piano-black finish and only two subtle LED indicators on the front, the WD TV is a pretty slick contraption that would look right at home in just about any entertainment center. Speaking of cables, it's worth noting that the WD TV only includes composite cables, which is pretty odd for a device that brands itself as an "HD Media Player." Customers without a spare HDMI cable will be upset to find that they can't enjoy high-definition content from the WD TV right out of the box, which is borderline inexcusable. Another curious inclusion in the box is a vertical stand for small portable hard drives—ideally a My Passport device, as far as Western Digital is concerned.
Along the left side of the WD TV lies an additional USB 2.0 port for a second mass-storage device, as well as a pinhole-sized reset button.
The hardware isn't all that much to look at, since the Sigma 8635 chipset used for decoding is buried under a large heatsink that happens to be glued on there pretty tight—believe me, I checked.
Breaking SteelSeries Siberia 840 with Bluetooth Rocks Your Gaming World Game On with Dell XPS Tower, XPS Tower VR and Special Edition The International 6 Boasts $18.6 Million DOTA 2 Prize Pool What's New in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update? At the time I appreciated the fact that it could handle just about any video format I threw at it, but wished that it would also connect to my home network and other services. I plugged it into the side of the WD TV Live HD Media Player and then let it automatically configure my network settings. I found that to work just as seamlessly as when I plugged in my USB drive directly into the unit. It plays every other format in my collection ok- but not Loss-less- a bit of a misrepresentation on WD’s part when they say they play WMA files.

They do seriously rock, and I had the mkv problem which causes the unit to never want to play video from that drive ever again without a factory reset.
The new version, simply called WD TV (Model: WDBYMN0000NBK) takes the popular WD TV Live and makes a few tweaks to improve the overall experience, but also has one notable omission.
Building on their success with computer hard drives, WD developed a line of higher speed USB drives for use on TVs with a PVR via USB function. Included is the player, AC adapter, remote control, batteries, RCA composite video cable and basic documentation. Included with the unit is a full featured programmable IR remote which seems to think of every function you could possibly want in a remote control. Western Digital released a free app for both Android and iOS which works with their entire WD TV lineup.
On a more practical side, you can also use your phone’s keyboard rather than the remote control to enter data.
During the WD TV review, I found myself gravitating toward the Android app, but only because it made entering usernames and passwords much easier.
It is easy in that there is very little to do other than select a language and enter your network account password.
Once you tell the WD TV where your media library is located on your network, it starts the process of indexing the files.
The Mochi theme shown below offers a more sophisticated interface similar to that of an AppleTV or an Xbox 360One. For the WD TV review, we tested this feature using a Nexus 5 phone as well as a Nexus 7 tablet. The obvious exclusion of Netflix means that a lot of streaming customers will have to look elsewhere for their favorite movies and shows. It will even decompresses movies ending in img and iso format on the fly with no interruptions. I mean, we've got all of these random devices that let us watch videos, but I still can't simply carry a USB thumb drive into the living room and watch the latest Star Trek trailer in all of its 1080p glory on my 46" HDTV. But if someone's not interested in gaming, that's an awful lot of money to spend on a device that won't even have half of its capabilities put to use.
Building a proper HTPC isn't simply a matter of tossing your last-generation desktop into the living room.
Like the A-100, the WD TV lacks any form of internal storage, but goes one step further to lower costs by removing network access. The included infrared remote is about the size of an average cell phone, and it fits comfortably in your hand. Didn't Sony catch a ton of flack for the exact same thing with the Playstation 3 over two years ago? It's an interesting addition, but if cost is an issue, I think most users would trade the stand and the composite cables for an HDMI cable.
Though the WD TV isn't as large as something like a DVD player, the inclusion of a secondary USB port makes it more convenient to plug in a USB thumb drive quickly without going to the back of the unit and displacing a more permanent storage solution like an external hard drive. Like its My Book counterparts, the WD TV relies on a number of hidden plastic clips to stay closed. Four Nanya RAM chips making up a total of 192MB are littered around the PCB, along with a Silicon Image PHY for HDMI 1.2 output. As you can see from the photo below, the WD TV Live HD Media Player (pictured on top) offers much of the same as the earlier edition with the addition of composite and component video output and an ethernet port. For example, while you can navigate from one media type to another, if you have the device connected up to your network, the internet and have a USB drive of some sort plugged in, you’ll quickly get lost in the menu structure. The only issue I ran into was some buffering when streaming from YouTube, but that seems to be the case with every device I try to hook to my television.
I did have some issues around sharing the appropriate folders, but I’m sure it was a user error and not the fault of the device.
The USB dongle that I purchased was approximately $70, which makes the total price of the setup about $200.
HOWEVER if you download the new beta firmware that is due for release in the next couple of months as the full version it fixes that problem.
If you have a large library of files in several different formats or want to show content from your Android phone or tablet, you should go for the 2014 WD TV instead. There is a single white light to show the unit’s power status, and  a front USB port on the right hand side.
I think its much better to have a unit that does its job and doesn’t attract attention to itself.
This makes it very easy to hit the buttons on the middle and top of the remote, but not the number keypad on the lower half.
The app allows you to control any WD TV players on the same wireless network as your phone.
Finally, you and your friends can all use the app to play multi-player games included with the WD TV.
Once your media library is set up the way you like it, you may find yourself reaching for the RF remote rather than your phone. Wired networks simplify the setup process and the media library setup, but not everyone has an Ethernet connection in their living room. If you have any secure password for your network, it will be a major pain to type it in using the on-screen keyboard.
The default is a simple icon folder view, but they also offer a more modern, image intensive theme.
I will admit that it is a much more attractive display, but it limits the amount of information on the screen at any one time. And neither game console is fully compatible with some of the more obscure media formats, requiring you to transcode your content to make it compatible. Acoustic, thermal, and even aesthetic considerations all come into play—but that's worth a separate article in and of itself. Simply plug one into your television, and it acts as a Swiss Army knife for content playback. Accordingly, the WD TV's $129 suggested retail price is almost half what some competing devices cost. I assure you: while the WD TV certainly shares some design characteristics with other Western Digital products, it's a completely different kind of animal.

Home theater buffs will most likely replace it with a universal remote, but for the price-conscious consumers Western Digital is targeting, the stock remote works just fine.
The lack of component or S-Video analog output is somewhat disappointing for those without the latest tech. The WD TV completely lacks any networking interface, making it impossible to stream content from your PC or NAS. To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of piano black on tech products due to the number of fingerprints it attracts.
However, after two minutes with a knife and screwdriver, I had full access to the WD TV's naughty bits. Near the top right of the photo, you can also spot a four-pin interface I have to believe is for debugging purposes.
From what I can tell, you’re not able to upload any of your photos to your Flickr account through this device, but you can sign into your and browse as you like. In order to get the device connected to WiFi, you just insert the supported WiFi USB dongle into the USB port and then start up the WD TV Live HD Media Player.
That’s still cheaper than the AppleTV, though, but I would have liked a slightly higher base price with integrated WiFi. So now I can play video off any of my network devises effortlessly and it is soooo much better than the windows media extenders.
Many people who had just upgraded from older CRT TVs to new LCD TVs were hesitant to upgrade again just to be able to record without using a TiVo.
If you’re someplace in the middle, or get a substantial amount of your content from Netflix, you may wish to opt for the older WD TV Live. Also on the back of the unit you’ll find ports for wired Ethernet, HDMI, Digital Optical audio, power and the mini-to-composite video jack.
Fortunately, these aren’t used very often unless you program the remote to also work your television. No matter which option you choose, you also have the ability to change the background image to any number of pre-loaded pictures, or you can use one of your own. If you wanted, for example, to change from your network music library to Pandora using the folder view, it is two buttons to the right.
It’s strength though, is to be able to play pretty much any file format you can throw at it. The Apple TV represents the upper echelon of these products, as pretty much a full-blown computer with Wi-Fi, Internet streaming, and a large amount of internal storage—though it has its share of drawbacks, as well. I was an early adopter, so my high-definition TV doesn't even have HDMI—only component and DVI-D. That's a pretty huge concession that may downright eliminate it as an option for some users.
However, in the case of the WD TV, it won't be touched all that often, so fingerprints shouldn't be a big issue. Just make sure there's at least some open air around the device, because it can get pretty toasty during playback. Firmware updates can be done over USB, though, so users shouldn't ever have to worry about that connector.
In the menu photo below, you can also see that I was listening to music at the same time as browsing photos, which like most things so far, is seamless. When you access the network setup, if the dongle is supported you’ll be greeted with a Wired or Wireless option. If you don’t care about WiFi, the WD TV Live HD Media Player includes an ethernet port to get you on your network or on the internet. Simple setup, automatically finds all your network shares and communicates really nicely with DNLA compliant devices. Just keep in mind that any new firmware updates will probably be focused on the current models, which may lead to issues down the road.
The difference in height is due mostly to the additional USB ports on the front and back of the WD TV. For example, you could simply encode and burn a DVD, but that's time consuming and limits video resolution to standard definition.
Assuming the trancoding is between one lossy codec and another, it can also degrade quality. Below that, you'll find devices like the popular Popcorn Hour A-100, which ditches the Apple Tax and internal storage to bring the price down a notch. Luckily, the WD TV doesn't enforce HDCP encryption over HDMI, so I was able to use an inexpensive HDMI-to-DVI cable for video and then rely on either TOSLINK to my receiver or composite audio to my television. Also, one would expect to be sitting more than six feet away and looking at the TV rather than the WD TV, making small visual blemishes the least of one's concerns. If you have a large media library, or prefer to get your content from torrents or ripping DVDs, the WD TV is the simplest way to get that content on your HD TV.
Plus, the smooth exterior makes it look a lot more expensive than it really is, and in the realm of home theater equipment, that matters. Some of my photos took a couple of seconds to load, but as they ranged at around the 2MB~6MB mark, it’s no surprise. Photos on Flickr loaded rather fast, but like most devices like this, it’s not quite as fast as viewing them right on your PC.So what about music?
Given the overall pleasurable experience up to this point, I expected it to continue onto the music, and sure enough, there’s a lot to like here.
Case in point:This is an album that I ripped straight to FLAC with dBpoweramp, and no album art is kept in the folder or has even touched these files.
I tested about 20 different albums, and even some of my more obscure stuff loaded album art… quite impressive.
The interface as a whole is very responsive and easy on the eyes, and in the end, I couldn’t muster up a single real complaint. It’d be neat if WD could add in a feature to customize the theme in a future revision, since it would help the device cater to an even wider range of people.

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