Customer Review

44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Media player for the price!, October 25, 2011
This review is from: WD TV Live Media Player Wi-fi 1080p (Electronics)
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Western Digital has been always been my favorite when it comes to media players for playing plethora of media file formats including regular DVD rips in ISO format with cover-art and beautiful backdrops (which looks superb when up-scaled to 1080p with menu support) also supports Hi-Def MKV with DTS audio, MP4, XVID, AVI, WMV, VOB and MOV and it does a very good job in rendering them on your big screen TV at full 1080p resolution without any problems whatsoever. Picture Quality is excellent. Video Playback is smooth and with Optical Audio link to your Audio receiver you are ready to enjoy true movie experience for everyone in the family.

The new Western Digital WD TV Live Streaming Media Player (Yeah it is a "mouthful" of a product name) reviewed here is the new generation of their media players series and it still is the best one out there in today's market when it comes to playing media files which are local attached to USB ports or streamed via your NAS.

The WD TV Live Streaming Media Player is passively cooled, there is no FAN noise absolutely silent sitting next to your TV and starts instantly and menu is far superior compared to previous generation of WD media players- Mochi (tm) UI interface which was only available on WDTV Live HUB is now ported to this media player and is absolutely gorgeous - Love it!

PROS
[+] Built-in WiFi and connects effortlessly to Internet or Local NAS
[+] Plays almost all types of media files locally (USB) and or via NAS
[+] Improved UI interface compared to previous generation.
[+] Manual or Automatic "Metadata" scraping for all media files.
[+] Beautiful Backdrops and Metadata for all your media files!
[+] Starts instantly, No FAN, No noise, low power consumption
[+] Support USB HUBs for multiple HDD connectivity and also for, USB Keyboard for comfort
[+] Online Firmware updates and online user community is excellent for all WD media players.
[+] 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
[-] Blu-Ray rips(ISOs)takes a long time to start - plays ok - but does not have BD-J menu support
[-] Have some bugs with Netflix streaming service and with respect to HDMI CEC mode.
[-] Media Library function does not work with NAS shares **** See updates Below ****
[-] Some online services like Blockbuster and Cinemanow reports "Cannot play this type of media"

The problems mentioned above are based on Firmware Version 1.03.10 released on 10/6/2011 which are very minor for me; WD has acknowledged these issues and will eventually update the firmware to fix them for sure.

Overall, It is the best player for playing Local Media files attached to USB drives, or NAS shares on your home network. IMHO, The performance and usability of online services are not that great but consider the online services as bonus!

Final thoughts:

It is an excellent product for the price for playing local and streaming media files, I highly recommend it! - for less than $100 dollars it is worth every penny.

*** UPDATE NOV 28 ***
I have been regularly using this media player and it is still going strong, I am loving it. I have recommended this to many of my friends and co-workers, they are also happy with their purchases.

BTW, (**) WD released a new Firmware update version Release 1.04.12 (11/17/2011) wherein this feature of Supporting media library function for network share folders has been added.
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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 16, 2011 11:22:46 PM PST
Gilly H says:
Can you elaborate more on the blu ray isos taking long to start? will it take long to start if it hooked up by external hard drive? I am thinking of buying this product to play blu ray movie files and your comment scares me. Is the quality good on it when playing blu ray movie files from an external hard drive on it? you did say the quality is "ok"? thanks for a reply!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 17, 2011 7:59:59 AM PST
rbhatta says:
Hi,
No need for concern, The picture quality of Blu-Ray is fantastic, It is just that with the current Firmware level 1.03.10 released on 10/6/2011 there is some delay in starting a Blu-Ray ISO from a Network Share or from a NAS, If you have a external HDD connected it will start and play fine, But remember, You cannot use the BD-J menus that you will find in any regular BD player, It will play the streams just fine. The best thing to do is have Blu-Ray media converted to MKV container using software like MKVmerge.

Cheers!

Posted on Nov 21, 2011 8:11:04 AM PST
cm-311 says:
rbhatta, thanks for the pictures and review. I bought a WDTVLIVE Plus in September, just saw they came out with a replacement. Is it worth getting the new model? Is the menu, load times, navigation that much better? I bought the unit mainly because of its GREAT local file support. I also use it for Netflix a lot. I hate how you have to click so many icons to get to Netflix though. Is it faster to load Netflix on the new unit?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 21, 2011 11:11:10 AM PST
rbhatta says:
The WDTVLIVE SMP media player that you read the review about has the same GUI interface of the !Western Digital WD TV Live Hub 1 TB Media Center, the Default Mochi Theme that is shown in many YouTube Videos by users.
For example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEtFnv96deQ
Yes the GUI has become much better when compared to WDTVLIVE plus product.

The local file support is still great!, The load times depends on the number of files that you have and if you are using the Media Library function, I personally do not use Media Library which tends to slow things down a bit, This new media player has more RAM than the previous model and uses newer CPU, It supports USB hubs to attach multiple HDD's using one USB port, The Picture Quality seems to be better, This player plays everything the WDTVLIVE plus used to play. The Netflix also as improved, It is available under "Online Services". It is not the best UI when compared to playstation or on MediaCenter PC's but IMHO for $99 you cannot ask for more :-)

If you are getting this make sure that you update the Firmware to the latest for getting the best out of it. Currently at FW 1.04.12 (11/2011)

Thanks for reading my review!

Cheers!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 21, 2011 11:19:04 AM PST
cm-311 says:
Thanks for the reply. Are the improvements worth buying the new one? Like I said, I just bought the previous model 2 1/2 months ago. Does this have the new Netflix UI? I hate the new Netflix UI, preferred the older UI that came with the unit before I upgraded the firmware.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 21, 2011 11:30:24 AM PST
rbhatta says:
WD usually updates all their product across the Boards of WDTV Live series, The NetFlix has the new UI which you have on WDTV Live Plus and Just like the WDTV Live HUB. I personally do not use it for Online Services so I cannot comment further with my experiences.

WDTVLive Plus which you already have is a decent enough Player for local files just like the new WDTV Live SMP, The new player's Menu and GUI has improved a lot (Certain Online services GUI are still the same including NetFlix) and Oh! it has built in WiFi and also supports additional Themes nothing more nothing less.

Hope it helps!

Thanks

Posted on Jan 2, 2012 11:03:34 PM PST
With WD streaming media player, I am not even able to see my iso video files. Are you able to see and play/stream them from your media server? I have several video iso files on my windows computer's hard drive connected on the same network (workgroup name). WD media player is able to see and stream the mkv and m2ts files but not the ISO. What am I doing wrong?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 3, 2012 8:01:05 AM PST
rbhatta says:
ISO files work best when used as Network Share. You cannot use ISO files via Media Server, I do not think any of the Media Servers support ISO files natively.

Try to create a Network Share for your ISO files, It will work.

Posted on Jan 9, 2012 7:48:36 PM PST
Your very kind to write such a thorough review and answer so many questions. Thank you.

My question is can you watch the free version of Hulu or is a Hulu-plus pay subscription required? I watch a lot of the free content on Hulu but don't need the extra content of Hulu-plus.

Thank you!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 10, 2012 7:25:31 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 10, 2012 7:26:08 AM PST
rbhatta says:
Hi Julie,

You can watch "Hulu-plus" on this media player but is a paid subscription service. Unfortunately, the free content (With limited ads) that you can watch like say on a Laptop or Desktop PC cannot be viewed thru' this media player. For that matter most of the TV connected devices are mostly blocked by the content providers like Hulu. Even to an extent Logitech Revue (Google TV) is not allowed to view Hulu free content.

Hint: Ultra-books and small laptops with HDMI are getting cheaper by the day, If you can afford few hundred dollars more just get a Good Laptop, get yourself a wireless keyboard with built-in touch-pad, connect your laptop to TV via HDMI and enjoy HULU for free. It is a good value as the same laptop can be used for so many other tasks.

Hope I have answered your question.

Thanks!
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