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WD intros WD TV Live HD Media Player

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 13 Oct 2009 14:04 User comments (24)

WD intros WD TV Live HD Media Player Western Digital has officially launched its WD TV Live HD Media Player today, offering full HD playback from external drives via your HDTV.
Full specs are very interesting:

Full-HD video playback and navigation - up to 1080p -
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).

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.

File Copy

Copy files between USB drives

HDMI 1.3, composite video and component video output -
The HDMI port lets you connect to the highest quality HDTV 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 surroundsound experience.


Access media files on your home network -
WD TV Live supports a direct Ethernet connection or a USB attached wireless connection to your home network. Click here to view compatible wireless-ready USB adaptors.

Ultra-compact design -
Fits easily into your entertainment center.

The player retails for $120 USD.

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24 user comments

113.10.2009 14:38

sweet looking device :)

213.10.2009 14:48

hold on..so this device hasnt got any HDD of its own? and how amny USBs can be hooked to it at once?..

313.10.2009 14:51

Thinking about getting this player. Might as well post my questions here. Main concern is whether or not I should wait for a "USB 3.0" version. Is USB 2.0 good for playing uncompressed Blu-ray/MKV movies with no hiccups? I want to backup my BD movies and watch them with this thing with no difference in quality.

Also, does this player support 5.1 audio via HDMI. (Dolby, DTS, hd.cfm" class="forum_link" target="_blank">DTS-HD, Dolby ProLogic, etc.) ?

And for an external hard-drive to go with the player, are there any sleak/fast ones, preferebly around 1TB, that aren't too expensive that will work well?

Does this player upconvert to 1080p? If it doesn't, are there any good/better HD media players that will?

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 13 Oct 2009 @ 14:53

413.10.2009 15:05

this media player is great, i will definetaly pick this up. i own the previous version of this and it works flawlessly, aside from lacking support for DTS and WMA. this version does support DTS and WMA along with others. you can hook up to 2 external hard drives and it supports pretty much any hard drive that is in ntfs format. ive noticed that it will not support drives in raid, cause i tried hooking up a external HDD that had 2 500 gb drives and it did not work.

@mike.m
this will play mkv and mt2s files with no problems whatsoever. i have backed up BD movies and they look amazing. you can also pair it with a 1tb wd HD so best results. idk if it'll upconvert SD movies to 1080 but even SD video looks great when this thing is playing it. i recommend it to anyone

513.10.2009 15:47

Thanks jdmek9. I know that the mini will upconvert to 1080i, I would suppose this would upconvert to 1080p. It doesn't support RMVB, but I never use that format anyways.

613.10.2009 19:18

What does this player do compared to the "Western Digital WD TV HD Media Player"? I would like to know because I want one but I don't know what the differences are between the two.

713.10.2009 20:46

Originally posted by xnmalletx:
What does this player do compared to the "Western Digital WD TV HD Media Player"? I would like to know because I want one but I don't know what the differences are between the two.
3 differences that I notice off hand which I would go for this version for is it has DTS support, ethernet port for streaming and evidently WMA support which I really didn't notice the other one lacked as I never listen to WMA. And for a 20 buck price difference there's no reason not to get this one
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 13 Oct 2009 @ 22:04

813.10.2009 21:16

Oh I see, thank you for your input. I will go ahead and get this one, its only twenty bucks more.

914.10.2009 0:31

ah im gonna have to get this one just for the dts support, to bad the previous version of this didnt support that.

1014.10.2009 5:34

FYI - DTS is supported in the previous version - the problem with the DTS on the previous version is it was just a passthrough to optical out, so no decoding and output through hdmi. Most people who wanted to just get sound through the hdmi cable (like me) had to convert the dts track to ac3 before playing them on the system. The other option was spending 100+ on a sound system that took in the optical feed.

I may upgrade, the price seems good, and my current wdtv unit has been pretty solid (bar the occasional glitch, like occasionally not waking up if off for a week, but power cycle works so no biggie)... just a bit annoyed at WD, my current wdtv unit has enough hardware to decode the dts track, they just don't do it because of "licensing issues". Ah well.

1114.10.2009 9:48
atomicxl
Inactive

It supports MKV, but does it support all the stuff that makes MKV worthwhile like multiple audio tracks in basically format, subtitles, custom font (or can at least play MKVs with fonts in them even if it just ignores the font)?

Most of the MKVs that I have can be turned into MP4s and played by my 360, but the issue is always that most of the content I watch has subtitles, which is an aspect of the MP4 spec that the 360/PS3 don't support.

1214.10.2009 10:04

Originally posted by atomicxl:
It supports MKV, but does it support all the stuff that makes MKV worthwhile like multiple audio tracks in basically format, subtitles, custom font (or can at least play MKVs with fonts in them even if it just ignores the font)?

Most of the MKVs that I have can be turned into MP4s and played by my 360, but the issue is always that most of the content I watch has subtitles, which is an aspect of the MP4 spec that the 360/PS3 don't support.
It supports multiple audio tracks and subtitles, not sure about custom font though.

Also supports ISO loading (but no dvd menus, just loads as one large video file, fine for films, bit more annoying for series).

One thing it's nice at doing is if you load a video or iso file that you've watched before, it will offer to resume from last point... so watching dvd series is not the big nightmare it first appears.

My only gripe with the first one is DTS sound not being decoded and sent over hdmi, other than that, it has never not loaded a file, and been near perfect...

1314.10.2009 11:29
atomicxl
Inactive

^

This seems like a good deal. Usually devices like this do less than what a PC can do in terms of media playback, but they sell for the same price or significantly more. This one does more than those (MKV is a killer imo) AND it sells for chump change.

The main reason I bought the laptop that I own was because it had HDMI out at a time when that was fairly rare. Had this thing been out back then I could've and would've purchased a higher spec'd machine that was selling for around the same price.

The only downside is that I don't see anything about a remote control.

1414.10.2009 11:38

Originally posted by atomicxl:
The only downside is that I don't see anything about a remote control.
There is a small chunky remote that comes with it - no number pad on it so it's very compact... some people think it's cheap looking, but I personally like it. It's the only way to control them as there are no buttons on the box itself.

It's in this pic on their website.
http://www.wdc.com/global/images/product...dfWDTV_Live.jpg

1514.10.2009 12:19

I've read a comment that it plays isos what about DVD folder structure? TS__Video files? Can someone confirm if it can play these?

1614.10.2009 14:12

^yes it plays VIDEO_TS, well the previous gen did so i can only imagine this one will.

Quote:
Originally posted by atomicxl:
The only downside is that I don't see anything about a remote control.
There is a small chunky remote that comes with it - no number pad on it so it's very compact... some people think it's cheap looking, but I personally like it. It's the only way to control them as there are no buttons on the box itself.

It's in this pic on their website.
http://www.wdc.com/global/images/product...ive.jpg

Theres no need for numbers on the remote though.

I have the WD HD Media Player, and I think I have only ever had one file it would not play. So I will not be upgrading as I dont need the streaming ability. I prefer to put my media on a flash drive and play them back. The rear USB port is also blocked in my case because of the size/shape of a corsair voyager flash drive, but the top one works fine. These units also support FAT32 just FYI.

1714.10.2009 18:12

I just bought one this afternoon. I was holding off purchasing one of the WDTV HD as I knew this one was around the corner. I'm loving it so far. Downloading an .mkv as we speak now to see how it looks.

1814.10.2009 20:05

Originally posted by solamf30:
I just bought one this afternoon. I was holding off purchasing one of the WDTV HD as I knew this one was around the corner. I'm loving it so far. Downloading an .mkv as we speak now to see how it looks.
Please give a short review on this, ie. playback quality compared to Blu-ray, surround sound quality, load times, HDD used, upconversion?, etc. Thanks.
I'm just on the verge of buying one, but I wanna hear more reviews before I do. Plus I'm trying to find cheap/fast 1TB+ HDD's to go with it.

1915.10.2009 9:43
kwcomp
Inactive

I have .mp4 files with AAC/AAC+ 6 channel audio that will not play on older model. Does anyone know if it will play now with only HDMI connection? Specs seem to indicate that optical audio output is required for this.

2015.10.2009 13:51

I don't understand why they are releasing this. There are a TON of homebrew out there for the regular WDTV, even with streaming.

http://wdtvforum.com/main/index.php

All WD has to do is update their firmware a little more. My current WDTV has trouble loading my Seagate 1.5 TB hard drive, just doesn't work, keeps on scanning.

Can't beat this player for the price though.

2117.10.2009 0:13

The same reason alot of company's release new products. Even though there are homebrew and work-arounds for most hardware, not all consumers want the hassle of tweaking a product to make it work.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 17 Oct 2009 @ 0:17

2224.10.2009 6:30

I just picked up one of these last night and hooked it up using HDMI. Works great. It does play standard DVD ISO files which was a surprise. Sweet little device.

2316.11.2009 13:13

I have been using the WD TV HD Live for a few weeks flawlessly.....until I tried to start backing up BR to it this weekend. I have tried both the .iso and the .m2ts file extensions and in both cases I start the movie and it is extremely jerky (ie completely unwatchable). The file size is ~35GB and I am questioning whether it is just too much data going over the network. I did some searching, but could not find anything on 10/100 limitations. I have a 1TB My book world, but the manual suggests that the USB 2.0 port is expansion only (I would try it but do not have a USB to USB cord).

Any thoughts? I can encode in some other format, but want it to be lossless (why bother with BR if I have to compress?)

Thanks for any help.

2414.1.2010 13:51

Few newbie questions:
1. I have a 1.5TB WD elements. Would this work with WD Live? Is there a size limit?
2. If I connect the external HD on one of the USB ports and a Wireless dongle on the second, would I be able to copy a file off my networked PC onto the external HD?
3. Are you able to FF or rewind? Skip chapters etc?

Cheers

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