Review : WD TV Live

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Here it is. The Western Digital TV Live. This little baby can play your movies, music, photos and even search and watch videos on YouTube.

Many of us have gigabytes if not terabytes worth of movies, music and photos on our computers, sometimes, watching them on the computer is a pain. Back in the old days, you would need to move your computer to the TV and plug the computer into your TV to watch your stuff but not anymore! Simply plug this baby into your router or plug your USB portable hard drive into it, hook the HDMI cable into your 1080p widescreen display and get watching!

  • Score:

    7.5 / 10

  • The Good:

    Slim Design, Easy to use, silent, inexpensive, doesn’t need Windows Media Centre

  • The Bad:

    Video quality could be better, more video formats are needed, no support for itunes

  • Bottom Line:

    Great device for hooking up to your TV and watching your latest videos.

The WD TV Live has been out for quite a while now and has already been succeeded by the WD TV Live Plus, the main difference is that the Plus has support for on-demand netflix and some other premium content, It also has added support for DVD Menu Navigation which means you can rip a DVD onto your media server or USB drive and be able to navigate the menus, something that the WD TV Live lacks.

The supported formats of the WD TV Live are lacking but however, for many users, it’s a perfect format list.

  • Video – AVI (Xvid, AVC, MPEG1/2/4), MPG/MPEG, VOB, MKV (h.264, x.264, AVC, MPEG1/2/4, VC-1), TS/TP/M2T (MPEG1/2/4, AVC, VC-1), MP4/MOV (MPEG4, h.264), M2TS, WMV9
  • Photo – JPEG, GIF, TIF/TIFF, BMP, PNG
  • Audio – MP3, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA, AAC, FLAC, MKA, AIF/AIFF, OGG, Dolby Digital, DTS
  • Playlist – PLS, M3U, WPL
  • Subtitle – SRT, ASS, SSA, SUB, SMI

A good format this supports is MKV which is high quality video, not many media players before the WD TV Live had this.

Connectivity

On the back you will find, A power plug, USB 2.0 port, HDMI, Optical audio, ethernet port, composite A/V and component. This is standard for many of the media players. You will also find another USB port on the side of the device. Both USB ports can be used simultaneously for hard drives, usb memory etc. You can also purchase a separate wireless adapter if you don’t like ethernet.

When connecting to your TV, the WD TV Live has a 3-to-1 connection system for the Component and Composite connections, so you most likely won’t have any of those cables lying around (they are provided).

Software

The interface was extremely easy to navigate, however, it was slow at responding which was a downfall for the device. Upon turning on the device, you where greeted with a line of icons which allowed you to access Videos, Pictures, Music and Settings. When accessing either of the 3 different types of media, you where greeted with more lines of icons and could select the location of the files you wish to view, either on USB, network or on the internet (such as youtube or live365.com). You can then browse the various menu’s to access your files.

Once watching a video, pressing any of the buttons on the controller will bring up a small bar down the bottom of the screen which allows you to forward, rewind, pause, stop etc the video and see the currently location of the playback. The bar goes away after around 5 seconds of no input.

Video quality was nice for viewing really anything, however, other review sites have found alot of things wrong with it. But really, the normal average user won’t notice these things. You can find some more pictures of the navigation and the different features below.

Initial Problems

There was a major problem with the WD TV Live when I received it… It wouldn’t find my Windows Server 2003 server. Which was puzzling because everything else in my house could. After around a week of trolling forums and trying everything, I finally got it to work with a guide for Windows XP. I ended up needing to enable two services on my server. This problem has degraded the niceness of the WD TV Live as it required alot of work to get it to work. It was however working flawlessly with my mac and windows 7.. just not server 03. Which is disappointing.

Conclusion

The WD TV Live is a great TV companion and compact unit for delivering clear HD videos to your lounge room. The WD TV Live offers a range of formats for playing your videos, music and photos. The interface is easy to use, doesn’t require a computer to be bundled with, or doesn’t need Windows Media Centre to operate. This is a fantastic entry level option and is definitely recommended by TECHGEEK.com.au. Thank you to Western Digital and Gap Marketing for providing us with this review unit.

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