not to be rude, but this post actually scares me a little. You say "I'm a very experienced network engineer / architect and software developer. I can get things to work,...." but then say it took me 45 minutes to figure out how to update and remove something from being pinned to the front page.. to remove from the front page, highlight the app by moving the box to that app, then hit the options button on the remote and select "unpin".. done.. to update, again, move the box to, not the app, but to the setup icon in the top right corner, hit the ok button, and its in there. it took you 45 minutes to figure that out??? it took me something like maybe 5 minutes.
agreed, it is not the fastest. like when watching something on netflix. if you hit the pause button, a lot of times, there is something like a 2 or 3 second delay before it pauses. so yet, major lag time. i have not had any trouble with netflix until just recently. something in the system just started screwing up overnight. I was one day past a year since i ordered it, but less then 1 year since i received it (shipping), so i contact WD.. they were very nice and slightly extended my warranty so i can get it fixed. but my problem was not just with netflix, it was with the connection. for some reason, it just stopped connecting to my network. It said everything was fine, but could not get anything to connect to the internet. either wired or wireless.. tried both.. i had to unplug the power and plug it back in to get anything to work, and that only worked temporary, maybe a day, then repeat. it worked fine one day, got up, and it refused to connect. so now, RMA, here i come.. also, i know it was not on my end that messed it up. I have them connected through decent UPS's.. and it was protect from surges.. Im talking 1500va type and better. so it was not a power surge that did it.
granted, it is lacking in features, but all i got mine for was the netflix app, so i can not say about the rest of the stuff you said, and the menu is not the greatest, but it is not that hard to navigate or figure out. it kinda reminds me of a touchscreen menu.. but still, seriously, 45 minutes.. that one just scares me..
PS.. i am a network admin by trade too.. so i have some technical ability, but seriously, 45 minutes???