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414 of 432 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... master of most
As in Jack of All Trades :)

I want to begin by saying the 'I like' (but I don't yet fully 'love') WD's TV Live Hub and this earns it 4 (but not 5) stars. And I like it in spite of it lacking a few almost 'must have' features for a device in its class such as some storage redundancy (RAID-1 = disk mirroring) or at least a built-in backup utility or any...
Published on March 8, 2011 by A. Dent

versus
103 of 108 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good but be mindful of which router you use.
I bought this and am very happy with the "playing movies" off the internal harddrive part of it. The interface is good and pretty easy to get around. The whole box is amazingly small and quiet.
The only issue I've had the last couple days is getting it to see the internet and my computer through the router...and I'm running a cable to the router-I'm not...
Published on February 7, 2011 by Michael


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414 of 432 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... master of most, March 8, 2011
This review is from: WD TV Live Hub 1TB Media Center (Old Model) (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As in Jack of All Trades :)

I want to begin by saying the 'I like' (but I don't yet fully 'love') WD's TV Live Hub and this earns it 4 (but not 5) stars. And I like it in spite of it lacking a few almost 'must have' features for a device in its class such as some storage redundancy (RAID-1 = disk mirroring) or at least a built-in backup utility or any significant security or, to a lesser extent (I'll explain) built-in Wi-Fi. And I like it even though bugs still exist such as the Hub's occasional failure to maintain/update its 'media library'. And I do like it even though the Hub's supported Web 'services' are few at this time - because some of the 'major' ones are there.

___________________________

Note: (9/9/2011 update):

I am upgrading this to 5-stars because since the original writing of my review most of the bugs have been addressed and many important Web services and other features such as 'games' were added.

Because of its versatility, built-in storage, low power consumption and its ability to integrate with everything else the Hub is now the centerpiece (the true hub)of my entertainment center.
___________________________

WHY I LIKE IT

Some of the shortcomings duly noted above, I like the Hub because:

The Hub turns out to be a well connected, relatively easy to use and operate, low-power, physically small, versatile video/music/still photos player with the built in ability to store the equivalent of almost 200 DVD-quality movies on its built-in 1TB drive, expandable to many times more than that via an attached USB drive and capable to sync and play content from any accessible media server such as PCs, Xboxes or PS3s, Microsoft Home Servers or NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices.

The Hub can also go out on the Net and report the local weather, play YouTube videos, Netflix, Hulu Plus and Blockbuster movies, Podcasts and Pandora music (I compiled a list of supported Web services below).

I was able to add the TV Live Hub to my Harmony universal remote control setup and I was able to address the lack of built-in backup (running a scheduled Robocopy task off a Home Server) because the Hub's drive can be mapped and managed as any other computer drive through a PC.

The Hub plays content off existing media servers and it acts as a media server for other devices (PCs, PS3s, etc.) on the same network. It can be set to sync with whatever content it can discover on your home network and it supports iTunes (did not test iTunes support myself). And for the hard-core YouTube users, a USB-attached keyboard should allow for easy searching. Also, the Hub makes it easy to post content directly to Facebook and Flickr.

And, finally, the Hub is likely to do more and do it better tomorrow because WD is constantly updating the firmware and hopefully it will address some of the more annoying bugs soon and because there appears to be an active, lively, innovative, helpful and supportive user community. [Note: 2 firmware updates later, several new Web services were added and some bugs were fixed.]

________________________________________________________________

Here are the hub's features in a more organized format.

MEDIA PLAYER

- Plays videos with full support for HD and multi-channel sound.
- Plays music with support for playlists.
- Plays movies/videos with filters for genre, rating and so on.
- Displays photos, has slideshow capabilities.
- Games section (added on 5/17/2011) has 'mind games' such as Sudoku, puzzles, memory games.

MEDIA HUB

- Acts as a media server for other devices (PCs, PS3s, Xboxes). My PS3 'saw' the Hub and was able to play content off it as soon as it went online.
- Plays content from other media servers on the local network. It saw 'everything' we were sharing as soon as we turned it on.
- Plays content off NAS (Network Attached Storage).
- Syncs with media found on PCs and has support for iTunes.

ONLINE SERVICES

- Services availability is controlled by WD. As far as I know, you can't add or remove a service but that may change in the future.
- Current selection is limited but 'big names' are supported: Netflix, Blockbuster, YouTube, Pandora, Flickr, Facebook, etc.
- Grabs metadata (title, description, cover graphics) for music and movies.
- Firmware is upgraded by WD remotely.

CUSTOMIZATION

- Users can download or create their own themes and backgrounds.
- Integrates with Harmony remotes.
- Several styles of menus.
- Additional storage can be attached directly through USB port(s).
- Supports USB keyboards.
- Supports certain Wi-Fi USB-connected devices (not tested by me).

SPECS

- I/O ports: Optical, HDMI, Composite, RCA, 2 USB, gigabit Ethernet
- Video (Full HD 1920x1080): AVI (Xvid, AVC, MPEG1/2/4), M2TS, MKV (h.264, x.264, AVC, MPEG1/2/4, VC-1), MP4/MOV (MPEG4, h.264), MPG/MPEG, TS/TP/M2T (MPEG1/2/4, AVC, VC-1), VOB, WMV9
- Audio: (multichannel up to 7.1) AAC, AIF/AIFF, Dolby Digital, DTS, FLAC, MKA, MP3, OGG, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA,
- Photo: BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, TIF/TIFF

________________________________________________________________

MY EXPERIENCE: SETUP

It was as easy as plugging in the unit, connecting to a network hub with an Ethernet cable (not supplied) and to a receiver through an HDMI (not supplied either) cable.

HDMI 1.4 is supported but composite (RCA), and component outputs are also available as well as an S/PDIF digital (optical) output. For best results, 'wired' network connectivity should be preferred. It's the only one supported out of the box and, if you expect to play or stream HD content, it's the only one that can support the load reliably.

Once the box is turned on it quickly updates itself and it's ready to use. Literally 5-10 minutes after powerup we were watching YouTube videos. Of course, additional setup is needed to fully customize it but the Hub can make itself useful quickly and there's no need to rush. Some of the Web services such as Pandora or Netflix require that you have an account but the Hub makes it easy to set yourself up if you don't have one. On the local network, as I mentioned already, the Hub became immediately visible and it was able to see and use the other active media servers running. From a PC it's easy to connect the Hub's drive and upload content. It's also the only way you can back it up.

MY EXPERIENCE: OPERATION

I've been using the hub to store and play DVD and Netflix movies and occasionally music. I've already uploaded several thousand photos, home videos, backed up lots of DVD movies and TV shows and some 700 songs and there's plenty of room for more. Video play off the local disk or from a Microsoft Home server we keep on our network was flawless. I prefer the Hub to PS3 playback because, the Hub lacking big fans, there is no audible 'hum' during playback. Music playing is okay, both off the disk or off Pandora and so are the photo slideshows. Some of the 'radio' and other content services don't look/sound so good but, since I've experience flawless HD playback on Netflix and music on Pandora, I'm blaming 'them' for the low quality.

As far as the other Web services, I don't have major complaints but it's annoying that YouTube recognizes the Hub as something that's attached to a TV and will NOT let you to see anything that's 'big media' produced. Netflix is okay and the latest firmware upgrade brought in the same great interface (Netflix 3.0?) I have on the PS3.

The Hub can make media watching and organizing as easy or as complicated as you are prepared to allow it. It has the ability to consolidate everything it sees on its local storage and on the network around it into a big pile of 'stuff' and the 'media library' will then show you all sci-fi movies you have (an example) regardless of where they are. Or, if you want things arranged in a certain way, you can create your own folders, name them any way you want and navigate to your favorite movies/shows yourself.

From a PC you can easily stream music off the Hub but, because all the movies I keep on it are at the highest resolution, DVD movies streaming can be a little jittery over Wi-Fi and HD doesn't work at all. The Hub works best when playing off its own disk or accessing/serving content over 'fast' wired connections. My home is not wired for Ethernet but I'm using a Western Digital WD Livewire Powerline AV Network Kit to pipe Ethernet over the power lines. It works.

I should also mention that the online manual is VERY well written, very well organized and very helpful. It comes with links to other online resources, including the very active Hub community board where you can find a lot of good advice concerning enhancements and bugs.

BUGS

On 'day one' after uploading some 5000 photos, a message informed me that the Hub was compiling its media library. It was still compiling on 'day two' and it didn't stop until I told the Hub to drop the library and then rebuild it. Rebuilding the library can take 10-15 minutes but it's annoying and I hope that the next firmware update will take care of it. Meanwhile, I learned to be careful as in "don't try to do something else while the media library is being rebuilt" and I only had once similar incident in the past month. I'm not sure whether this was because of the firmware updates or because I'm more 'gentle' when interacting with the Hub.

Another bug seems to be the 'queue'. You have the ability to drop movies or songs into a queue to play them later but it does not always work that way, the Hub reporting that the content couldn't be found. I'm not using the queue feature any longer because it sometimes seems to trigger the never-ending media library recompilation (see above).

I can't think of any other significant bugs other than the Hub rebooting itself a couple of times.

On the WD discussion board I learned that quite a few users had issues with the power button. Apparently it can cause the Hub to constantly reboot, making it unusable. I haven't experienced this problem but I never physically 'touch' the Hub except to dust it off. All operations can be done remotely and, since I've read about that problem, I am somewhat reluctant to physically interact with the Hub.

EVALUATION

I already announced in the first paragraph that this is a '4 stars' to me because 'I like it' and it's not a '5 stars' because I don't love it yet: bugs, not a lot of Web services. My PS3 does almost everything that the Hub does and some of it it does better AND it plays movies and music off discs and it plays games but I can't afford to keep my PS3 always on because it burns a lot of electricity and its fans aren't silent and you can't have 1TB worth of storage on it. The PS3 can also cost $100-200 more. In other words, the Hub has its place and even with a sophisticated machine such as a PS3 or a Microsoft Home server around it's going to see its share of use and playtime. I see how the consecutive firmware upgrades are making the Hub an increasingly versatile device and I won't be surprised if the bugs are addressed and more functionality becomes available.

_________________________________

NOTE:

The latest firmware upgrades added a number of great Web services and the new additions have enough depth to satisfy me. This is what was available at the time I wrote this:

- AccuWeather
- Blockbuster
- CinemaNow
- DEEZER
- facebook
- flickr
- flingo
- Hulu Plus
- LIVE 365
- Mefdiafly
- NETFLIX
- PANDORA
- Picasa
- tunein
- SHOUTcast
- YouTube

NOTE - March 25, 2011

I tried a 'stress test' the other day. Playing an HD video on the HDMI-connected TV while, at the same time, playing a DVD-quality movie on a laptop which had a drive mapped directly into the Hub - Hub has an Ethernet wired connection to the router, the laptop on 802.11n Wi-Fi. Output was flawless on both.

--
>> Brush your teeth, it's the law! <<
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103 of 108 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good but be mindful of which router you use., February 7, 2011
By 
This review is from: WD TV Live Hub 1TB Media Center (Old Model) (Electronics)
I bought this and am very happy with the "playing movies" off the internal harddrive part of it. The interface is good and pretty easy to get around. The whole box is amazingly small and quiet.
The only issue I've had the last couple days is getting it to see the internet and my computer through the router...and I'm running a cable to the router-I'm not wireless.
I could plug the WD straight into my modem and get netflix fine but when it went through my brand new netgear wpn824N-100NAS router, I couldnt get on or network with my computer. I've tried everything, read every troubleshooting forum on the web...but no joy. The router works for my computer...I get the internet on it just fine, but not on the Live Hub.
Called WD today. after an hour of resetting router,resetting Live Hub, going through networking on my computer--all of which I'd tried already, he finally asked me what router I used. Then said it wasnt compatible with the Live Hub. I'm sort of questioning if it's just an excuse, but going to try a different router tomorrow. Most on the list he sent were actually difficult to find at a bestbuy.
I caution everyone to make sure they have a approved router before attempting this. very frustrating to spend days trying to figure it out.

***UPDATE***after being told by WD that my router wasn't compatible and being told by NetGear that the HUB was at fault...I went and bought a E2000 lynksis router instead. Set it up, plugged Live Hub into router, clicked on Network Setup...Boom! computer see's the hub, Hub see's the internet and Netflix streams flawlessly! After two weeks of heavy frustration, I really enjoy the Live HUB.

UPDATE **** 8/31/2013. I got nervous as internet speeds from Verizon were getting worse and worse. They sent me a Verizon modem/router combo in which got me nervous thinking I might have connection issues again with the Live Hub. Thankfully it worked great. Of course didnt fix internet speeds and discovered how badly Verizon had been ripping me off with speeds...so I switched to Time Warner who also set me up with their leased modem/router. This also worked fine with the Hub of which I now own two, one for bedroom and other for main room- both ethernet connected.
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106 of 117 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great product just read the online manual!, December 31, 2010
This review is from: WD TV Live Hub 1TB Media Center (Old Model) (Electronics)
This is a fantastic product.
Only two simple things need to be done after you have plugged everything in.
Read the manual provided online. It is very informative and explains everything in detail.
Download WD Discovery. Link for it is provided in the online manual.
You can then map the hub as a hard drive and it'll function just like any other hard drive you might have used.
Just drag any content you want into it and you are done.
My dad who isn't technologically savvy has started using it as well which tells you a lot.
It really is that simple to use.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Versatile Media Center that can play ANYTHING. However some people...., June 24, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: WD TV Live Hub 1TB Media Center (Old Model) (Electronics)
I've been converting .mkv-->.avi's for years and streaming them to my PS3. This process was old, tiring, and unreliable. 30% of the time i'd run into trouble. The picture quality was reduced, sound a bit muffled. PS3s, Xboses, and Tversity all have their limitations in regards to streaming. I got fed up and decided to build a computer for this purpose. After realizing it will cost a minimum of $650 - I decided to get the WDTV.

Yes, The WDLIVE does not have a Web Browser, it does not support Amazon, and does not have direct access to Itunes "Databases" . But guess what? Its not WD's fault for Apple and Amazon's business strategies.

The WDTV never said it did support Amazon so what are you expecting? Can you car keys open your house door? Seriously people.. This is a sub $200 device. I don't get how people are removing star's because they clearly didn't read the product description or even understand what they are getting into?

This is an amazing product for less than $200 that will play any file-type I throw at it without any performance issues. It has a great interface, very easy to set up, and has a ton of great features.

Those of you complaining about transfer speeds over network. I average about 15mb/s with a USB drive directly attached. Transferring over the network is about 11/mbs. Guess what people- This is the amount of bandwith you need to stream a HD video! Also - This is about the same speed as your typical Ipod! Ever sync 200gigs of music to a Ipod from a very powerful computer? How do you honestly expect WD to keep this product under $200, yet have the horsepower to support very fast-PC like transfer speeds? If that's a need, spend $600 and build yourself a media pc.

This device does the job, perfectly, and I'm really glad its a staple in my household. If you brought the wrong product for your needs, that's not my problem.
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50 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very cool, January 7, 2011
This review is from: WD TV Live Hub 1TB Media Center (Old Model) (Electronics)
This thing does what it suppose to do in addition having 1TB HD it's a big plus. I can honestly say this is the best $200 that I've spent in a long time. It plays every possible movie format that I have and that's the main reason I bought it. Couple of things that I'm not really thrilled about (that's why I'm giving 4 stars)...first no built-in WI-FI, you have to get one of those USB Wi-Fi adapters..... and the second online content is very limited but I hope this will change with future firmware update
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72 of 88 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok, but..., January 5, 2011
This review is from: WD TV Live Hub 1TB Media Center (Old Model) (Electronics)
Set up was easy (I used a wired connection because it was convenient for me and the WIFI is not integrated). It connects as a NAS, but the copy speed was painstakingly slow. In the end it is much faster to use the USB connection to copy in your media files.

The main menus are easy enough to use, the setup was not complex, but it took several tries to get the media library compiled. I had to clear it and re-compile it several times before it found everything. Sorting and categorizing is ok, but weak, allows no cover art (don't think iTunes-like here...), no descriptions.

The remote is adequate but is missing a few things users take for granted, notably no slow-motion (forward or back), and video control is very imprecise. The remote control buttons are confusingly placed and make it awkward in a dimly lit room. Using the on-screen keyboard with the remote is not at all a positive experience.

It has an automatic firmware update feature, but the WD Support site is full of horror stories of firmware updates that totally or partially disable the unit. Note that their site is also full of complaints about their generally unresponsive support. Not a good thing.

I do like it for streaming and watching NetFlix but that's available on my TV and DVD player as well (again, the remote is awkward here, sometimes unresponsive too). The YouTube interface is not so easy to use (the remote...), but Pandora is just fine.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It does what it claims with minor exceptions (little annoyances), January 7, 2011
By 
TooManyThings (Miami, FL United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: WD TV Live Hub 1TB Media Center (Old Model) (Electronics)
First of all let me start by stating that this thing works as stated by the manufacturer. It performance well and it supports all the file formats I threw at it. The only reason I gave it 4 stars and not 5 is because for my particular taste it lacks a couple of little things.

I bought this device for 3 purposes: 1)to use it as a Netflix player, 2)to stream movies from it, 3)to use it as a media NAS.
After testing it and really analyzing my LAN setup and house shape I'm returning it and getting the WD Live Plus player (no hard drive, $89) and purchasing a NAS with DLNA (Lacie Network Space 2 1TB, $109). The Plus also plays Netflix.

Interface (A+):
Excellent, intuitive, beautiful, smooth, bright, solid, easy.
File format (A+):
Tested with AVI(xvid, divx, mpeg 1/2/3), MKV (avc1), M4V (avc1), MPEG and MOV.
NAS connectivity (C):
Connecting to it from windows is simple (start/run/\\IP_ADDRESS\WDTVLIVE).
Connecting it to a NAS only works if your NAS is running/supports DLNA (mine doesn't).
You can't type in a network share manually.
Netflix (A+):
Flawless with the exception of the 'Back' button which it doesn't really works.
Network Write Speed (B):
All connections at 1000Mbps (source and destination) a 2.6GB file took 6 minutes. 16Gb took 22 minutes.
Network Read Speed:
Didn't test because I couldn't connect to my NAS.
Video Performance (B):
All the movies below were played from the hub's local hard drive.

Legend(P=Pixelation, A=Audio out of sync, X=OK)

Movie 1: AVI (video: XVID, audio: mpga, Res: 640, size: 750 MB) Performance(P,A)
Movie 2: AVI (video: XVID, audio: mpga, Res: 720 size: 1.5 GB) Performance(P,X)
Movie 3: MK4 (video: avc1, audio: a52, Res: 720 size: 1.8 GB) Performance (X,X)
Movie 4: AVI (video: XVID, audio: a52, Res: 720 size: 1.5 GB) Performance (Px,X)
Movie 5: MK4 (video: avc1, audio: a52, Res: 1280 size: 2.6 GB) Performance(X,X)
Movie 6: AVI (video: XVID, audio: a52, Res: 1280 size: 1.6 GB) Performance(X,X)
Movie 7: AVI (video: XVID, audio: mpga, Res: 624 size: 716 MB) Performance(P,X)
Movie 8: M4V (video: avc1, audio: mp4a, Res: 720 size: 1.4 GB) Performance(X,X)

The AVIs seem to have a little trouble with pixelation (artifacts) issues but when I played them on my unlocked Apple TV G1, they played just fine so I don't really know what conclude from these results.

Buy it, it works!!
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40 of 49 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great if you have lots of local content, look elsewhere for a streaming device, February 22, 2011
By 
This review is from: WD TV Live Hub 1TB Media Center (Old Model) (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm not entirely sure why Western Digital calls this a "TV Live Hub" because it has little to do with television or live content. It is, however, a media server for audio, video, and image files that also streams content from a limited number of content providers.

STORAGE
The Live Hub comes with a whopping 1TB internal hard drive, which should be more than sufficient for most media libraries. If that's not enough, there are 2 USB ports that can be used with external hard drives to make your media library as large as you'd like. One port is located in the back, where you can plug in another drive (or, I suppose, more than one using a powered USB hub) while keeping it out of sight. A second USB port is located on the front of the device and is great for transferring content from thumbdrives, cameras, etc.

HOME NETWORK
Content on the Live Hub can be shared across the local network when the Network Share Server is enabled (with or without password protection), allowing other computers to stream content from the hub or upload content directly to the hub over the network. The hub can also act as both an iTunes and a DLNA Media Server for streaming music. The lack of built-in Wi-Fi is inconvenient, however.

CONTENT SUPPORT
The Live Hub supports an impressive number of popular audio and video formats, as well as the most popular image types. I occasionally come across a video file that it cannot play, but it's usually due to quirky files and I can usually remedy that quickly by converting the file to a supported video format. There are free tools that can do this for you as well as free web-based conversion tools. Check the WD website for the latest supported file types and codecs, since firmware updates may expand support for other codecs.

Another nice feature is that you can copy your DVDs to disk and the Live Hub will play them just like DVDs, complete with menus, chapters, etc.

STREAMING SUPPORT (updated)
Streaming is where I think the TV Live Hub is lacking most--but Western Digital has increased support for additional services since I first wrote this review. At first, the Live Hub only supported Blockbuster, Live365, Mediafly, Netflix, Pandora and YouTube. It has grown to support HuluPlus, CinemaNow, SHOUTcast Radio, and TuneIn. Both Blockbuster and CinemaNow seem to use the same quirky interface, and there is no support for Amazon Video on Demand, Vudu, Last.fm, etc. (The device also supports AccuWeather, Facebook, Flickr, and Picasa for other types of content).

The lack of support for Amazon VOD is surprising given the popularity of the service combined with the fact that it is backed by a company that is in no way at risk of going under or dumping the service anytime soon. The same can't be said about Blockbuster (didn't Blockbuster already declare bankruptcy?). To make things even more frustrating for Live Hub owners, Amazon just announced that unlimited streaming is now available to Amazon Prime customers. When I contacted Western Digital about Amazon VOD, I was told: "We do apologize about the issue, the reason why we cannot support Amazon Video on Demand because it has Digital Rights Management. It means that the video is owned by Amazon and it cannot be shared." Nevermind that Blockbuster, Netflix, CinemaNow, HuluPlus and others also use DRM.

The AccuWeather "tool" isn't interactive in any way, but it provides a current weather conditions, a 6-day forecast, and satellite image. It also displays the current temperature next to the time in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

The Pandora app is awesome for streaming music. YouTube is frustrating because a surprising number of videos are blocked for TV devices and I've never been able to log into my account due to what I suspect is a bug in the hub that doesn't like characters in the password I use to login through the web. Live365 asks you to create an account and then limits you to free stations after the trial period is up. I've had limited use for Flickr and Facebook, but your mileage may vary. Mediafly has been a pleasant surprise. It's a nifty service that lets you consolidate a lot of your favorite online content, such as vcasts, through one service and then watch them on your hub.

FRUSTRATIONS
As I mentioned above, my single greatest frustration is that, for reasons beyond comprehension, Western Digital does not support Amazon VOD on this device. That's not to say that support for Amazon won't come with future firmware updates, but in the meantime it means I'll have to either watch Amazon videos on my computer or buy a competing device that supports Amazon VOD to sit on top of my Live Hub--and that's frustrating given the high price of this product.

For the most part, the Live Hub works fine--but it is a bit buggy at times. I'm hesitant to list specific bugs because they may have been fixed in firmware updates by the time you read this. If you want a list of bugs, check out the WD support forums for this device.

Overall, I like the TV Live Hub. It's easy to setup, supports most of the files I want to play, and has a huge hard drive on which to store that content. The remote is easy to use, the menus are easy to navigate, and it does most of what I want a media center to do. The lack of support for Amazon VOD and some other popular streaming services combined with the high pricetag, though, means I'm only giving it 3 stars.

UPDATE:
I've since reduced my rating by another star due to bugs and what appears to be a history of slow and inconsistent firmware updates by Western Digital for its devices compared to bug fixes and upgrades offered by manufacturers of competing devices. Two firmware updates have come out since I first wrote this review. Support for CinemaNow, Deezer, Flingo, and TuneIn have been added (still no Amazon). Unfortunately, new bugs have been introduced as well and Western Digital's tech support has been disappointing for myself and others (the response seems to be: if you're having problems with our bugs, rollback to a previous firmware version). I don't recommend people buy this product at the current price.

UPDATE 2 (May 24, 2011):
I've upgraded my rating to 3 stars. Western Digital has released 1-2 firmware updates since my last review, fixing some bugs and adding some additional functionality, such as Picasa and mobile support photos, but still no support for Amazon Video On Demand.

UPDATE 3 (Aug 22, 2011):
Western Digital continues to add features, including support for Hulu Plus and Shoutcast, but it's unlikely I'll be giving it 4 or more stars until it gets support Amazon Video on Demand. Amazon VOD is just too big of a service for Western Digital to not be supporting it while supporting lesser-known services.

UPDATE 4 (Dec 21, 2013):
The WDTV Live Hub continues to disappoint me with lack of significant content updates. Years later, still no support for Amazon Video despite Amazon Video's huge selection of movies and popularity. I'm doubtful we'll ever see support for Redbox Instant. The only thing I find valuable about the WDTV Live Hub anymore is the integrated network-friendly hard drive.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK, but needs much improvement, March 10, 2011
This review is from: WD TV Live Hub 1TB Media Center (Old Model) (Electronics)
I have an external USB hard drive loaded with media: many years of Photos, Music and Movies. I was excited to learn I could now enjoy them on my HD TV rather than just my PC. I was not interested as much in Internet connectivity, as I also have a ROKU internet media player. Despite all the hype in the reviews, I was quite disappointed by WD TV Live Hub.

My review is for media on my portable hard drive, attached via the USB port. I did not transfer the files to the hard drive built-in WD TV Live Hub. They appeared as "Local USB" instead of "Local Internal". I downloaded the latest firmware before starting my evaluation. I used an HDMI cable to connect to the TV, and configured the box for HD 1080p.

WD TV Live Hub took 30+ minutes to compile all the media content on my portable drive. This is a one time deal and thus not a big issue. But do not expect to attach stored media and play it immediately.

My biggest disappointment was the low quality rendering my photos on the HD TV.
My photos are sharp, high resolution jpegs, 4K*3K pixels, compressed to about 4 MB. When streamed via WD TV Live, they look as poor as the 0.5 MB sample pictures provided in the box. My 55-in Samsung HD TV, which has a USB port, renders them much better than did WD TV Live hub. For example, I could not read car license plates when rendered with WD TV Live Hub while they were clearly readable using the Samsung TV built-in USB port. WD TV Live Hub does not do a very good job downscaling a 4MB jpeg image, and it takes 17+ seconds to do it (time to display the next image). Using 12 bit rather then default 8 bit color depth made no difference.

The video quality of playing stored movies was acceptable. Maybe because image sharpness is less critical when you have motion. And I do not have blue ray discs to compare. I only tried to play VOB/ISO movies. One nice feature is that WD TV Live supports the original menu system, but there is not such thing as a "Menu" button on the remote.

Search has been a touted as a feature of this device. WD TV Live Hub lets you search for movies stored based on title words, director and primary actors. Unfortunately it does not work. First it is cumbersome to key-in the letters with the UI. What was most frustrating, however, is that in my 15 attempts and just using the 1st word in the title, search succeeded only once. And even then, it found only the 2nd of three movies whose title started with the same word. The movies where all there, scrolling down the folders,but were not found using 'Search'. This is totally unacceptable.

For songs, the UI is quite primitive as well. I am used to iTunes and Window Media 9 interfaces, and WD TV Live hub is a long way from that.

Media players are evolving and improving. WD TV Live Hub claims to be 4th generation. I found it is not yet suitable for my particular needs.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still the best Media player on market!, January 26, 2012
This review is from: WD TV Live Hub 1TB Media Center (Old Model) (Electronics)
I have been a user of this WD TV Live Hub 1TB Media Center since the day it was launched on Nov 2010 (Sold exclusively by best buy at that time)(Even before Amazon started to ship these). Having said, I wanted to share my experiences with others here on Amazon so that you can make better decisions when buying media players like these and also make the best use of these media player technology for your advantage.

Out of the bunch of media players that are currently available... WD Live series (Western Digital WD TV Live Streaming Media Player - WDBHG70000NBK-HESN and Western Digital WD TV Live Hub 1 TB Media Center) and also the The Boxee Box by D-Link HD Streaming Media Player are by far the best media players when it comes to support for local media files.

As it stands now; The The Boxee Box seems to have slightly better 'edge' now that the potential attachment for USB based TV tuner card (Priced at $49) (Announced during CES 2012). The USB based TV tuner card can be used as DVR!! for recording live TV shows! - when that happens Boxee Box can become a true multimedia center.

Having said, WD TV live series of media players have very good local media file support; it can play almost every type of media files you throw at it. The most popular file format being "MKV" container (With AC3/5.1 or DTS Audio) and "ISO DVD" backups created from your personal DVDs collection (ISO media playback Supports AC3/5.1 or DTS). It is perfect method for people who loves to organize their personal collection of DVD/Blu-Ray media into one device.

The WDTV Live series provides instant access to your media collection without having to fumble thru' loads of DVDs while also gives access to thousands of movies online using paid subscriptions based streaming media services like Netflix or Hulu Plus.

In my experience, WD TV Live Hub can also play Blu-ray media ripped to hard disk but does not have the ability to play with BD-J menu support. It just attempts to play the largest "m2ts" file (filename extension used for the Blu-ray Disc Audio-Video (BDAV) from the locally attached USB drive.

Blu-Ray playback in this method is still watchable and smooth (1080P) playback with 'DTS' core Audio output to your AV receiver (BTW, Please note: - No DTS-HD MASTER AUDIO support so far - and will never be supported due to licensing requirements) only the 'core' DTS Audio is passed to the Audio receiver via HDMI or optical output). It can also down-mix to Stereo if you have no such audio decoders in your AV Receiver.

PROS
[+] Plays almost all types of media files locally (USB) and or via NAS
[+] Improved UI interface compared to previous generation (WD TV Live).
[+] Manual or Automatic "Metadata" scraping for all media files (Provides Backdrops and Movie information).
[+] Offline Beautiful Backdrops and Metadata for all your media files! once fetched (now Since FW 3.01.19 without need for Internet Connection).
[+] Starts instantly, Very low power consumption (15w), can share media files (From attached USB drives)while in standby.
[+] Support powered USB HUBs for multiple HDD connectivity and also for, Wireless USB Keyboard for comfort.
[+] Very good price as the On-board Western Digital 1 TB Scorpio Blue WD10TPVT itself is worth the money!
[+] Supports Component Video / Composite output and Optical Audio outputs (Good compatibility with older HDTVs or composite AV inputs)
[+] Online Firmware updates and online user community is excellent for all WD media players.
[+] Supports various user themes to change the look and feel of the user interface and lot more available for download on WD user community (Check the Themes section)
[+] Supports user selectable home screen wallpaper, Weather Icon, Time etc;
[+] Supports Tons of online services like Facebook, Picasa, Pandora, YouTube, Spotify, Shoutcast, Accuweather, Deezer, DailyMotion, Mediafly, Tune-in Radio, some online games etc; also includes premium services like Hulu Plus, Netflix, Blockbuster and Cinemanow.

CONS
[-] No Built-in WiFi support (**)
** (But supports USB wireless dongles like Airlink101 AWLL5077 Golden 150Mbps Wireless Mini USB Adapter (Check WD website for complete list)
[-] Blu-Ray rips(ISOs) plays okay but does not have BD-J menu support
[-] This media player is cooled by a small variable speed FAN and there could be some FAN noise, for true silent operation you can get a Western Digital WD TV Live Streaming Media Player - WDBHG70000NBK-HESN

TIPS:
After using the product for more than a year I have learnt that ...

[*] Organize your media files into categories and place them in their respective directories and sub directories. Place a JPEG file (folder.jpg) in each folder to identify the contents.
[*] Rip your personal collection of DVD's into ISOs not directly into folders. It makes organization of files simpler.
[*] Do not use the "Media library" functions of this player it makes this player unstable if you have too many media files.
[*] Do not attempt to stream Blu-Ray media files over the network, it just does not work consistently as bandwidth is not enough for streaming using these devices. Instead, Convert your Personal Blu-Ray collection into MKV and use Local USB drives for playback or keep them on a NAS with Gigabit Network.
[*] Do not have high expectations with all other online services that these boxes have to offer. Consider those online services as bonus features. Netflix and Hulu Plus are the only two paid subscription services that work well on this device.
[*] Do not expect YouTube HD to work which are flagged as "TV protected content" by the uploaders. For that you will need a Desktop PC or get yourself a Logitech Revue.

Final thoughts:

Even after year and half of daily use, I still find that it is an excellent product for the price I paid for playing local and streaming media files from NAS attached devices.

I highly recommend it!
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WD TV Live Hub 1TB Media Center (Old Model)
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