Customer Review

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fair Use at a Fair Price, August 31, 2011
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This review is from: WD TV Live Plus 1080p HD Media Player (Electronics)
I have had the WDTV for over 9 months now, more than enough time to figure out its long-term strengths, weakness and quirks. I did a lot of intensive research before buying--okay, fine, so I checked specs for a couple days on the Internet. Still, I wanted for a device that would support a lot of formats AND have a USB port for my portable 1TB hard drive. After almost going for the Roku, I finally settled on this little set-top, even though I'd heard that Western Digital's media players tended to be buggy. In hindsight, I'm pretty sure I made a good choice, though not the most convenient one...

THE GOOD: So far, the WDTV has handled nearly every file format I've thrown at it. Everything from full HD .mkv files to FLAC audio to Ogg Vorbis files have played well on the unit. DTS CD rips will play as well on the WDTV. Particularly useful is the WDTV's ability to navigate Video_TS folders and play full DVD backups complete with menus & special features. (I was scratching my head trying to figure out how to play my beloved Region 2 & 3 kung fu imports in upscaled 1080p on my PS3, which does not support PAL. So much for that!) The internet features work well, although I hardly ever use them, and there are a lot of great free features like MediaFly and internet radio stations. Obviously, it also supports NetFlix, YouTube and Facebook. The device will also support content stored on an SD card (provided that you have an SD card reader with USB connection).

THE BAD: The WDTV does not support wireless streaming, and even with a good signal and the dedicated ethernet connection, streaming playback can be buggy at times. The following two points are not really faults of the device, but FYI, the initial scan of a hard drive connected via USB seems to take forever (not surprising for a large hard drive with a lot of stuff on it, but still). The box also does not support some proprietary formats like Real Audio (*.ra, *.rmvb) or Apple Lossless audio files (*.m4a).

THE UGLY: The interface and menus are drab and EXTREMELY laggy. Things have improved somewhat with the last two firmware updates, but unfortunately the WDTV still doesn't offer an experience anywhere near the vibrancy or intuitive ease of the Roku or Apple TV menus, even as it trounces them in supported formats. The search option is pathetic and it takes a loooong time to enter characters. Hopefully, you are a patient person because some formats can take a while to load. The menu structure is a bit illogical; for example, there is no option to delete items from the main drive menu (you have to go down two submenus to File Management and rifle through your folders from there to find the item you wish to delete, but you can only delete items from one subfolder at a time, and after each file deletion within a particular subfolder you're sent back to the main File Management menu to repeat the process; it gets old rather quickly).

Bottom line is, if you are looking for an easy-to-use, good-looking player and want nothing more than basic functions out of it, or if you hate fiddling with gadgets and just "want the thing to PLAY already" (my mother's words), then you should try the Roku or the Apple TV. If you want a real workhorse that isn't pretty but can do anything you ask of it, this is your box right here. For the money and its functionality, I'd say you can't beat the WDTV Live Plus.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 31, 2011 8:23:08 PM PDT
80sGuy says:
Have you updated to the latest firmware, if so did it hindered the device from operating awkwardly in any way?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2011 10:03:52 AM PDT
R. Long says:
I did download the new firmware on 9/3/2011. Haven't noticed much improvement re: navigation, but there is now a Games section (with things like Chess, Blackjack, etc.) and added Hulu Plus support. Seems about the same, no better, no worse.
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