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Showing 1-10 of 2,257 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 2,624 reviews
on November 12, 2011
I recently decided to start a little weekend project of completely digitizing my 200+ home DVD collection. I wont get into any arguments over the legal ramifications of this type of project, but rest assured every digital movie in my collection is a straight rip of a physical DVD I own. That being said, I really needed a good option to actually "deliver" these movies to my HD TV in my living room. I have an Xbox 360 but that just didnt seem to be making the cut. So I started researching these fancy smart set-top boxes.

At first I was convinced the Roku XS 2 was the way to go - but I started reading more and more about its lack of specific filetype support (i.e. MKV, M4V, AVI to name a few). That and it really didnt do network streaming/sharing well (if at all). I saw the WD TV Live HUB with 1TB harddrive for 199 and thought that was just a little too steep for my price range (the Roku is 99 afterall). Then I somehow accidentally found this device on Amazon. The price was right, and the specs seemed right. Too good to be true?

No! This device is incredible! First of all, I cant get over how tiny it is! Its literally thinner than a regular DVD case and maybe as tall as 2 dvds stacked. It sits nicely right next to my 360 with some breathing room! It only comes with a cheap pair of composite (or maybe component I didnt check) cables but I quickly ignored them due to an extra HDMI cable I had lying around. That coupled with the extra optical cable I had as well completed this package - although Im sure many will argue that its fairly lacking that the unit didnt come with either in the box (I agree but both cables can basically be purchased for an extra 10 bucks so not that big of a deal and I did have extras lying around).

Basically, setup took seconds and I had it online in no time. It found my wifi box right away although it appeared to have little to no "connection" strength (it showed no bars). This isnt unusual as my wifi router is fairly weak and my laptop consistently has issues dropping the connection etc - which is unfortunate because the box is only upstairs and like 20 feet away?! But I digress. After the wifi connected I downloaded all the latest firmwares (quickly and painlessly) and was up and running! All the online services you could want are on the dashboard. A few notables I saw missing were Amazon Unbox and HBO Go - but Im not sure what the situation is with those on other devices (Roku supports Amazon Unbox I think? 360 will have HBO Go in like 3 weeks?). But, this review really wont/doesnt cover all of those online services available to the unit. I tried Netflix and Pandora and they both worked fine. There are also a few games preinstalled which is neat I guess.

So, later in the night I put it through its paces. I basically threw every type of movie file I could at it, all with different file sizes and resolution (all streamed off a network share). I tried some 480p DVD rips of M4Vs, some 720p AVIs, even some 1080p MKVs. All streamed flawlessly (even over my poor wifi connection!). I was never disappointed. Even browsing the folder structure via the network share was quick and painless with no delay (with only 120ish folders so far). Later in the night by the time I was on my 3rd movie I noticed that the lip syncing was off. I started to panic! Was my too good to be true situation finally starting to show its true colors?! I tried a few other movies and all seemed fine, but that one with the syncing issue was consistent. Then I noticed in the quick options a Lip Syncing delay option. Toggling this (delay or advance) by 100ms chunks fixed the problem perfectly! I was VERY relieved to see that this option existed and it was so quick and easy to get too as I could see this being an issue for certain files etc. Lastly the only other issue I really noticed was that home videos taken with my Flip cam (1080p mp4s) were very choppy and delayed/unwatchable. I have experienced this before on every device Ive tried to watch them on (i.e. 360/PS3/etc). I have to assume that this is simply the result of trying to stream a file thats too large over my weak wifi network. Hopefully a Wireless N router will find its way under the Christmas tree this year!

At the end of the night I was very thrilled with the little device! Its doing exactly what I could want and more! My ONLY purpose for buying the unit was to stream my digital DVD collection via my network. The fact that I can throw an external HDD on the unit if I want to stop dealing with the network is gravy! Add on top the online services like HuluPlus, Netflix, Blockbuster, Pandora, etc, etc, and I have one tiny little unit that packs quite a punch! Most users here will review the online services and only glance over the networking/file type support. Hopefully Ive done the opposite here and covered all the "other" angles that most people arent concerned with!

PS Its worth noting that I cant really see a reason to get the more expensive WD TV Live HUB with built in 1TB harddrive. Its lacking WIFI and something else I cant recall - but you can get an external 1TB drive for basically 1 hundred bucks anyway nowadays and just attach to the WD TV Live unit and have the same situation only better (because you have a replaceable drive AND wifi built in!).
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on September 17, 2016
I have this connected to my Sony Bravia 4K TV and my Synology 412+ media server (2gb ram upgrade). I also use Plex on my TV. But where my Plex app on the server and the TV struggles to play a 1080p MKV file with a sub-title, this little box plays it as well as all and any of my files without a stutter or problem. This plays everything I throw at it. The Plex app won't play ISO files, of which I have many. I'm sure the updated Synology 415+ with quad-core processor as opposed to the 412+ dual-core processer would probably play my MKV files with sub-titles but I can't see spending $700.00 for the upgrade as long as I have my WDTV Live. Sure the WDTV menu system is not anything like the Plex, and is a bit crude but it serves the media astoundingly good. My Media server has 16 Tb plus 2 attached Seagate 8TB external USB3 drives for a total of 32 TB of storage space. And this thing just plows ahead and does its job without a stutter. Somewhat slow to access the menu system but I can deal with it. Slow meaning it may take an extra second or two too open a file. I also have connected a Darblet (Darby) connected to the output of the WDTV for additional enhancement of video files.
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on March 16, 2014
Let me start off by saying that I REALLY wanted this product to work for my situation. I've got an iMac running PLEX on my network, but prefer to bypass the iMac altogether when streaming media from my network drives since I am generally running other software programs on the mac and like to keep it separate. I've been using a PogoPlug device for years now with no issues to access my ripped movies on my USB external hard drive. I've got a collection of movies (that I own) that I have ripped to my hard drive for my kids (as I got sick and tired of having to re-purchase movies that I already own due to the kids accidentally causing damage to the discs). Once I ripped my collection to the drive, we've absolutely loved having the "instant access" to our collection using our XBOX 360 as our front end to access the movies. HOWEVER... the XBOX is finicky in that you can only have your drive formatted to FAT or FAT32 which gives file size limitations and you have to rip the movie using specific settings in HandBrake in order to get it to come through properly. This is very limiting and if there are any "glitches" in the data, the video just stops and you have to restart the video at that specific point and fast forward through the "glitchy" part. PLEX simply streams the media on through the network fine (as I don't use the transcoding) but the issue is still there with the XBOX. We have a few older model ROKU boxes that basically shut down when you hit those parts using the PLEX app. My newer ROKU 3 box handles it much better by fast forwarding through it basically, but it's still not a "perfect" solution.

So... after much research, I decided I would try the WD TV Live Media Player since I was not interested in having to go full board with a media center PC or purchase an XBOX ONE. The specs seemed similar to my latest ROKU but had the advantage of being able to read off of the network directly and process pretty much any video file of any codec natively. For $79 on Amazon, I thought that it may not be the perfect solution, but it seemed like a good choice.

Got the unit in and setup was easy (as expected). The unit went through 2 or 3 firmware updates and then I set the initial settings and was pretty much ready to go. The interface is much more of a file structure / basic than what I expected, but it works. It certainly does not have the polish of the latest ROKU software nor the access to online streaming services (VERY limited on the WD TV Live). Nonetheless, I pointed it to my network drive (which it saw right away) and was able to start streaming my media immediately. I thought "this is exactly what I've been looking for". Went to a movie that I knew had a "glitch" in it and fast forwarded to that part and it handled it like a champ. Just went straight through with nothing but a small digitized image of the video for a second. So I threw a bunch of other video files at it in different codecs and formats and it was able to process all of them (some slower than others, but it worked). So... I thought to myself "I can live with the deficiencies in the interface and with the lack of content compared to the ROKU since this appears to have solved my issue".

Then, day 2 came. Started it up and noticed that it had "lost connection" with all of my network drives and media. So I pointed everything to it again and it seemed to be fine. Then, I tried to play a video and there was no audio. After 30 or 45 minutes of trying to figure out the problem, found the solution on a forum stating that you had to "disable" the AC3 audio if your receiver was capable of handling PCM audio. Weird issue, but it solved the problem. Showed my wife and kids how to use the device and went on with my day. That evening, my wife told me that the unit just stopped working and that it "lost connection with the network". So I checked my network drives and my iMac running PLEX and everything was up and running. I decided to bypass my PogoPlug and run the drive through my iMac and PLEX to see if that could be the issue. Same results after watching 30 minutes or so of video. I decided to reset the unit and see if it just needed to "clear things". Reboot went fine and I went through all sorts of process of elimination with the unit and my network. After an additional day and a half of working with the unit, I simply came to the realization that the only thing that had changed in my setup was this box and it just wasn't working reliably.

So... here are the PRO's and CON's, in my opinion:

PROS
- Easy to set up
- Reads pretty much any video file, INCLUDING VOB's and ISO DVD's with menu structure
- Has the ability to plug a third party device into it to watch live television
- Is small and unobtrusive with good connection options in the back of the unit (composite, component (using breakout cable provided), HDMI, optical audio
- Has a remote control app that can be downloaded from Google Play Store to input text
- USB input to access drives directly

CONS
- Not reliable in that it kept losing connection with my network devices, computers, and drives (and all stay on all the time)
- Interface is not as user friendly or polished as ROKU
- Lacks online streaming sources (with only Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vudu, and CinemaNow being your only real choices for movies)
- Clunky remote (had to use too many buttons to accomplish any given task, which is sort of an interface issue)

Bottom line...

I decided to send this unit back as it just seems to be "half baked". My hope is that they will either fix all of the issues with the next model or ROKU will figure out a better way to handle local media so that I can just stick with the more superior line of ROKU boxes. I don't believe that this WD media player is a "bad" product, but it just wasn't a satisfying experience and when it just "stops working" in the middle of watching something due to losing it's connection with my network, that just equals failure on the product as far as I'm concerned. If they can get the interface right, fix whatever bugs they have with this thing, and get some additional streaming services on board, then they could give ROKU a run for their money and possibly win me over just on the basis of their support for so many more video file formats.
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on August 7, 2017
Wow. Love this device as it gave me everything I was waiting for. I have a smart TV and a smart Home Theater system but all of my movies and TV series are stored on a computer/drives in the basement in the original DVD disc format (i.e. folder with the name of the movie or series disc with a sub-directory named VIDEO_TS, which contains the IFO, BUP and VOB files, just as found on the original DVD). I've always wanted to access my collection via LAN but all previous smart devices required me to convert from DVD format to a streaming format and run a DLNA server on my computer to feed the video device. So I would burn DVDs (saving a copy to disk) and take them upstairs for viewing. A real pain, time consuming, and even premium DVD media is getting less and less reliable. The WD TV Live Media box not only let me play all of my DVD formatted videos stored on hard drive but will access my Windows network directly without running a DLNA server. Now, rather than burning DVDs I can select and play any of them from my recliner. I did setup 4 new network-shared folders on my Windows XP computer: 1) unwatched TV series, 2) unwatched Movies, 3) All TV series and 4) All Movies. After watching a movie or all the episodes on a TV series disc I simply delete it from the "unwatched" folder. This box has both wifi and a wired connection. Tried the wifi option first (less cables) but got pauses on occasion (not the box's fault). After plugging in a wired ethernet cable it works flawlessly. No longer have to look in a cabinet for DVDs in cases, now just browse and select and play with no DVD read errors. Perfect, thank you WD.
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on July 3, 2014
Could be faster, but it works great for what it is. My other option at the time was the Fire. The fire lacks Spotify, and local file streaming (hooking up to network shares, or using an external drive/flash drive). To stream my own videos on the Fire box, I would have to first upload them away from my computer to the cloud, and then stream them back down through my network. Not worthwhile.

Overall I think if you're really a power user and tend to have your own digital media, this is the best media box available. The smartphone remote makes things easy as well.

Note: Updating to the latest firmware may have hurt some things for other individuals, but I just updated mine 7/3/14, and it has seemingly made the box faster and more fluid.

Update 10/13: I thought this thing was OK when I first got it. I now have a Roku 3, and I NEVER want to use that WD again. This thing is so far behind. It's terribly slow in comparison, the IR remote sucks, the official WD remote app sucks and it always loses connection. I bought this because I wanted access to files on my PC that the Amazon Fire couldn't do. the WDTV live is TERRIBLE for this - It updates your entire media collection over the network on every restart. It's slow, it's inefficient, and it often doesn't work at all. My Roku 3? I setup a Plex Media server, and forgot about it. It just works.

I would sell 3 of these things for one box that's worthy of being in this decade. It only receives 2 stars because it 'works' (at best).
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on November 24, 2013
For my '13 New Year's resolution, I decided to look at my spending habits and find ways to save money. After doing some math factoring in hardware purchase, we decided to cut our cable. We purchased FOUR wdtv lives and placed them at our 4 TVs. Two of them are wired to internet while the other 2 are wirelessly connected. It has been ~11 months since purchase. So, I feel quite qualified to provide feedback.

We use the boxes for two main purposes: watching Hulu/Netflix and watching movies we burned to our external HD. We did discover, however, some niceties along the way.

So, firstly, onto streaming Hulu and Netflix. The box flawlessly streams Netflix. And, of course, with Netflix you can stop whatever you're watching, move to another room, and begin watching right where you left off. Hulu playback, however, has been questionable but doable. We have watched numerous Hulu shows with minimal issues: The Tudors Series, Grey's Anatomy, Modern Family, etc. As a matter of fact, we are currently watching a Modern Family episode without issues. I must admit that to obtain the best streaming quality without continual pauses I had to change the Hulu setting to 1 mbps; this is 2d worst or ~3 best quality? It still appears to be good quality. Netflix, on the other hand, NEVER has any issues. Perhaps the reason this is so because the quality automatically adjusts?

The second reason we purchased the WDTV live is to watch movies from our HDs. The WD does this flawlessly and we've been very happy with the performance. It plays back all the formats it has come across with no issue. Furthermore, WD will automatically download art for your videos which is AWESOME! This allows the user to flip through the covers to select movies instead of a list of names. We like this feature.

Now onto some of the unexpected benefits. Firstly, you can plug 2 external HDs into each WDTV. I also have the WD's connected to a Mybook live. Playback from these devices is flawless. Furthermore, once the WDs are properly mapped, you can watch the movies on one HD from any WDTV in the house. Secondly, you can use WD's program to map to the HDs connected to the WDs. This allows the ability to connect to the HDs that are connected to the WDs from your computer through wifi. This functionality allows you to wirelessly transfer movies to your HDs but also provides the option to just access the HDs for files or whatever through computer.

Some tips:
- I was having problems with mapping other WDTVs to my living room WDTV. Specifically, they would periodically drop the connection and I would have to reset stuff to make it work. WDTV's customer service informed me to change the workgroup name of my router which fixed the problem. I have no more drops!
- After moving a movie to one of the HDs or to the my book live, it wouldn't immediately show up in the mapped folders. Through conversation with WDTV's customer service, they informed me to select "option" on the folder (before entering the folder to select movie) and choose rescan. After that, all movies are now visible.

Cons:
- It is not uncommon to have to reset this box. If box hasn't hard frozen, then we can long press the wdtv power button to reset. Otherwise, we have to pull the power cord. Sometimes we also have to pull power because volume is not there. Sometimes we have to pull power because the handshake between this unit and TV is not recognized and there is no picture. The freezing happens enough that my 7-year old knows how to physically pull the power cable.

So, long story short, we've now saved $100 ea. month from no cable and we're happy. It's not all smooth sailing and we would gladly pay a bit more for more processing power--or whatever is needed--to avoid the aforementioned problems. My spouse was adamantly in disagreement with dropping the cable but has come around and has decided this has been a good decision. Happy shopping!
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on September 30, 2015
NEW ISSUE! These devices are having problems playing Netflix. The last firmware update from WD was August 2014. Netflix has updated their playing software since, and now Netflix hangs when playing in HD on WT TV Live!

I hate companies that manufacture and sell consumer products with planned obsolescence... without saying they're going to expire and they won't support. This product was released in 2011 and I see it's still available for sale through Amazon. WD should expect to support it OR disclose that the product is being discontinued and will not work beyond the 1 year warranty period.

Specifics: I purchased WD TV Live June 2014 from Amazon, specifically because it was rated high for use of Netflix and was still listed as a supported Western Digital product. We started having problems recently - contacting WD and making sure we had the latest firmware (August 2014). We contacted Netflix, because it seems not to work on this specific device. Netflix says there should have been updates to the software on WD TV... Western Digital says device has been discontinued, no longer supported and suggests buying the new product (released in 2013) - even though it doesn't support Netflix.

It wasn't a big out-of-pocket expense - but what Western Digital did was steal something more valuable... hours of time, tech support calls and frustration!!
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on September 2, 2014
Taken forever to read a HD if you ever disconnect it. Does not support all .FLV files but many of them. Will not play some .FLV files that play fine on my Sansung tablet. Pretty fancy interface that you can change the look of. The manual is 100% useless. It took me quite a while to figure out how to move, copy and delete files, etc. To control files you have to select it and use the options button. You can rate and favorite content. The options button will also allow you to use Flixster to retrieve information about movies and TV episodes which is pretty cool. It also seem to go out in the middle of the night and automatically use Flixster to update information about videos (TV / Movies) since it had added such information without me asking for it. If you plug it into your Ethernet you can also control it from any computer/tablet on the network by logging into it and using the remote menu item. You can also change the workgroup name but if you do other less flexible device will not find it and it does not seems to work with windows 8 "homegroup" only the default "workgroup". Does not have Amazon Prime so I don't use it for streaming a lot. Since it cahces the directory data it is a bit faster going through the directories then a bluray player which does not however a bluray player can read you HD almost instantly whether it was unplugged since last used or not. Also, turning of the WDTV does not disconnect a USB connected HD like ti would with bluray player. This means you can transfer data to it even if the box is off but it also means if you disconnect it or turn it off it will scan the entire HD which could take 20 minutes (smaller 2 TB HD) to hours. It sometimes takes a long time for it to be recognized by the network. The TV and router is there instantly but not the WDTV, Again like the HD it can take a half hour easily or sometimes it never shows up and I have to disconnect the USB HD to update its files. I don't use the wifi. It seems kind of weak. I have the TV and WDTV hooked into th router and HDMI to the TV. Supports HDMI-CEC so the TV automatically turns on (which turns on the AV receiver) when I turn on the WDTV. Remote has no volume control The Onkyo remote works fine with Samsung equipment so I'll probably program it to control the WDTV also even though it bulkier. The BACK button should be more prominent and I am always using it along with the options one. It also takes a long time to update the video library every time you move or delete a file even if it is only one item. I also wish it could use bluetooth controller like my TV. No more line of sight problems for controlling the TV unlike the WDTV box which is actually even smaller then I thought and about the size of a bare 3 1/2" HD. Co-operates well with othe DLNA servers and can play media from them as well and even has a menu item for such servers versus "local storage" which is basically whatever you plug into the USB port.
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on December 31, 2014
I bought this instead of a Gracie Digital Radio because I thought the mobile app would give me similar remote control capability but with more features than just audio/music. If the app met my expectations, I would give this 4-5 stars.

Cons:
-There's no volume control on the output. I was hoping to split the output to go to several audio systems in my house. Because there isn't a volume control, I am left with 3 options:
1) Go around to all the other systems and adjust the volume level one by one
2) Get a new receiver that has an audio output that can be split to go to the other systems and use the receiver to control the volume for all (though this means I can't independently turn up the volume in just that room anymore)
3) Use something like a mixing board to adjust the volume level before it gets sent out to the house

-The advertisement leads you to believe that you can use an app on your phone to control the device from anywhere in your house. The app is basically an image of the remote controller. If doesn't do you any good if you're in another part of the house and can't see the screen to see what menu options you're selecting.

-The Pandora Radio GUI is lacking. It's just not as good as what you use on your phone/tablet/computer. It wants to default to displaying the stations chronologically every time you open it rather than remembering that you want it to be alphabetical. It doesn't display a full screen image of the album cover like the app for other devices. It doesn't seem to have a "go to sleep" or "alarm" setting either.

-I have a ton of files, and my preferred method of searching through them and organizing them is with MS Windows Explorer. Its easier to see, search, and organize the folders this way. I feel like I would be better off just buying a basic computer with a Windows OS so I could get the increased capability.

-If one of the features is to play music, why isn't there a visualization capability? This was in Windows Media Player years ago -not new technology... why not apply it here? Instead you're limited to setting up a photo slideshow or just letting the big "WD" icon come up on the screen saver and move around the screen.

Pros: It was simple to connect and setup. It does a good job of playing music from my NAS located in another room. I watched a few music videos off youtube that looked crystal clear and sounded great.

Summary: Seems to do all the things it was intended to do just fine but is missing some valuable capabilities that are eluded to in advertisements but don't meet expectations in the actual product.
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on September 26, 2013
This thing is great. plays every format which is what i got it for. I have a synology media server with movies this plays them all, all formats no problem. Great wifi reception too.

Now to compare it to roku 2 XS. I also have roku that i got awhile back.
Pros for WD
-plays more formats
-better wifi reception
Pros for Roku
-i like smaller remote better
-a better UI
-has a synology channel (for synology users)

In the end WD wins for me as being able to play formats is the most important feature of media player and great wifi too.

11.21.2013
Really like this player, it plays everthing has really good wifi signal. I actually will give away my roku and get another wdplayer for basement.
here are few cons to be fair
Remote is horrible, very laggy. To be honest the app on my phone works way better than actual remote.
No store to download apps like roku. Its comes preinstalled and you cannot get more (no amazon) or delte them either.

Those are really only cons. The pros however outweigh them for me by far. I streamed 1080p MKV movie file over wifi without any issue at all. I hope maybe next model for a better smaller remote, wifi AC.
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