Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: WD TV Live Media Player Wi-fi 1080p (Old Version)
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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 October 11, 2011
---------------UPDATE 5/25/2012-------------------
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!
--------------- /Update----------------------------

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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on October 12, 2011
I got this media player elsewhere locally, before Amazon dropped their price. Anyway, the GUI is fine. It's easily navigable, not cluttered at all, presented in a beautiful package, and certainly easy to read. All pluses there. The first videos I attempted to play were 720p mkv files over wireless network (on a 1TB HDD connected to my computer in the basement via USB). After taking a few seconds to gather the first few pictures from the USB--> wireless connected storage device, the WDTV Live streamed the videos seamlessly! I even paused one for like 8 minutes while making dinner, and it resumed with no noticeable glitches, artifacts, or rendering/buffering. The second (and only other) file type I attempted to play was a 1080p TS file I had recorded from my cable box. This took a little bit longer between hitting play and seeing video on the screen, but time was minimal. I want to say no more than 4 or 5 seconds. Again, it had to pull the video from the HDD to the computer via USB, and then again from the computer to the media player over the wireless G network. This video also played flawlessly! No artifacting, no rendering/buffering/, no audio sync issues or dropped frames. It plays video from hella far away on the network beautifully, and resumes from pause just as well! I only have 2 cons listed below:

-The out-of-box immediate software update took EONS! I was waiting for the newest firmware to download for almost 30 minutes.
-The remote control has highly raised rubber buttons that cannot be pressed in fast succession, or must be pressed a little bit harder in order to get signal sent. It's annoying, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. (Also, on this note, there are privately developed remote control apps for both Android and iOS in their respective app stores which may be an alternative for myself or some of you)

In conclusion, the new interface is exactly what I was expecting (if not better) after seeing last years release of the GUI on the hub. This player plays absolutely everything! It even plays items from peripherals on computers 2 floors down in my house wirelessly with very little wait time or visible effort. The price point is fantastic, and the product does not disappoint.
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on January 27, 2012
In my review, I'm going to tell you how you can easily play all of the popular video formats/container formats with the following requirements: WD TV Live WDBHG70000NBK, a PC with adequate storage for your media, and a home network. Scroll down to ::HOW TO:: if you don't want to read my preface, albeit I recommend it for those who are new to all of this, so they have an understanding of the what and why this method, I feel, is the best.

*UPDATE: I changed references to PS3 Media Server to Universal Media Server, as it is a more up to date piece of software, headed by those who contributed to the PS3 Media Server project)

::PREFACE::
It always shocks and pains me whenever I read about people who can't seem to get certain file formats to play natively with their Media Renderer, so they decide to go through the laborious and error prone process of converting and re-encoding all their files into a format that they know will work with their device. Worse yet, they'll write off their otherwise great device as a piece of garbage, switch back to using risky and insane roundabout methods for media playback, or give up on networked home entertainment altogether, without ever getting to experience how great/economical/simple a functional, networked home entertainment setup can be.

I've been running networked home entertainment setups since around 2007, have tested many pieces of software and hardware, and have settled on this one solution that has been able to handle pretty much everything that I've thrown at it for years, with only very minor, albeit acceptable limitations. My setup requires having a networked PC to work as the actual media server which handles all of the processing gruntwork and compatibility issues that you find people moaning about in reviews on the shortcomings of various streaming media devices. While a lot of people desire ultimate simplicity by just having a box connected to the TV and internet, with no mucking about with a PC, this is a flawed methodology, as the variety of DLNA Media Renderers (ie: Xbox360, PS3, WD TV Live, AppleTV, Roku, etc) all have different, hit-and-miss support for various file types, meager, limited and slow onboard storage, and quite often do not have the horsepower to support quality playback of the most demanding files (1080p video playback with a full surround 7.1 channel DTS Audio stream). Others believe they can re-encode their way out of compatibility issues by converting those pesky (in reality, wonderful) .MKVs into .AVI, .TS, or |insert-filetype-here|. Format conversion is probably one of the absolute worst things someone can do, as PROPER video encoding requires a bit of know-how, the right encoding tools, no interruptions and perfect RAM, as even the slightest processing interruption or memory error can cause video and audio artifacts, loss of quality, and/or synching issues. I'm sure you've all come across and downloaded "crappy encodes" or "rips". A good, proper networked home entertainment setup can play just about any file natively, without requiring the user to convert anything. Make the player fit the file, not the other way around (time consuming). By incorporating a PC with the right UPnP media server/playback software, you eliminate the guesswork out of the compatibility, get access to a vast file library on much faster storage, much easier media management, and few worries of performance anxiety, so long as your computer is decently up to speed and has a fast enough network. Essentially, the PC + software does all of the work, while the Media Renderer, like the WD TV, is just the pretty front end that accesses it. In reality, this applies to AND works with many DLNA compliant Media Renderers, not just the WD TV Live...but there are compelling reasons why I have switched to this device.

The WD TV Live caught my eye because it uses very little power, is DLNA compliant, is inexpensive and has a fairly easy to understand interface. I had been previously using my Playstion 3s reliably for years, but as I've had less time for video games, and my wife and I were predominantly using them for Netflix and media server video playback, I could no longer justify their gluttonous power consumption. My original PS3 Fat was consuming a 160W at idle and up to 180W during playback, with the PS3 Slim consuming around 80-90W. It was having a pretty serious effect on my electricity bills. WD TV Live? A scant 6.6W while playing a 1080p video being served by my PC, idles at 5W!! And it functioned just as well as my PS3, with an interface that was a lot more attractive than Sony's XMB (cross media bar).

If you're adequately sold on this product and are interested in getting a great networked home entertainment setup started, continue on!

::HOW TO::

You'll need the following:
- PC running Windows/MacOS/Linux, at least a Core 2 Duo @ 2.4Ghz and 2GB RAM. I recommend Intel i3 2300 or i5 2400, as they have fantastic power consumption:performance ratios. The more HDD space you have, the better.
- Home network. For high end media streaming, nothing beats wired gigabit ethernet. If you worry about cabling, Amazon carries some fantastically discreet flat Cat6 cables here: Cables Unlimited UTP-1800-50W UltraFlat Cat6 Patch Cables (50 feet, White). Wireless is doable, but you must often turn down quality or face ugly stuttering issues. No less than 802.11n (Wireless N)
- A DLNA compliant Media Renderer, aka the WD TV Live WDBHG70000NBK

1: If your PC is going to just be a dedicated media server, remove any and all codecs you may have previously installed. If you are also going to use it regularly and watch video with it, I recommend only having one codec pack installed, such as CCCP codec pack. In many cases where people can't play videos from their computer, it is because they have too many garbage codecs installed over each other.

2: Google and download Universal Media Server for your flavor of OS (I use Win7) and install the latest stable version on the computer hosting your files. Your computer + the media server software will be the brains behind your media streaming experience. It is a wonderfully coded pieces of open source software that can natively stream many video types to a wide variety of devices, including PS3, Xbox360, Boxee, WDTV Live (of course) and many more. It comes with all of the proper encoders to stream natively, or if it has trouble, it can transcode (on the fly video conversion to a compatible format, without damaging the original file) a wide variety of file types. It also supports multiple processors, multiple audio and subtitle tracks, and can read DVD ISOs. There are many options to explore, but for most people, everything works out of the box.

3. Launch Universal Media Server

4. Go to Navigation/Share Settings tab.

5. Add all folders that you would like to access from your WD TV Live

OPTIONAL (These settings have always worked for me, for just about any video, albeit the default out of box settings will work for most)
6. Go to Transcode Settings tab and see "Common Transcode Settings" options. I have mine set to use all cores and only "Remux when audio is AC3..." as the only things checked.
7. In the Transcode Settings tab and "MEncoder" options, I have "Use multiple cores" and "Remux videos with tsMuxer..." as the only things checked
8. In the Transcode Settings tab and "txMuxer" options, I have "Force FPS parsed from FFmpeg" as the only thing checked.

9. Hit the "Save" button on top and "Restart Server"

10. Start your WD TV Live

11. From the Videos tab, select your media source as "Media Server" (this can also be accessed by hitting the red button). You should see the Universal Media Server listed. Select it and start enjoying your collection! If you can't see the Universal Media Server listed as a media source, check your WD TV Live network and workgroup settings and ensure that they match your network. On your PC, ensure that it is "network discoverable" .

:: NOTES & LIMITATIONS ::
- You'll notice an extra "Transcode" folder in all of your video folders. Transcoding, as mentioned before, is a method where the Universal Media Server will convert the video to a compatible format on the fly, without damaging or altering the original file. This is why it is good to have a PC with some horsepower. Transcoding is rarely used, only on the rare occasion that a file doesn't play natively. The folder can be disabled from showing withing PS3 Media Server.
- One HD videos, fast forward or rewind buttons do not work well. Rather, pause the video and jump to specific times. Attempting to fast forward will overflow the memory buffer (HD video uses a lot of bandwidth) and can possibly crash Universal Media Server, resulting in you getting up and restarting the program on your PC. This is the biggest limitation.
- Many videos in containers like MKV support and contain multiple subtitle and audio tracks (different languages, director commentary), use the "Subtitle" and "Audio" buttons to effortlessly switch them.
- The default firmware on the WD TV Live will work just fine, but input response on older firmware is slow. WD frequently improves their product with regular firmware updates that have proven themselves to be beneficial.

:: OTHER THOUGHTS ON WD TV LIVE ::
I'm really happy with my WD TV Live, especially when used in conjunction with great UPnP media server software like Universal Media Server. WD TV Live will work with other UPnP media server software (ie: PS3 Media Server, PlayOn, TVersity, Plex) but I've found Universal Media Server to be the quickest, most lightweight, and most compatible with various video formats. Even without a PC serving media through a UPnP program, the WD TV Live is still a good device. It does natively support an impressive number of video types, but it did struggle with keeping up on some, crashing in one case. This device is a worthy investment for the amount of things you can do and access with it. If you invest a little time in understanding how media streaming works, and how to get the most out of it, you will absolutely love it.

I hope someone will benefit from my mega information dump!
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on October 8, 2011
UPDATE January 30, 2013

Well, a new firmware update just killed my WDTV. It no longer sees my Windows Share even though every other device on my network does (AppleTV, Windows Computers, Mac Computers, etc). My Windows Share does not even appear on the list of Windows Shares. There is a thread on the WD Forums with users having the same issues as well as other issues with this firmware: [...]
In addition phone technical support is useless and rolling back to previous firmwares as suggested does not work either. Everything was working just fine before this latest update and now the unit is useless even after trying to rollback firmware.

Doesn't look like WDTV cares either.
=================================================

This product is a nice upgrade over the previous model since it does add Wifi and a greatly improved GUI. But some of the new features are kind of handicapped.

-The wireless N function of this device is 2.4ghz only. So if you have a 5ghz wireless N network you will be stuck either changing your router settings or using wireless G

-The metadata information only downloads for files that are directly attached to the device through USB not over the network.

-Unable to rate or add favorites for your files or folders over the network, only on directly attached storage.

Overall, still a great product since it plays everything I've thrown at it but could've been much better.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Western Digital has been always been my favorite when it comes to media players for playing plethora of media file formats including regular DVD rips in ISO format with cover-art and beautiful backdrops (which looks superb when up-scaled to 1080p with menu support) also supports Hi-Def MKV with DTS audio, MP4, XVID, AVI, WMV, VOB and MOV and it does a very good job in rendering them on your big screen TV at full 1080p resolution without any problems whatsoever. Picture Quality is excellent. Video Playback is smooth and with Optical Audio link to your Audio receiver you are ready to enjoy true movie experience for everyone in the family.

The new Western Digital WD TV Live Streaming Media Player (Yeah it is a "mouthful" of a product name) reviewed here is the new generation of their media players series and it still is the best one out there in today's market when it comes to playing media files which are local attached to USB ports or streamed via your NAS.

The WD TV Live Streaming Media Player is passively cooled, there is no FAN noise absolutely silent sitting next to your TV and starts instantly and menu is far superior compared to previous generation of WD media players- Mochi (tm) UI interface which was only available on WDTV Live HUB is now ported to this media player and is absolutely gorgeous - Love it!

PROS
[+] Built-in WiFi and connects effortlessly to Internet or Local NAS
[+] Plays almost all types of media files locally (USB) and or via NAS
[+] Improved UI interface compared to previous generation.
[+] Manual or Automatic "Metadata" scraping for all media files.
[+] Beautiful Backdrops and Metadata for all your media files!
[+] Starts instantly, No FAN, No noise, low power consumption
[+] Support USB HUBs for multiple HDD connectivity and also for, USB Keyboard for comfort
[+] Online Firmware updates and online user community is excellent for all WD media players.
[+] Supports Tons of online services like Facebook, Picasa, Pandora, YouTube, Spotify, Shoutcast, Accuweather, Deezer, DailyMotion, Mediafly, Tune-in Radio, some online games etc; also includes premium services like Hulu Plus, Netflix, Blockbuster and Cinemanow.

CONS
[-] Blu-Ray rips(ISOs)takes a long time to start - plays ok - but does not have BD-J menu support
[-] Have some bugs with Netflix streaming service and with respect to HDMI CEC mode.
[-] Media Library function does not work with NAS shares **** See updates Below ****
[-] Some online services like Blockbuster and Cinemanow reports "Cannot play this type of media"

The problems mentioned above are based on Firmware Version 1.03.10 released on 10/6/2011 which are very minor for me; WD has acknowledged these issues and will eventually update the firmware to fix them for sure.

Overall, It is the best player for playing Local Media files attached to USB drives, or NAS shares on your home network. IMHO, The performance and usability of online services are not that great but consider the online services as bonus!

Final thoughts:

It is an excellent product for the price for playing local and streaming media files, I highly recommend it! - for less than $100 dollars it is worth every penny.

*** UPDATE NOV 28 ***
I have been regularly using this media player and it is still going strong, I am loving it. I have recommended this to many of my friends and co-workers, they are also happy with their purchases.

BTW, (**) WD released a new Firmware update version Release 1.04.12 (11/17/2011) wherein this feature of Supporting media library function for network share folders has been added.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Unless you have a Mac (more on that later), the WD TV Live is a good media streaming device; if you plan to rely mostly on internet content, the Roku 2 might be a better choice for you. The WD Live TV streams Netflix, Pandora, YouTube Video and regular YouTube, Spotify, Blockbuster, Flickr, Picasa, TuneIn Radio, Facebook, Accuweather, HuluPlus -- nineteen services in all -- plus video, photos, and music from your PC or USB attached storage device to your TV, up to 1080p HD. In the box, you'll find a remote control, batteries, and composite/RCA cables. You'll have to purchase a high-speed HDMI cable separately.

Set-up is easy. Attach to your TV via composite or HDMI cables, plug it in, and go through the set-up menu. Mine arrived completely in Chinese, making it impossible to do anything, but a quick call to customer service resolved it; I pushed in the reset button, and everything was restored so I could choose my language and proceed. Once I activated the device with my services, I was up and running. So how does this device compare with the competing Roku 2? Both have built-in WiFi, and both do not have their own storage. Both the WD Live and the Roku 2 XS can connect either wirelessly or via ethernet, and both have USB ports. Here's a summary of their individual advantages:

WD Live TV: the main selling point of this device is its ability to stream media available on your home network, which is great as long as you don't want to stream iTunes music and don't want to depend on a Mac as a wireless server (again, more later). It's great to be able to show your photos on your TV or to watch a video stored on your office computer in your family room. You can connect a keyboard via USB to bypass the more difficult hunt-and-peck remote entry, something that the Roku 2 doesn't support. The remote has a "subtitles" key that instantly turns on Netflix closed captions, and you can also set the subtitles from the onscreen menu for the video in question; as of this writing, the Roku 2 is still having issues with Netflix subtitles. And it connects to Netflix slightly faster than my Roku 2 does. The size of the WD TV Live unit is larger than the new Roku 2 (it's the size of the original Roku), although it's still small.

Roku 2 XS: the biggest advantage of the Roku 2 is the ability to stream Amazon VOD, which the WD Live cannot do. If you are one of the people who dropped Netflix streaming in favor of Amazon VOD, read no farther, and buy the Roku. The Roku 2 XS has an accelerometer in the remote for game play, although it remains to be seen whether games other than Angry Birds will become available for it. Another advantage of the Roku 2 is a much larger number of "channels" or internet content providers. Roku customer service assures me that they are working with Netflix on the subtitles issue. The Roku 2 can stream via USB device. Roku 2 XS 1080p Streaming Player

For Mac users: the WD Live TV is picked up by both my iMac and my much older MacBook, both running Snow Leopard; unfortunately, the reverse is not true. When I try to locate the Macs as media servers or connect via Samba or NFS (WiFi), the WD locates only the MacBook. Even then I could not connect, even using my administrative account despite having sharing enabled on both. I have no problem connecting with the PCs, which show up as media servers, on my network. It's possible that my Mac security settings may be interfering; however, connection is hardly as intuitive as it is with a PC. If you own a Mac and want to buy this device, I recommend connecting your home media via an external USB drive. Also, the WD Live TV does not currently support Lion.

For iTunes users: this device is not compatible with iTunes libraries. You'll have to access individual MP3 files from your directory or folders.

If you own a PC filled with media and wish to use only the major internet streaming services (with the exception of Amazon VOD), this is a fine device. If you want to watch Amazon Video On Demand or have access to more internet content, albeit it mostly paid subscriptions, then the Roku 2 is better. If most of your media will be connected via external USB drive, then either will work.

-- Debbie Lee Wesselmann
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on March 6, 2012
I have the latest firmware Feb-2012.
The device keeps reboot with no reason and and it compiles the media library for hours.
In addition, it is inconvenient to share a storage device with older WD devices because they use a different thumbnails format and their own thumbnail-related bugs that WD refuse to fix (I asked their support team about it).
BTW, WD support do not respond to these complains in their own forum :-(
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on September 6, 2012
I previously had the Western Digital WD TV Live Plus 1080p HD Media Player that I just gave to my sister. We used it to play movies and tv off a portable hard drive. Well I decided to upgrade our home network and I needed a more updated set top box. The choices were between the Boxee Box, WD TV Live SMP or Roku. Well Roku cant connect to windows 7 shares so I dropped that, and Boxee costs too darn much and has yet to release a firmware that is stable. So like a good brand loyal consumer I stuck with WD. And let me say WD came through like a champ!

Let me describe my current home network. I have a Seagate Expansion 3 TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive STBV3000100 hooked up with about 1.6 tb of movies and TV stored on it. I use Windows 7 to share the drive with my WD TV Live SMP that is hooked up to my LG 50PA4500 50-Inch 720p 600 Hz Plasma HDTV. My ATT(the internet monopoly in Atlanta) connection is about 6 mbps on uverse. After I loaded up my hard drive with all my movies/tv and metadata I connected it to my WD over wifi. It streams every file format, any hd quality, and any size FLAWLESSLY! Its like butta. I never experience a dropped connection. If this is what you need the WD for then GET IT.

Now for the nuanced pros and cons:
1. Once you get the WD setup and going it has a stand by feature. Meaning you can turn it off but every time you turn it on its up and ready in 2 seconds. Thats not an exaggeration. As soon as you hit the power button you go straight to what you want with no loading.
2. The remote. The remote is streets ahead (i love Community) of the previous small remotes. HOWEVER, its not the best. The feel of the buttons are good however when to get the best performance you must point the remote directly at the box. Also on the remote is a keypad. Ala the old cell phone clamshells/bars we all used to have. The thing is is that Ive had a touch screen phone for so long that i barely know how to enter words fast on this keypad. So i just use the on screen keyboard with the remote arrows and select button. Its slower but its how i do.
3. We also use Netflix for the Kids. The netflix app is slow to start up. It takes a good minute to get from selecting the Netflix app to selecting a movie to watch. Not enough time to get frustrated but enough time to grab a bag of popcorn and settle in. But once you get inside the app and play a movie the quality is solid. The videos play without shudder and are cable quality. I think its mainly about your internet connection though.
4. With my home network setup its fine for people to surf the internet while im streaming from my hard drive, but if you are downloading movies at high download rates things get slow. Editing files from the same location on the hard drive that your movies are on is guaranteed to stop your WD in its tracks. It wont freeze the box or force a reset, but your video will crawl to a halt. So I suggest doing this when no one is using the box.
5. The WD interface. Its a nice look. Beautiful horizons and nice bright colors. There is no lag. When I press the Videos tab it goes straight into my shared hard drive and shows all my metadata and movies perfectly.
6. The app. The app is basically the remote control but on your phone. I have to say it works. Its faster more responsive and less cumbersome than the actual remote. I find myself using the app more often than the physical remote.

Conclusion:
The reason why I say WD is like the Android of players is because its more advanced than the average player. Its got all these features and abilities that for many people can be overwhelming if you don't have a millennial or a tech savy family member to get it setup for you. I think Roku is definitely more like Apple. It has a a few features that it does exceptionally well and looks good doing it. If you want something simple that plays netflix, Hulu, and a few file formats flawlessly go with Roku.

If you are looking for a box that can stream any file, is highly customizable and accommodates all your data and plays Netflix well go with WD. I am more than happy with my purchase. The $80 is high but initially but its worth it. (Ok its worth it;l but if the price was $69 I would have bought 2) I love this device!

PS get aMediabridge Ultra Series - High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet - (6 Feet) - Category 2 Certified - Supports 3D & Audio Return Channel [Latest HDMI Version Available] from Amazon.

09/07/2012 ****************************UPDATE********************************
Today I had a firmware upgrade to Firmware:1.11.14. And about 5 hours later I experienced my first device freeze. I had to remove the power cord from the box and turn it back on that way. Everything seems to be working fine now though. Ill take it as a one off happening. I was in netflix when it froze up btw.

09/12/2012 ****************************UPDATE********************************
I streamed a 1080p version of a movie that was 12gb. It streamed flawlessly. I also had another device freeze today. It was again in Netflix. So I will now believe that with the last firmware upgrade the Netflix app is a bit unstable.

09/16/2012 ****************************UPDATE********************************
IDK what Firmware:1.11.14 did to this box but it needs to stop. Ever since I upgraded to this particular firmware I have experienced device freezes in Netflix and when playing movies from my Windows Shares. Im so disappointed. I actually contemplated getting a Boxee Box today. This device was perfect when i got it. But now after 1.11.14 im always being disappointing. It pains me to change my 5 star rating to 3 but unless the performance of this device changes my rating will not.

09/17/2012 ****************************UPDATE********************************
I rolled back my WD to firmware 1.10.13. Everything is back to normal. No more lag and no more Netflix freezes. Ive decided to give it 4 stars now.

09/25/2012 ****************************UPDATE********************************
Went back to firmware 1.11.14. It has seemed to level out. No performance issues.
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on October 21, 2011
Just got this player this week and I'm more than happy with it.(And much more important my wife is too.) I had a roku player in my bedroom because of the integrated WLan. But ROKU was and still is not willing to allow you playing movies from your network that are AVI or DIVX formated. They are 100% Netflixed! So I waited a long time for the Western Digital Player with integrated WLan. And it just works like it should. Installed in minutes, updated the software within 30 minutes and it really plays everything I have stored on my NAS Server or laptop. The menu is easy to handle and the wireless connection (about 18 feet in my case) is stable. No reconnecting every evening like with the roku player. I would propose a few fixes with the menu the way to set up your favorites (only possible with cable connected source). But it is for sure the best media player in this price range you can get 2011.
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