|Manufacturer||Western Digital Component|
|Total Usb Ports||1|
|Includes Rechargable Battery||No|
|Remote Control Included?||No|
|Manufacturer||Western Digital Component|
|Item model number||WDBAAN0000NBK-NESN|
|Product Dimensions||10.01 x 12.55 x 3.99 cm|
Western Digital WD TV Live HD Media Player (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
- Play Full HD 1080p video, music and photos on your HD TV
- Supports widest variety of file formats and devices
- Network capable for easy access to the newest content from PCs, network drives, internet favorites
- Play network and internet content
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Amazon.ca Product Description
The WD TV Live HD Media Player from Western Digital has everything you need to play your HD media collection and the fun stuff you find on the web in brilliant HD 1080p on your big screen HDTV. Because it supports a wide variety of file types, you can instantly enjoy all your home digital media, regardless of the file format. Plus you get direct access to a huge selection of video, photos, and music from popular internet sites like YouTube, Flickr, Live 365, and Pandora (U.S. only) right from the beautifully easy WDTV navigation screen. The WD TV Live HD media player is exceptionally easy to use so anyone in the family can do it and, because it’s networked, you can easily access media from any PC in the home. Compatibility; HDMI, Full HD (1080p), AAC, MP3, JPEG, USB 2.0, H.264, SimplayHD, Energy Star, Dolby Digital, DTS, DLNA, Bonjour, AVCHD, Windows Vista. Box contains; Media Player, Compact remote with batteries, Composite AV cable, Component AV cable, AC adapter, CD with sample media, Quick Install Guide.
From the Manufacturer
WD TV Live - Play a world of HD media on your TV.
HD video, photos and music - they're on your computer, on your USB drives, on the Internet, but how do you enjoy them on your TV? Now it's easy! Play a world of Full-HD, 1080p media on your big screen TV with the WD TV Live network-ready HD media player.
Play network and Internet content.
Stream content from Internet sites like YouTube, Flickr, Live365 and from your home network.
Full-HD 1080p resolution.
Experience spectacular Full-HD video and crystal-clear digital audio.
Enjoy your media instantly.
Supports a wide variety of the most popular file formats. No need to spend time transcoding.
Full-HD 1080p video playback and navigation - This is the real thing; Full-HD 1080p playback. Sit back and enjoy the spectacular picture quality of brilliant high definition video and the crystal-clear sound of digital audio. Use the included remote control to make your entertainment choices using our crisp, animated navigation menus.
Play a wide variety of file formats - WD TV Live supports a wide variety of the most popular file formats. No need to spend time transcoding.
Play videos, music and photos from the Internet on your big screen TV - Explore and watch YouTube videos and Flickr pictures on the big screen. Rock out to thousands of radio stations via Live365 and discover new music with Pandora radio.
Access files anywhere on your home network - Play movies, music, and photos from any PC or drive on your home network. The Ethernet port connects this player to your home network through a wired connection or via popular, supported WiFi adapters (sold separately). Ideal for use with WD's My Book World.
Turn your USB drive into an HD media player - Play content from most popular USB drives, and digital cameras, camcorders, and portable media players that can be recognized as mass storage devices. Optimized for My Passport portable hard drives.
Collect without limits - There's no limit to the size of your media collection; just add more USB drives for more space.
Play media seamlessly from multiple USB drives - Two USB ports on the player let you connect multiple USB storage devices and access them simultaneously. Our media library feature collects the content on all the drives into one list sorted by media type.
Transfer files easily - Copy, move or delete files stored on a USB drive, a network drive, your camcorder, or a camera to the attached USB drive using the on-screen menus.
Show photos and movies directly from your digital camera or video camera - Works with digital cameras, digital video cameras, in fact, any digital imaging device that supports Picture Transfer Protocol.
Advanced navigation options
- Thumbnail and list views – Browse your content by filename or by thumbnails of photos, album covers and movie cover art.
- Media library – This unique feature lets you view all your media by media type in one menu regardless of its location in folders or drives. You can view your content by categories such as genre, album, artist and date.
- Search – Search by genre, title, artist, filename and partial filename.
- Create custom slide shows with a variety of transitions and background music
- Zoom and pan
- Search by filename, partial filename, most recently viewed and date
- Fast forward, rewind, pause, zoom, and pan
- View subtitles
- Search by filename, partial filename, most recently viewed and date
- Fast forward, rewind, pause, shuffle, repeat
- Search by filename, partial filename, most recently viewed and date
- Copy files between USB drives
HDMI 1.3, composite video and component video output - The HDMI port lets you connect to the highest quality HD TV or home theater. Additional composite (RCA), and component outputs ensure compatibility with virtually all television sets.
SPDIF digital output - The optical audio output sends digital signals to your AV receiver for the best surround sound experience.
Play a world of media on your TV!
WD TV Live supports a list of popular online services that delivers Internet content onto your HD TV.
YouTube - Broadcast yourself. World's #1 video sharing website.
Pandora - Free, personalized Internet radio playing only the music you love. Enter your favorite songs or artists, and enjoy stations created just for you. Rate songs as they play, because Pandora caters to your tastes and adapts stations to your feedback on the spot.
Flickr - Share your photos. Watch the world.
Live365 - Listen to thousands of commercial-free Internet radio stations! Live365 has broadcasts from Radio Disney, Santana, David Byrne, Pat Metheny, and Paul Oakenfold, as well as stations created by music lovers just like you!
Easily browse through popular genres such as rock, hip-hop, jazz, and new age. Or discover treasures in some of the less-traveled styles such as gospel, comedy, anime, Hindi, trip hop, 30s, glam, tribal, Celtic, and 100s more.
WiFi ready- Supports wireless network connection with optional USB wireless adapter.
Ultra-compact design - Fits easily into your entertainment center.
File formats supported
AVI (Xvid, AVC, MPEG1/2/4), MPG/MPEG, VOB, MKV (h.264, x.264, AVC, MPEG1/2/4, VC-1), TS/TP/M2T (MPEG1/2/4, AVC, VC-1), MP4/MOV (MPEG4, h.264), M2TS, WMV9
JPEG, GIF, TIFF, BMP, PNG
MP3, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA, AAC, FLAC, MKA, AIF/AIFF, OGG, Dolby Digital, DTS
PLS, M3U, WPL
SRT, ASS, SSA, SUB, SMI
- My Passport portable hard drive or other USB storage device with supported video or audio content stored on it.
- Standard or high definition television with HDMI or composite video connections.
- Home network and broadband connectivity for online services.
HDMI, Full HD (1080p), AAC, MP3, JPEG, USB 2.0, H.264, SimplayHD™, Energy Star®, Dolby Digital, DTS, DLNA, Bonjour, AVCHD, Windows Vista®
Note: Compatibility may vary, depending on user's hardware configuration and operating system.
What's in the box
HD Media Player, Compact remote with batteries, Composite AV cable, Component AV cable, AC adapter, Quick Install Guide.
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The unit does not feature an on/off switch, and is entirely operated by a remote control. You CAN however turn off the unit from the remote control, but the unit still generates some of the heat even in standby mode, so if not using the unit for extended periods of time it is strongly recommended to unplug it.
The user interface was easy to use and navigate through and I was quite impressed at the file format support . It even managed to play some formats that were incompatible with my Smart TV now used in another room, that was purchased in 2012 !
I use this unit on an older CRT in another room with RCA output coming out from the box. I have played both standard definition and high definition content without issues. This unit was used a lot before, on a daily basis, for hours at a time, before I purchased a Smart TV years later, aside from unit eventually becoming hot, it has not failed me yet.
Here are some of the cons however other than not having an on/off switch, the support is poor. At the time firmware updates to address known issues where infrequent - I have updated a few times the firmware since purchased, but many of the often reported bugs or feature requests were not addressed. While the picture and sound quality coming out of this box is well beyond my expectations, for a unit this size and price, navigating playback is difficult and slow - The unit lacks search and go to function. If you would like to jump to specific areas of a video you must start from the beginning and seek forward to your target, even with fast seeking the process is painfully slow. The lack of a search and go to was a let down.
The picture is amazing. We have a DLNA Blu-ray player attached to our main TV and the picture is better when showing through the WDTVLIVE player.
My kids love that they can now watch their 'shows' on any TV they want. (So I can kick them off the main TV when it's time for hockey.)
I may in fact get a second unit to use on the main TV.
(2 months after purchase)
I should have used it for awhile before I reviewed this product.
After about a month of use the connection to our network disappeared.
I had to set it up again, from scratch.
Any time that a network cable is unplugged (Not the player cable) from our router the connection is lost, again requiring that the player be setup AGAIN !
I returned the product and bought a DLNA capable blu-ray player which works perfectly.
All-in-all, very frustrating.
As far as I know, the WD Media Player supports the most video codecs at the moment, so that is useful. The resolution for the output to the monitor depends on the quality of the video you download, so it is not the Media Player that is at fault.
The convenience of just sitting back with access to hundreds of movies and TV shows on a hard drive is such a luxury. I haven't connected the Media Player to my network yet, but I'm looking forward to that, and having access to more video content online. No regrets.
It's now been about three months since I purchased my new media player and it is one purchase this year that I've had no regrets about at all. It truly is a superior piece of kit and now that I can play HD files on my big screen tv, I'm a very happy person. 10 out of 10!!
If there is one issue and it's a small one.... The fast forward is only x16.
If you want to find your place in a show a day later its a pain to get there.
Other then that a great product!
Top international reviews
It plays most formats, but I do occasionally have problems reading mp4 video files. The conversion software that comes with it is crap, but you can find free conversion software on cnet.com. It is a great value for the money, although I wish it had more USB 3.0 ports and could get upgraded to handling 4TB hard drives. When Western Digital introduced its 3TB external hard drives, it was a while before the company released an upgrade for this media player to read it. But other than that, it should be a must have for family entertainment.
People are not walking around with walkmans and disc mans anymore, I don't understand why it is taking the world so long to do away with video DVD and Blu-Ray disc. Digital movies is the way to go (several years ago).
This is a wonderful media player for the money, but the user interface is basic and lacks features. First, the good things. It plays just about any video format out there. It's compact size is nice if you don't want it taking up a lot of space and for portability. The interface is easy to use, though it is basic and lacks features. You can watch YouTube videos on it and stream music from a Pandora account(free). You can also watch media from Hulu and Netflix, but you have to purchase a license for a UPnP Server software program, like PlayOn or Tversity(both relatively cheap). One of the best features is that it will play HD media, up to 1080P! This requires a lot of network bandwidth, so a ethernet cable would be ideal, but I am able to stream 1080p media with a wireless N router and adapter. You need a decent signal for wireless N HD streaming though. At least 3 out of 5 bars. I have a wonderful DLink DIR-655 Wireless N router(I highly recommend it) and a Linksys WUSB600N-RM USB Wireless adapter Version 1(I recommend this too, because you can get a cheap refurbished version and it works with the WD TV Live). The WD TV Live will not work with just any wireless USB adapter. You need to look at the list of supported adapters on their web site. I bought the WUSB600N-RM V1, because I knew it would work with the WD TV Live. I got it cheap on Amazon, refurbished, for something like $25. It works well and comes with an extension cable, so you can move it around and try to get better reception. If you have choppy playback when you are wirelessly streaming HD media, try and change the encryption cipher on your router from TKIP to AES. This helped me a lot. Also, if you can, choose Wireless N only in your router, but it isn't necessary. Re-positioning your router and the antennas may help improve your signal. The WD TV Live has two USB ports, so you can copy media to a flash drive(s) and plug it in. Maybe the best way to use the Live is to get a large capacity, portable external hard drive and fill it up with your media. You can access the WD TV Live on your network and copy media to the attached storage device(s). You can also stream media from the WD TV Live to other network devices. Finally, the last good feature I can think of, worth mentioning, is the fact that it remembers where you stopped playing a media file and asks you if you would like to resume where you left off. This is very handy.
Now, the bad things. First of all, eSATA would be nice. I haven't tried hooking up an external hard drive and playing HD media though. A gigabit switch might be nice, but it seems un-necessary, since I can stream HD media fine. The biggest problem is the lack of features in the user interface. Maybe a search feature would be nice. The option for bigger fonts would be really nice too. It's really a simple and plain interface, though it is easy to use. I guess I'm just used to XBMC, which is almost a perfect media player program. Also, you can't play from inside .rar files, like you can in XBMC. Again, this is not a big deal. It would be nice if Hulu and Netflix were integrated directly into the software. Instead, you have to buy a third party program and install it on your computer to get Hulu and Netflix. Next, the remote is too small and therefore the buttons are small too. It would be nice to have a bigger remote with a keyboard. If you lose the remote, then you really cannot use the device. Buttons on the device would be nice too. Some people may like the idea of a compact remote though. Yet another problem is getting Leopard and Snow Leopard shares to work. I spent many hours/days trying to get Leopard shares to show up. The solution is to not add shares in System Preferences. You need to go to the folder you want to share in Finder, right-click on the folder and check "share". Lots of people have had this problem and used this fix to make it work. I had no problems getting it to work with Windows 7 shares. Next, it really sucks that WiFi is not built in, so you have to buy an adapter for WiFi.. Also, it doesn't come with a HDMI cable. Finally, have fun getting help from tech support. I waited days without any response to my submitted queries for help. In that time I figured out how to fix the problems myself, through experimentation and Google.
I would highly recommend this product. It's definitely worth the money. It gives you a lot for the relatively cheap price. It has a few flaws though, mainly the lack of features in the user interface, no built in WiFi, and the remote is small.
The "Boxee Box" is coming out soon, and other similar devices, and it maybe worth waiting for that. It's supposedly going to cost more at $200 though and who knows how well it will work. I expect it to have a better user interface, since it will run Boxee. Would be nice if the WD TV Live could be hacked to run XBMC or Boxee, but I've read that this will probably never happen.
Now, I leave the hard drive connected to my computer and stream content directly to my tv wirelessly. It's a great setup, when it works. The biggest problem is that quite often, the WD TV Live "forgets" the hard drive and I have to power cycle it and wait (sometimes as long as 1/2 hour) for it to notice the computer and consequently the hard drive containing my media files. I know it's not the wi-fi connection because I can still visit You Tube and other internet-based content while the WD TV Live is confused about where my hard drive can be found.
The second biggest problem is that the firmware updates are buggy. The most recent update really messed up the sound on virtually all content until my wife figured out that switching from HDMI source to non-digital source reduced the squealing, metallic, tinny sound to bearable levels. So, for now, the sound quality is less than great, but I can live with it until WD resolves this firmware issue.
The WD TV Live has some great features and setting up the wireless connection was quite easy. If WD resolves the two issues I have with it, I would certainly upgrade my review to 5 stars. Despite these issues, my wife and I use the WD TV Live far more frequently than we do "regular" TV. We have hours and hours of television shows and movies on DVD collections that we've been moving to a 2 TB WD Elements hard drive and it's almost full so we won't need to resort to watching cable or Pay channels for some time to come.
I'd also like to see WD add additional functionality so that you can stream online free programming such as Hulu.
WD has completed at least three firmware updates on th WD TV Live since my original review. As such, the sound issues have been resolved and now the WD TV Live almost always recognizes my shared media drives (I have several now) with little fuss and I rarely need to reboot the unit for it to recognize available resources. Western Digital continues to enhance content, however most of the services available are not what interest me. I want streaming movies and TV shows a'la Hulu and Netflix. Still waiting (hopefully) for that to happen.
WDTV live also has some streaming media capabilities using wired or wireless Internet access (Only certain approved USB wireless adapters). The functions included are YouTube, Flickr, Pandora and live365 which can come handy if you would like to casually browse these features; Implementations of these features are very basic at best.
Rather than praising the good things about WDTV Live which many reviewers have already done let me share the problems so that you are aware of what you are getting into.
As of Firmware version 1.01.17:
Some advertised features like "You Tube" does not work as when you attempt to login to your "You tube" account it crashes the WDTV live and reboots! - Yes as many users have reported this and I confirm that WDTV live Firmware version 1.01.17 still has this issue.
Another annoying issue is HDMI pass-thru... Can anyone confirm if this is true?
My TV has multiple HDMI inputs going to it, one optical audio to my audio receiver, so I don't have to switch audio inputs
I have my WDTV -> HDMI -> TV -> Optical out -> audio receiver
In this fashion, when I select Audio mode as "Stereo" in WDTV live, I get 2-Channel Sound in my TV and 2-Channel sound via my Audio receiver. When I select Audio mode as "Digital" in WDTV live, I expect that TV would continue to receive 2-channel sound via the HDMI cable and the digital signal (AC3, Dolby Digital or DTS) must pass-thru the HDMI interface via TV's Optical out to my Audio Receiver - This DOES NOT WORK.
What happens is that whenever I select Audio mode as "Digital" in WDTV live, TV does not receive any audio on the HDMI interface, I have to use the Optical out TSO link directly to my audio receiver to get Dolby Digital (AC3, 5.1 or DTS)
This is a big bummer for me and I hope every one will agree that 5.1, AC3 or DTS must be passed via HDMI cable to TV and let the Audio receiver do the decoding, why must I dedicate my optical input to WDTV live? - I have other devices like DVD player, PS3 that needs 5.1 AC3 and or DTS Audio too from my home theater audio receiver.
Another annoying bug...
Fast Forward (FF) and Rewind (REW) of MKV files are poorly implemented in this firmware, It takes a long time to FF or REW a MKV file and it never seems to stop at the correct point in time when I press the remote, Bear it in mind that this is with a directly attached USB drive and not via a Network Share or NFS server.
Sometimes, when you do too much of FF or REW the WDTV live player loose it's brains and the Audio/Video goes out of sync and in the worst case situation it drops the movie and goes back to selection screen at random.
Having said... Here are the PROs and CONs
[+] Small nifty little Media player unit
[+] Supports variety of Media file formats
[-] *DOES not* Support DVD Menus (Yet in the latest FW level)
[-] *DOES not* pass-thru dolby 5.1, or DTS via HDMI interface (only 2-channel AC3)
[-] Tiny remote which has even tinier strangely placed buttons
Even with the above mentioned annoyances I think it is still OK to own this unit, in the future WD may release FW updates to address these issues but do not take my word for it, see WD user forums and read the shortfalls of this device before making a decision to buy.
1. Plays everything I tried on it, especially MKVs which does not play on my PS3 or 360.
2. Supports subtitles within the MKV file. (No extraction of srt required!)
3. Support external subtitle files as well. Just make sure video and srt file have the same name.
4. Video output via Component cable is great. Supports up to 1080i.
5. Video output via HDMI is great.
6. Got it working in just a few minutes, literally plug and play.
7. User interface is simple and easy to use
8. Has a list + preview mode so it's easy to browse video library.
Not so Good:
1. Remote control response. Takes several clicks sometimes to get it to respond. I think it's how I press the remote, buttons are hard.
2. Some Settings goes back to factory default when you unplug the unit. For example Subtitles can be set to default On. If I unplug and turn it back on, it will go back to default Off. Some settings like Font size for Subtitles stays at what I set it even if I unplug. Bug??
I did not try any of the Networking features. This is something I plan to use in the future.
Edit - Sep 2 2010
Some more minor annoyances:
1. Does not remember last play point once you turn device off.
2. User Interface is not well designed. Example, in the Video section, all you can do is play Videos. You cannot do any File Management. You have to go to another section to do file management. For me a File is a File, you should be able to do whatever you want with it once it's right it front of you.
3. Used it with a WD 1 Tb external hdd, no problems using it in NTFS. Formatted hdd to FAT32, WD TV Live hangs when reading drive. I used the formatted drive in Windows and PS3 and worked flawlessly so the drive was fine. I did not see this issue using a 40GB hdd in FAT32. Both products are WD, interesting why there is incompatibility.
4. If you have subtitles, and you pause the video, a status bar appears in the section where the subtitle is displayed making it unreadable.
Edit Sep 13
Some more Good:
1. Tried viewing mov files from a G11 camera. works great.
2. Tried the auto play feature where it would simply go through all videos sequentially and play them one at a time. Good for watching short videos from a Camera.
Some more not so Good:
1. You have to really play around with it to figure out the right setting. One example. Any picture I viewed looked like it was stretched, and even if I change the setting to "Keep Original" it did not matter. Then I found that my overall display was set to Normal, when I changed it to Widescreen, the pictures displayed properly. This did not affect videos at all which is strange. The point is it's not intelligent enough to detect these kind of things and you are left to figure it out. Not really good for people who don't like to deal with too many settings.
I still keep my 4 stars rating, it would be 5 if all the complaints I have is resolved. Can't say I would recommend it to everyone but it's good enough for me.
I am streaming the following files with PERFECT results:
1080p - MP4 with DTS in MKV container (PERFECT!)
720p - MP4 with DTS in MKV container (PERFECT!)
1080p - MP4 with AC3 in MKV container (PERFECT!)
720p - MP4 with AC3 in MKV container (PERFECT!)
1080p - XVID with AC3 in AVI container (PERFECT!)
720p - XVID with AC3 in AVI container (PERFECT!)
480p - XVID with DTS in AVI container (PERFECT!)
480p - XVID with AC3 in AVI container (PERFECT!)
I had many issues streaming initially using Window Media Player then TVersity to an Xbox. HD videos kept stalling with either solution. Also the fact that the Xbox could not stream my HD MKV movies it was annoying! Using TVersity to decode and re-encode MKV to the Xbox requires a fast computer and not the cleanest way of watching MKV files. Also, response to remote control works nice a fast!! Much faster than Xbox. Boot up time is almost instant!!!!
For some reason setting the video color to 12bits in the HDMI setting causes issues where the movies will stall. Also manually setting the HDMI video to the resolution and refresh rate of your TV seems to help. For example mine is set to 1080p with 60hz.
WD Live is so good I bought 2 more (one for sister and another for my mother).
The only improvement I would like is the ability to set a Favorites/Bookmark Folder so that it's quicker to navigate to my movies located in my server. Right now I need to dig down several layers down to access my movies.
Finally, I went with this player because I have been happy with WD product.
This product is no different. I'm happy with with so far. There are a few things that I think a firware update can probably fix.
- It does what it advertised. It plays most popular format without a problem. While it states that it plays MKV format, I have yet to try it.
- It is quire speedy compare to the regular WD player.
- It seemlessly connect to YouTube. I have not try the other live media such as Flickr, Live365 or Pandora.
- The picture quality is excellent. You cannot ask for anything else for a $94 item that is as small as this.
- Connection over internet is easy.
- It was able to locate my wife's laptop over the network. I haven't tried connecting to it yet.
- While it plays M4V format video (DVD rip from Handbrake), the player cannot pause, fast forward the files using this format.
- The interface for YouTube is horrible. While the videos play well, the search and the video list are not up to par. Everytime after a video is finished, the screen goes back to the top of the list instead of where you last left off.
- The remove is too small. You can easily lose it. If you lose it you have no way to control the player.
- Wish there are some video streaming over the internet.
WD needs to focus on the cons and really make this an excellent product. I noticed that WD is out of stock on this item. Only a handful sellers have this product available. Is WD coming out with another player?
Networking: works great wired. Easy enough to configure or let DHCP auto-assign an address off your network. Would be nice if it had a Gigabit Ethernet port -- but even with a full 1080p stream, GigE isn't necessary (100Mbps is enough).
Setup/Configuration: There are a lot of options here for cataloging your connected USB drives, how you want the UI to behave, etc. As well, there's a feature to save a userid/password (if you have your network shares permissioned such) for quick connection. You'll want to do this, as "typing" on the on-screen keyboard with the small remote is something you only want to do once. A good number of people have complained about the WDTV Live's ability to connect to Windows 7 (or even Vista/XP) shares, but I and others who have similar setups, both with and without actual Active Directory domains, do not have problems. Thus, I'm chalking that up to user error and misunderstanding of share-level and file-level permissions. I just have a share that's wide open for the WDTV and it's a non-issue (everything else stays locked down).
Music/Audio features: Pandora works perfectly, as does pointing it at a slew of MP3s or M3U playlists. I haven't tried Live365 -- I hear it requires a subscription, and with >150GB of music already sitting on my network, Live365 has no appeal for me. The one thing that impressed me and actually triggered the second WDTV Live purchase, is that it will natively play 6-channel (DTS 5.1 Surround) WAV files, DVD-Audio ISOs and even VOB files containing 5.1-encoded audio (SACD or DVD-Audio). This is a very cool feature, as I don't need a second <something> sucking down power to spin a disc.
Video features: This tiny little box will play nearly everything you should care about, including WMV9s, AVIs with DivX and XviD inside, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 streams, MKVs with h.264 and others inside, and even M2TS files straight from a Blu-Ray disc or a HD camcorder! It does have iffy support for Quicktime (MOV) files, and there's a well-known no-go with Windows Media Audio Pro embedded in a WMV9 -- but that's not a dealbreaker for me at all, since MKV has already trumped all those formats and more. One caveat in full disclosure: there's no RMVB support at all, so if you need that, I'd still suggest buying this box and converting them to something better. It does have Youtube support, though it's a pain to do any useful searching via the remote -- and the latest (v14) firmware update killed off some of the Youtube stuff after Youtube changed their policy. Stick with the .11 firmware and you'll be fine.
Photo viewing: you can easily put digital pictures up on your TV either through your home network, from Flickr, or off a USB drive/stick. This is pretty handy after a family event or photo shoot so everyone can see. I'm by no means a Flickr fan at all, but I have to say the Flickr features on the WDTV Live are pretty useless -- you can't scale the images being viewed to a useful size.
User interface: out of the box with the older firmware, the UI is a bit slow. You won't know that (i.e. it's very tolerable) until you upgrade to the v.11 or later firmware, which makes it even faster. The menuing is clean and easy to navigate. If you stop a video and restart it later, it will ask if you want to restart from beginning, or resume from where you left off. Fast forwarding or rewinding video/audio is easy to do, but I wish it had a faster jump than 16x sometimes. That it doesn't is likely more a constraint of the network speed than anything else -- trying to do a 24x rewind, for example, on a wireless 802.11b or 10Mbps wired network would probably cause the space-time continuum to implode.
DLNA/Media Player support -- works fine with Windows Media Player 13 or 14 (or whatever's bundled in Windows 7). You can right click a media file on your Windows box and select "Play to ..." to send it to the WDTV Live without having even touch the WDTV remote. Just don't try doing it while something else is already playing on the WDTV Live (like an MP3), as it will try to play both at the same time and fail [well, fail in the sense that it doesn't seem to know that you probably shouldn't listen to MP3s and watch an unrelated MKV at the same time -- it will play both anyway, and you'll have to figure out how to shut one of them off).
The remote control: It's small (smaller than your palm). This is both a blessing and a curse: on one hand, it's not bulky and does everything you need. On the other hand, it's small, easily lost, and is not back-lit which makes it a bit difficult to use in the dark until you memorize where the buttons are. Unfortunately none of the buttons have a 'nub' on them to give you a reference point, and many a time I've hit Stop when I meant to hit Play/Pause.
The box itself: Very small, silent, and fairly power-reasonable (though it does constantly eat 2-4W when turned "off"). Power brick is fairly small, but clearly not a high-quality brand... I fully expect I'll be replacing one of them within a few years as they die off from actual normal use.
Despite a few grievances:
- needs a better remote with backlight
- UI should allow for faster rewind/FF
- FTP transport support would be nice for some...
- ...and so would NFS support for the *nix geeks
- add Netflix and this little box would RULE THE UNIVERSE
...I love both of my WDTV Live's, and you will, too.
There are a few things I'd like to see improved. I have a variety of windows media video files (.wmv extension) and some play, others give a "format not supported" message. It's such a common file type the unit really should play all of the varieties. I also find that when playing files streaming over my wireless network the Media Player loses the whole network connection if the streaming fails. I don't blame WD for my not getting reliable wifi streaming, it may be a limitation in my network stability. What they should be able to fix is the need to reboot my player when a given video file stream is interrupted. The player still can be seen on the network and I can use a computer to move files onto or off an attached hard drive, it just doesn't seem to recognize it's still networked until I cycle its power. If a video stream is interrupted the player should be able to pick up playing without needing a reboot to remind it the network is still there.
Overall I'd say I'm 90% satisfied and 10% disappointed with the performance. Maybe WD will correct the 10% part with firmware updates, although I'm not holding my breath waiting for that to happen.
Some reviewers note that the Live is plug-n-play, while others note they have problems getting the equipment up and running. I am a Win7 x64 Home Premium computer user. After reading reviews & forums, I was somewhat hesitate to purchase either of the two pieces of equipment. After getting everything going, I am quite pleased with the purchases. Reading reviews, watching U-tube reviews, & reading forums allowed me to have my system ready to go as soon as I connected the equipment. It found everything instantly. The problems I have experienced have nothing to do with Live, but the streaming software. My Windows share through the WMP worked the same as well. I completed all of the firmware upgrades, even the pre-release one. Tversity never misses a beat, but TwonkyMedia has to be restarted a lot. That is not Live's problem, at least Live doesn't create the problem.
My suggestion to anyone is to read the forum at WDC; read as many reviews as you can. Watch the video on U-tube. & lastly enjoy the equipment. The price is great. I love streaming from thi little gadget, rather than the Xbox, which belongs to my son. The Xbox doesn't play as many file types. One thing I discovered about file types is that it may not play the file the first time, but once I restart Twonky, the file plays. I do hate to restart Twonky as much as I have, but it's all good in the end. Sometimes it even tells me it won't play mp4s, & the next time it plays, once Twonky is restarted. My preference is Twonky over Tversity, because Twonky supports the movie covers from MyMovies. I don't have to guess what I'm going to watch.
Again, do your homework diligently, & just because one computer system has difficulties with these gadgets, doesn't mean that all systems will have difficulties. The Live is very compatible with my Win7 setup. To watch my first movie took as long as it takes to plug in the power, the ethernet, hdmi, & setup. After that, I installed the firmware & began watching as soon as I navigated to my streamers.
Enjoy your machine!
One of the feature I was looking for was the network capabilities, so the first thing I tries was the wireless network using a DLink USB WiFi card. It connected to the network without any problem and I was able to access my media server and the network shares without any issue, I just needed to update the firmware and to setup the network in the setup sections. Using the WiFi network I could see all my music, photos and standard definition videos stored in my NAS ( a Buffalo Technology LinkStation Pro 1 TB Network Attached Storage LS-XH1.0TL (Black) ). To watch high definition videos flawlessly I have to connect the WDTV Live to the network using an Ethernet cable. Again the setup was very straightforward an I can watch a 1080p videos from my NAS.
The main goal with the WDTV live was to play videos stored in my NAS so I am very happy with the purchase. The video formats supported are very extensive but it does not included rmvb, it is not a big problem, but it would be nice to include it. Another nice to have feature should be to have shortcuts to your network drives, because there are severals menu levels to access your media.
At the end the player cover what I was looking for and it is very good gadget.
The problem I have with this product is that it lacks flexibility in it's software interface.
Network - There is no ability to selectively connect to folders on your network.
Anything available on the network shows up on your screen.
Menu interface - There is no way to hide any of the menu items. If you understand how your network is mapped this isn't a problem. But if you are building an interface for you family, the unnecessary menu items can confuse them or worse yet they might delete something unntentionally.
File Metadata - The system doesn't any way to display information on the files that it accesses. Keep in mind that I am accustomed to using and HTPC but for a large collection, not having descriptions can be a pain.
All in all if you want a simple interface this product is inexpensive and effective. However if you want to take the home theater concept any further this will only frustrate you with what "might have been".
Inexpensive and supports most codec and container formats. MKV files with H.264 video and AC3 or DTS audio work flawlessly. SRT soft subtitles work great.
The visual interface is functional, but not overly appealing. My wife can get around and start a movie, and that's all that's really required, but it lacks the interface flexibility you get with some of the more expensive and full-featured media streamers. The designer of the UI seems to really, really like the color blue. To the exclusion of anything else.
Also, some of the units costing twice as much have a reason for that, and one reason is video upscaling. If you want to view SD content on a HD screen you may be better off with a unit that has better upscaling capabilities. The WD Live is decent, but not spectacular.
Lastly, I didn't understand until I was trying to get it working that the component outputs only work on 480p and above. I'm using this on an old 480i SD CRT and was forced into using the front A/V inputs on my TV as those were the only composite inputs I had left. Functional, but I hate seeing the cables.
In summary, this is a great and relatively inexpensive media streamer that I would recommend for most users. If you have a large LCD 1080p screen and eight speakers, this may not be the droid you're looking for.
Hardware updates have been slow and unreliable. The last one bricked a lot of units, and WD recalled the update. Fortunately I didn't install it. Right now we're stuck with a lot of bugs and no fix. A quick search of the web will produce quite a few hits about bugs, many of which I can confirm.
There really aren't a lot of choices for a media player that does as much as the WD TV Live does. Most of the time you can find workarounds, and you won't experience freezes all that often. So, it is usable? Yes. It does seriously need updates.