WD TV Live
The newest version of the WD TV Live streaming media player comes with a variety of new features. Wi-Fi connectivity and a growing range of streaming services will draw a lot of new customers to Western Digital’s media streamers. However, more advanced users will be more interested in the fact that it can support such a wide range of files. But is the WD TV Live worth buying?
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WD TV Live Specs At A Glance
Average Price: $99.99
Size: 4.9 x 3.9 x 1.2
Connection: HDMI, Composite Video
Resolution: Up to 1080p
SD Card Slot: None
USB Ports: 2
Storage Space: None
Internet: Wi-Fi, Ethernet
Web Browser: None
Amazon Video: No
WD TV Live: The Good
Cheap: As far as price goes, you can’t beat the $100 price tag for the WD TV Live. This puts it on a par with rivals like the Roku 2 XS and Apple TV. And you get a huge range of content on this device, too, not to mention the ability to play so many of your own media files (see below).
Wi-Fi: It’s worth noting that the WD TV Live now comes with the ability to connect up to Wi-Fi networks. This was something noticeably lacking from older models. It’s really easy to get set up – just follow the instructions on the screen and enter your Wi-Fi password. This is one feature of the WD TV Live that the WD TV Live hub doesn’t have. Note, however, that they both allow for a wired Ethernet connection.
Selection of Content: Western Digital have gone out of their way to improve content selection since previous versions of this device. There’s an excellent range of streaming services available: Neflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Blockbuster, DailyMotion and CinemaNow. For music lovers you have Spotify, Pandora and a variety of internet radio stations. You can also access Facebook from the device.
This selection is a lot better than many of its rivals are offering, including Apple TV, though one thing users may miss is Amazon Video. Note that, just with any internet streaming box, you will need to subscribe to access a lot of this content.
Format Support: Although many of the features on the WD TV Live are comparable to its main competitors, one thing that makes it stand out against all the rest is the range of supported file formats. This can play pretty much anything you want, which is fantastic for those who already have a lot of content downloaded that they want to transfer to the device. Some of the supported file formats include AAC, FLAC, MKV and DivX.
This makes the WD TV Live to go-to device if you have a large library of digital files already. Devices like Apple TV and the Roku just aren’t suitable for this kind of usage.
DNLA: DLNA certification means that it’s easy to connect your WD TV Live box up with other DLNA certified devices, such as smartphones, tablets and speakers. This makes it easy to share content between different devices without wires: there’s practically no setup involved.
Network Sharing: Of course, not all of our networked devices may have DLNA certification, but that’s no problem because WD TV Live can also share content across devices connected to your home network. Again, this is important for users who have a lot of media on their computer that they’d like to be able to watch on the big screen TV.
User Interface: The WD TV Live is easy to use and sorts through large media collections very well. It also comes with a number of themes should you want to customize the way your menus look.
WD TV Live: The Bad
Remote: Although the remote that comes with the WD TV Live looks good, it has a few problems. Because the buttons are so chunky, it can be difficult to press them quickly, and it isn’t always easy to use the onscreen keyboard. For greater functionality, an external USB keyboard is recommended.
No Built In Hard Drive: Unfortunately, the WD TV Live doesn’t include a built in hard drive. It’s hardly surprising given the price point, which is on a par with Apple TV and Roku who also don’t include hard drives. That said, it would have been useful given the fact that this device can play so much media. For now you’ll simply need to connect storage space through the included USB port, or pay extra for the WD TV Live Hub.
Is WD TV Live Worth Buying?
The newest version of the WD TV Live is Western Digital’s best yet. Although this is a streaming player, like Apple TV and Roku, that can let you watch internet content on your television, it’s also so much more. The fact that it supports so many file formats, and lets you transfer data over your network or using DLNA, makes this the perfect option for those who want a complete media center attached to their home TV. The price tag makes this even better!