318 of 345 people found the following review helpful
Best choice for the $100 range of devices
, October 11, 2011
This review is from: WD TV Live Media Player Wi-fi 1080p (Old Version) (Electronics)
There's been a lot of changes since writing this review but just this week, WD updated the youtube leanback app and made a ton of improvements!. Now I can play my new videos from my subscriptions playlist :) There's also more data provided about each video and a sleek ui overhaul. You can also control the app through your iphone/android device (haven't tested this yet). Nice job WD! Loving this so much now!
I want to start by letting you all know that I'm very picky about my electronics and I'm not easily satisfied nowadays, so I always play with several products before sticking with one. I've gone through the wdtv live plus (grey model with small remote), sony smp-n100, and the apple tv 2 before trying out this device (also used various BD players, gaming consoles for netflix/youtube streaming). I must say that this unit takes the cake in terms of what you get for the price.
Too lazy to give you my full story and thoughts so I'm just going to sum it up and give comparisons to the atv2, which I'd consider the next best choice for a set top box.
-Video quality exceeded my expectations (netflix, youtube, network streaming)
-Youtube steams HD (unlike smp-n100 and other revisions of the wdtv live/plus)
-Wifi is integrated in this unit but won't see my N network (no big deal)
-Youtube won't allow you to access your subscriptions from the app, only your favorites list, search, popular videos, and your published videos (biggest downside for me)
-Can stream nearly every video file format I would ever use
-Netflix app on this device functions very well, better than other devices I've used.
-Includes a few games like chess, memory, dumb boring stuff mostly.
-The remote is more responsive and has more buttons (which I love) than the other model I used (WDBABF0000NBK-NESN)
Okay, now for my comparison of the WDBHG70000NBK vs the apple tv:
Both devices operate exceptionally well compared to the sony smp-n100 and the wdtv live (WDBABF0000NBK-NESN).
I was very pleased with the performance of Youtube and Netflix on both the apple tv 2 and the WDTV live; However, I appreciated the interface of the atv2 Netflix app slightly more simply because it gave me more choices and allowed me to specify sub-genres of movies to choose from and giving me similar movie/tv choices based on the content that's currently selected... similar to how Youtube shows related videos on the sidebar. The wdtv live had slightly better loading times with netflix buffering than the atv2 but not by much. The major selling point for me on the wdtv live was the fact that it consistently streams HD and doesn't change the video quality as often as atv2 did while watching Netflix. I hated switching from HD to SD or worse during a movie!!! The atv2 also has a noticeably blurry/pixelated image quality even while streaming HD content. That alone was the reason why I had to try out this revision of the wdtv live. This unit does not experience the loss of image quality that my atv2 had undergone, but I read somewhere that atv2 uses a different bandwidth standard for HD streaming than other devices and will dynamically change the quality while streaming without notification to avoid disturbances... I have a 20Mb downstream rate... still looked ugly with my 20Mb connection so I'd stay away from that unit if picture quality is important to you. Your wife probably won't find it irritating but if you've gotten used to the clarity of 720p, you WILL see the lack of focus and pixelation while using netflix on the atv2 (youtube was less noticeable). Jailbreaking the atv2 was a MAJOR selling point for me and in my opinion, increases the value of the unit by at least another $100 if you use the couch surfer addon or xbmc :) I won't go into that but google it if you want to learn about it.
WDTV live also supports almost every video format you'd ever want to stream from your pc so you wont have to go through the hassle of converting file types to make them work on your device. Atv2 lacks strongly in this department.
Alright, I'm getting restless typing all this ****. I'd rate the wdtv live a 9/10 and the atv2 an 7.9/10.
I'd highly recommend this device especially for the price!
PS- If you buy elsewhere, make sure you buy this unit with the large remote (as seen in the picture listed) not the version with the tiny remote, that's the old model and it sucks compared this this one. I'm too lazy to list the details, just take my word for it. I'm a wizard.
Edit 1: Found a few minor negatives about this device that I'd like to address here for the manufacturer to make notice of:
1. HDMI cec cannot turn off the device when Netflix app is open due to confirmation prompt- FIXED!
2. Youtube app should include subscriptions section or the ability to view only videos from specific users- FIXED!
3. New FW update causes issues with video output when the device wakes from sleep (might be related to hdmi cec)
4. general sluggishness of the menus with all the additional apps taking up space, maybe give us an option to uninstall certain apps?
5. youtube leanback has occasional buffer error where it wont come out of a buffer ring state
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