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on March 10, 2013
The first rule about buying a media player is to understand what you are getting. The WD TV Play is primarily a streaming device (Netflix, Pandora, YouTube, Hulu and things like that). It can also handle DLNA connections so if you have a media server in your house you can connect and play from that.

In other words this is a budget box (look at the price) designed to compete with the Roku boxes. It is not intended as a replacement for WD's on WD TV Live product line. I notice a lot of people have made that mistake.

Western Digital have been producing these sorts of media players for several years now without much fanfare or attention. That all goes to Apple TV and Roku it seems. But honestly these are as fully featured as either of those and frequently cheaper.

For me this hits a sweet spot in that it has both wireless and wired connectivity (I always want wired and the cheaper boxes usually have one or the other but not both) and while it can't handle network shares, unlike it's big brother, it can handle DLNA. Which means it's very simple to set up a media server via Plex, XMBC etc. and stream your local movies and music that way.

The WD TV Play offers a different and significantly impoved UI over the WD TV Live boxes. One that is reminiscent of current tablet UI design. It's effective and easy to use. Setup is minimal and there's plenty of customization to hide the apps you don't ever use. It also helps that it works with the WD Remote Android app which makes it very easy to control .

There do seem to be a few bugs still mind you. Occasionally it disappears from the network and has to be reconnected and sometimes an app doesn't seem to work quite as intended. These are things that could be fixed easily with an app or firmware update. But as far as actually playing back movies or streaming them is concerned I have had no trouble at all. It doesn't play as large a range of formats as its big brother, but it plays all the most common ones.

Basically it's small and unobtrusive, requires minimal setup, is easy to use and just does what it needs to do. What more do you want for this price? The only significant missing app that I note is the lack of Amazon Instant, which is a shame because that's one of the most popular services.
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Top Contributor: Petson January 2, 2014
Edit: A month (or so?) later. I'm on Amazon right now to purchase a Roku 3. The remote on this is horrible. The laggy UI is downright painful. It's just cheap. Cheap crap. If you're in the market for one of these, a very frivolous commodity, then you have the money to purchase something that's not, flat out, just a piece of cheap crap. Get a Roku 3 or some other device that may cost more, but won't make you want to toss the remote through your TV.

And since I didn't discuss it in my initial review, the android app that controls the device as a remote? Worse than the actual device. I'm talking 15 second lag. If you're lucky.

Initial Review:
The UI on this thing is atrocious. I say that not because I'm a snob that thinks all UIs should look alike, but because it's horribly, horribly, horribly laggy. You hit a directional to move the cursor and there's always between a 1sec-3sec delay. Going from the home screen to being inside of a stream on Netflix takes upwards of 2 minutes between the loading screens -- and no, I'm not including the buffering.

Now, that said, it does exactly what I want it to do. It acts as a near perfect XBMC extender (through DLNA). It plays everything from my DivX to my mkv just fine. Once Netflix is loaded, it streams it in perfect HD as well. (Which is why the lag is so frustrating, if it has the power to decode 1080p files, it can handle a simple UI -- it's just sloppy, unmotivated coding causing the lag).

So four stars. It's cheap. Cheaper than a Chromecast, and can do much more (DLNA). If you're looking for a very low cost device to act as an extender to your main XBMC HTPC, this will do exactly what you're looking for. Just go in to it knowing the UI is a nightmare.
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on December 24, 2013
 After owning and amazed by how good my old WDTV was, I decided to upgrade to the WDTV Media Play (and gave the old one to my sister) with a built-in Wifi. It was a big disappointment. The Wifi part of WDTV is way behind of the competition. Perhaps I am spoiled by how smooth and less problematic my Roku and AppleTV are, but WDTV needs to put their act together.

The big three for me is Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube. So far, the only thing I can think of that has all three are Sony and Tivo. I don't have Tivo and you have to spend at least close to 100$ to get a Sony media box. WDTV still has Amazon video missing in their line-up.

- plays almost anything you can throw on it including MKBs that I have a lot

- despicable remote control layout. One of the most used button is the Back button and it is located next to the power off button; they are also identical in size. Worst experience if you are watching on a projector which is completely dark and you want to go back once and you accidentally turn off the WDTV box $%%(*)+*%$^& - Annoying as heck.
- horrible interface
- laggy. YouTube pauses at least 2 seconds for each button press to switch from one mode to another.

The only thing preventing me from returning this is its ability to play on a USB external drive.
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on February 6, 2014
With my Roku model 2100x starting to give me problems I thought I might try a different device and save some money in the process. At $40 the WDTV Play was an easy choice. Here are some of my observations from the installation.

Installation was easy to follow and worked just fine.

There are only 33 apps compared to the hundreds on Roku. I particularly miss my tech shows - Revision3, TWIT and CNET. I also will be missing my Ted network, so there are some compromises with this device. It also doesn't have Amazon Instant Video which for some people would be a deal-breaker.

This unit does have YouTube which my older Roku doesn't have so that's a nice feature. You can do a search and find the missing shows that you would like to watch. The newer Rokus do have YouTube.

The USB port not only will show pictures and videos, but will also allow you to plug in a keyboard which will help in searching in YouTube.

There is also an app you can install which will help control your device - WD TV Remote. I might use this for searching in YouTube.

It also has DNLA support which the older Roku doesn't have either, but the newer Rokus do have.

It also has an on/off switch which I like. Rokus don't have this and are always on. I don't know if that is a factor in my unit acting up, but I like being able to turn off a device if I'm not using it.

The remote seems like you have to push on the keys a bit too much to make your choices. It's not a big deal, but just a minor thing.

If your budget is tight and you can live with fewer apps, then this device will be perfect for you. If you're willing to spend an extra $60, the Roku 3 will give you many more apps and may be a better choice.
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on October 27, 2013
One star only because I could not give it a 0! I say MY BAD! since it was I who made the decision to order this. There must be better choices than this. In fact, my WII was/is better than this. I upgraded from a WII player to this. The WII works better and it is designed for games. NO SUCCESS working with WD Tech Services, even their upper level techy; they just blamed the problems on the streaming company(s). What problems? Font size much too small and sometimes un readable (WII format was easily readible for all streaming we watch AND had a good method for typing in the Search Box); Slow: Often have to unplug it to get it to clear its cache when it FREQUENTLY locks up; pilot light (ON) is just barely noticeable due to its dim light; it is a disappointment since I depended on the positive comments of others when buying it AND it being a 'world class' company with competent engineers; and typing in their Search Box is a pain, which WD must have realized since they suggest using your smart phone instead of their Remote. Big waste of my time and money. It is so bad, IMHO, I would neither resell it to someone nor give it away.
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on November 3, 2013
I really don't understand the negative reviews for this little media player. I think people expect to much. I hooked it up to my hard drive that has about half a TB of movies and TV shows on it and did not see any of the lag with the user interface or the remote that people were talking about. It booted it up fast and moved through the menus with ease. The movies play beautifully. It was also very easy to hook up to my internet router. This little box makes any TV a smart TV. I cannot believe that it was so small! I was hesitant due to the negative reviews but I am totally impressed with this media player. At 40 dollars you can't go wrong. I might have to buy another one for the workout room.


After using this media player for a while I would like to add that as someone stated in another review if you shut off the unit it takes a couple of minutes to boot up. It is probably due to reading the hard drive but really is only a minor inconvienance. The movies and TV shows on my hard drive, about 1/2 TB, are in folders so navigating them is extremely fast. You Tube works great but typing in a search is cumbersome. I have not tried any of the other apps yet.
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on March 21, 2014
I have been using this for the past week or so and it's ok for the price. I also own a WDTV live, which is a much better product if you are planning on streaming media from your computer or server. The WDTV Play requires you to set up a media server(not really that hard but more than i initially wanted to do) or have the media storage connected directly to this device by USB. It will not read a simple network share folder from your computer. It also seems to have problems updating the information from Plex media server but i am not sure if this is the fault of Plex or of this product. It will not play or read certain media file types. See product details for more info.

If you are looking for something to stream Netflix to your TV with then this is a reliable, cheaper alternative to a Roku device. Although, setting up my sister's Roku was much simpler than this. She was even able to do that one herself. I think she would have to call me for help to set up the WDTV Play or the WDTV Live. These are for the more technically minded.

I am relatively happy with tthis product as I'm only using it in my bedroom for netflix and to read media from my media server. Given the chance though, i would spend the extra 40 or 50$ for the WDTV Live which has more options and greater flexibility than the Play does.
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on February 9, 2014
The device streams good, no issues with that but I took off 2 stars as I did not like the UI and the remote app for andriod was breaks every now and then (I know this is more of an app issue, but it was important for me that the app works). The remote is also little difficult to work with. All in all, it streams good but user experience is not very pleasing

If you plan to buy it for yupp tv (like I did), please wait. First of all, yupp tv is the worst service I have ever used. It is not worth even half the price at which it sells and they will make you pay extra $10 just to activate the device. UI for this is 0/5 (extremely confusing, makes you perform repetitive tasks, very difficult to find what you are looking for) for WD TV and the stream freezes for no apparent reason (I switched to netflix and it was streaming without any issues). And on top of this, the money goes in to a black hole as there is no way to get it back if you are dissatisfied with the service.
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on July 24, 2016
After purchasing this product I was excited about the potential of eliminating a PC in my living room... I was wrong, while the product does offer wifi connectivity, plays your photos and home videos in Full-HD 1080p. It is a pain in the butt to use. Audio and Video must be rerouted from the box to the TV then to your sound system. If you use the included cables... you would have to pick HDMI or the proprietary AV cable it comes with... sound becomes a wiring issue.

I have been using for only watching video and pictures that I own (confused?). This product, like many others offer built-in apps that do really nothing for the user, yes if you subscribe to one or more of the paid services it will connect you to them, but the apps really suck and like all smart devices - get abandoned (my only wish is that they use Android apps in their future products). other than that - for $99 it's not worth it if you still have to install a computer in your living room. In the future I am just going to opt for a stick PC (Atom Processor) for the same money and at least get to surf the web. [...]
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on January 13, 2014
I bought this because I've long wanted to have a dedicated media device and didn't necessarily want to upgrade my HDTV to one of those smart ones. Everyone knows about Roku so I thought I'd take a chance at one of its competitors and I must say it's a good choice for all around use.

It comes with apps for Netflix, Hulu Plus, Youtube, Vimeo, Pandora, Tunein Radio, Spotify, Facebook, Accuweather, and several other online services. As stated in the title, missing is Amazon Instant Video (pooh), and they also don't have a web browser app (pooh). The Tunein Radio app continues playing when you go back to the main menu (a must have) and the Accuweather app updates the widget on the screen with current stats. Haven't had much time with the other apps but Youtube and Vimeo work very well although onscreen typing hampers the overall experience. I won't knock it too much really, it's just something to consider with any device that doesn't have dedicated keyboard input. If the unit gets really unresponsive you might have to put up with some lag as it tries to catch up.

I also have a lot of media files stored on several external drives. As soon as I hooked it up I wanted to try my luck at what the unit could play off my drive. It plays about 99% of all my tested media files, mostly avi mp4 and mkv. A few files didn't work but that can be fixed with media conversion software (freemake video converter is a great app).

Overall I'd give it a favorable review for what it does. It brings web-based streaming services to those with non-smart HDTVs, good for the kitchen, kids bedroom, or garage. I just may end up getting a smart tv someday, in which case I know the setup I have now would still be a great solution for one of the other rooms.
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