Bye bye WDTV, hello Chromecast!

Today Spotify didn’t work anymore. All my starred numbers dissapeared and all my playlists became incomplete.
After many years nothing but troubles, I have had it with WDTV!
Luckely I have two, so I can burn one down and use an hatchet for the other.

Keep on sleeping WDTV employees!

I will buy Google products and shame on you!

This was the very best streamer once and you killed it!

My two WDTVs have been working fine for years. I also have a Chromecast, it does not even come close to substituting for a WDTV. Also have a FireTV stick, and it does come close to equaling a WDTV, IF the Kodi app is installed on it.

What’s the problem with your WDTV?

Like I said, it makes a mess of Spotify. I agree, on paper the WDTV is the best streamer ever. Alas, in practice there are so many bugs, and a total lack of support from WD, that this box gives you nothing but annoyance.
And when looking at the Spotify interface IOS, Android or Windows gives us, it is not hard to see that the WDTV interface is very, very outdated, to say the least.
But it is not only Spotify, this box is full of bugs…
When reading the countless threads in this forum about bugs, problems etc., you can only have one conclusion.
This is a sad day for me, because I liked the WDTV very much.

WD changed their streamer, once the best money could buy, into garbage. All that remains is a box full of bugs. Isn’t that sad?

The WDTV players also dissapeared from the WDTV site, so they decided to let it die silently without any official statements. Very unprofessional!

I wish they could put WDTV through a redesign, from the ground up. Just, basically, consolidate what the unit provides, with increased reliability to inspire confidence. This would come at a price but, hey, it’s too cheap anyway, and I think if they went for it they could take a great new model to the market at double the previous price. I think that’s what we’re looking at here. A metal casing for starters, but basically a redesign - which improves the interface (which I like, but it is too basic). WDTV consumers’ interest can be tapped into, it’s a ready made asset, if WD play it right and invest plenty into a newer model.

Like Mike, I have been lucky with mine on the whole, it has behaved well for a long time now, after some glitches early on. Many WDTV customers are fans of the unit, and given a chance, I believe plenty of them would run loyally to a new unit if WD relaunched the best streamer there is, working as it should, and would hardly baulk if the price was double, but it reflected improved reliability. These are status items when done right and surely WD have a good starting position to build from, rather than letting their potentially great streamer die a slow death.

I totally agree and hope WD will do so; then I will be the first to buy one!
Mine worked fine the first 2 years, buth then 3 years nothing but trouble and bugs and lack of support from WD. Now Spotify also gives up. My favorites are all gone, many playlists are, and everything is a big mess. Spotify acts just perfect on my Android, IOS and Windows 10 devices.
So I really had it with WDTV by now.

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I just finished installing my 3rd Amazon Fire TV Stick on a TV tonight, Got it on sale last month for $10 off – just cost $30 (US). A good buy, on or off, sale. It’s the new model with Alexa Voice Remote – same price as previous model. What makes these things special (other than what it can do right out of the box} is that it can easily be turned into an excellent media player like a WDTV. It can be a replacement, an alternative to them, (or just to give the WDTV “a rest” so it lasts longer).

All that needs to be done is install the free Kodi Android app on the Fire TV. After doing it now on three TVs, I have streamlined the install. After the install, all that needs to be done is link it to you media files within Kodi on a WD My Cloud or any NAS. All my music is available, and videos, too – It plays mp4, of course, but it also plays ISO, MKV videos – and without video issues, like jitter, drop outs, stalling, even if MKV video came from a blu-ray. I have not played any videos that present any major challenges yet.

A Fire TV running Kodi is a must have, and VERY affordable device if one has media stored on a NAS like any of the My Clouds.

Kodi is also made for cable-cutters because of the many add-ons available. I have not installed any yet, since I am not a cable cutter, but I plan to try some soon; just to see what’s out there.

Can it play Dolby and DTS ?

Thank you Mike. I’ve got that and will remember because I’m streaming from a regular external drive for now (WD Elements 3tb) and have not yet moved to a NAS. I don’t doubt any of what you say re Fire Stick and Kodi, I have seen you describe it and how it works on here in the past. A bit worried just now noticing that Amazon have a book for sale (written by a third party not an Amazon itself book) namely: “How to install Kodi on a Firestick.” That - even if erroneously, inclines one to think installing Kodi on a Firestick is a complicated business. (And even if it were to be so, I wouldn’t be put off personally, besides, second-hand, the book’s there for £2.50 anyway).
I’m all wired and like it like that. Presumably, even a Firestick/Kodi setup can be all wired?
I’m streaming HD rips of Blu-rays fine right now with WDTV, and have always done so. I’m mp4 throughout, and music, uncompressed wav, and WDTV has had no problems.
I do not know what cable-cutter relates to. Is it a new term, like ‘snowflake’ or ‘alt-right’ ? (Heh,heh, that’s me being silly, but I don’t know what cable-cutter means tho’).

Yes, Fire TV and Kodi use Dolby; not sure it has DTS, but specs for each are published.

A cable cutter is someone who has discontinued cable TV, mostly because it is “too expensive”. (So they then may subscribe to streaming services that cost, too.) We still keep our cable service, because we get anything we want; especially live sports and favorite TV shows and it is more convenient, the new cable service’s “” has great features for viewing content on tablets today, and the quality is the best; much better than stuff elsewhere.

“How to” books for Kodi look interesting, and many of the digital versions are free for Prime members, so I will d/l a few.

I am having some issues with either the new Fire TV or install of Kodi. Additionally, after the Fire TV was silent for a couple of hours, went I turned it back on and the main menu had a very different look (likely the device firmware got an OTA update.) So, not sure where problem lies. Issue is while Kodi is playing, there is a small circle on right side of screen containing an image of what is playing whether it is music or video. Problem is, encircled image does not go away, although it does change if file next played changes the image. Must be a Kodi-thing, but even more frustrating is it does not go away when Kodi is shut off properly. Worse yet,when I go back to the Fire TV Home screen it is still there! Only way to remove it was to reboot the Fire TV. It came back and stayed as before when I played from Kodi again. This time, I just left Fire TV on Home screen and turned off TV. When I turned TV on an hour later the image was gone from Home screen, Weird. I will likely delete and reinstall Kodi to see what happens. It is the same version as is on the other two FIre TVs.

And, to be clear about what I said earlier, the Fire TV streaming quality is not quite that of a WDTV, but it is very acceptable and a decent sub for a WDTV; especially at its price with free Kodi app… BTW, the Fire TVis a wireless device only, so I run it on the 5G signal and I have premium broadband service of 100Mbps service. So, no wireless issues. (My WDTV is wired into network).

Update on my above issue. Not saying just yet I have it fixed, but it looks promising. Yea, and it’s weird, too.

OK, so I completely uninstalled Kodi from Fire stick, and reinstalled it. and soon as it booted up I saw that darn little circle on the menu screen of Kodi, BUT, I had done nothing to use Kodi yet to cause it, and I noticed the circle had an icon in that was an icon of an SD card! Well, Kodi has to be downloaded and installed by the app I installed in FireTV called ES File Explorer, and it contains icons of SD cards in it.

So, I immediately started pointing at ESFE, and decided to uninstall it right away, and then the little circle with SD icon was gone, and stayed gone from the screen when I looked at all the places it had been at before. Apparently, there is a bug in the latest version of ESFE I had to also install in the new FireTV stick. Like I said, weird. I won’t install ES again until I need it again, and immediately uninstall it if the next version I get still has the bug. Versions on my other two Fire sticks did not exhibit any of these issues.

So, all is well at the moment. I did link to my music folder with Kodi and play some tracks. No little circle on screen so far. I will link to my video folders next, and feel confident that there will be no problems now…

I’m with you on that, with the problems you’ve just described, and thanks for answering my questions. If I could get a free pass I do think I could happily go on with my beloved WDTV forever.

The problems you describe with the (app-generated) circle, sound hair raising to me. Very disturbing I’m sure, to see that. Great that the SD card logo gave the game away though.

Do excuse me Mike, but having seen the help you have given others on here, and the Kodi circle annoyance you’ve just had (and fixed, hopefully), makes it seem to me it’s almost like you’re fated to surf the curve of what is not known so that later, others can benefit from what you have learned!

I think there’s no percentage in being defeated by such things, from my standpoint now with WDTV, without my own will to win (and I’m not kidding about that) and equally with the help available on here, and last but not least, google, I do believe I’ve reached a place with my WDTV where I do not worry anymore, trusting and hoping that whatever difficulties I experience it will only be ones I have had before, the devil you know, as it were.

My own private grief is little indeed, the only annoyance I get being “sharing” shutting down regularly, but infrequently. I don’t want to minimise this problem, as soon as I see it (it happens voluntarily) I think two things. First (having become a minor WDTV geek), I know I can fix it, and second, know the grief of fixing it will likely take a minimum of an hour. The fault originates in Windows, not the WDTV, but when fixed in Windows, WDTV will have developed into not recognising sharing. In short, it’s a reiteration loop that has to be gone through repeatedly before the stream, and the streamed-to, are talking to each other again as they should. The inevitability of it happening is the frustrating part, if I could identify the initiating factor (in Windows) I would, but it isn’t possible for me to do that. I do know even regular, successful Windows updates have caused it to occur, but they are not usually or necessarily, the cause.

The good is that my WDTV, working right, almost all of the time, is a beautiful thing in my eyes. Yes, I know nothing else quite matches the streaming quality and that has been attested to on here a lot.

I would be surprised if all of this has not changed in the next number of years because this streaming is a billion-persons thing, it’s all there to be played for and won, as it were. And I think certainly WD will know more about this being true than we. And perhaps even know that their WDTV as it stands, great or otherwise, is not going to be the answer going into the white-hot future. It’s probably that they have to choose whether to invest in the development of a new model of the product big-time, or cut it loose. I would like them to succeed however, and send any rats scuttling away from WDTV’s chequered past, and create a foolproof and friendly streaming unit suitable even for dummies, from their hard earned old WDTV experience, if possible. And I root for WD to do it because only they got it right in the main thing that matters in the view of most of the sophisticates on here, namely, VIEWED QUALITY!

And now with 4K arriving to confound existing streaming models, I would imagine there would have to be a new WDTV as we speak. I’m sure WD at the highest level realise all this and more, and probably cannot make a determination for reasons stated. We (WDTV users) are in a strange place where I’m sure, there’s a change of epoch. (I don’t feel in any 4K hurry, but I expect that will change). Certainly I think WD aren’t going to invest in bringing to the market a new, 4K-less product.

Back to my topic: in the mean time my Google Chromecast Audio was delivered!
I bought this little box especially for streaming Spotify.
And boy, the Chromecast audio excels in this! Installation is a breeze and connected optically to my receiver the sound quality is astonishing good!

The interface? After the WDTV I am in heaven!

To sum up my Kodi issue. . . .it’s fixed. Problem was definitely coming from ES File Explorer app on Fire TV.

The Chromecast. Nice that it came right away and you like it’s sound. I would imagine optical audio connection doesn’t help Internet sound a whole lot, because it is usually FM quality and not CD quality often.

Internet music is about the same on any decent and modern device. All the device does is connect the router directly to a URL where the digital music comes from; it’s not really playing it, the source is. Lots of devices today can stream Spotify (as well as other services), and they all work the same basic way.

For example, I have a houseful of Amazon Alexa devices, including the affordable Dot. All Alexa devices can stream not only Spotify, but Pandora, iHeartRadio and TuneIn. The Dot is unique because it has an analog audio output that I plug into my stereo. It also can receive or send music via Bluetooth as well. Additionally, it has all of the cool Alexa voice features for what you likely spent for the Chromecast. Look into getting one of these gadgets next.

Hi Mike,

Have been using WDTV Live player attached to a My Passport WD drive for about 3 years now. Apart from a few glitches, I have had no problems at all.

One of the aspects I enjoy about this set up (Player + HD) is that it is not network stream or paid-service dependent. By that I mean, I am not required to use the network to watch or play my media (except when I first transfer the content to the drive), and I can access the majority of internet tv services without a paid subscription

Recently, however, things have been acting up, little things, but the little things add up!! With no updates or further support from the manufacturer, I can read the writing on the wall. I am not giving up yet on the player, by any measure, but I did begin looking into alternatives, including the fire tv stick and android media box players with Kodi.

My question is this: Can I install and run Kodi on my hard drive that is attached to WDTV Live Player? It seems like I should be able to, after all, “downloads” is one of the application/service features on the player (Gen3)… (It does say you can use custom apps, it does not provide the skills to code and configure those apps…)

But then, duh, doesn’t Kodi run on android? Or no wait! Wasn’t Kodi’s precursor XMBC (or whatever) open source?

Okay, now I am definitely a little confused, and you seem like you know what you are doing here, so I thought I would ask you. To clarify, I actually have two questions:

(1) Can I install Kodi and run it from my hard drive that is attached to the player? If so, what are the software requirements? And what would you recommend installation wise?

(2) What do you recommend, hardware wise, that would more or less accomplish what my current set up does? (Using a physical hard drive (not a pc) attached directly to the player)*.

That was definitely more than two questions, but if I may expand on the software issue while I am at it.

(3). In terms of software, are there other open source alternatives besides Kodi? I like some of the add-ons, but most I could do without, and, it seems like many of the add-ons that do offer content stream them directly. Again, thoughts, comments or recommendations for installation? How about running the software? Any hardware/software compatability issues I should be aware of?

Thanks you in advance for your advice or input!

Nicole

*(By way of explanation) My Wi Fi connection can be spotty at times, and this makes for serious annoyance when trying to watch a show.

The google Chromecast audio also has lots of music apps on board, such as Deezer or TuneIn. When you stream Spotify, you stream from the Spotify server indeed.
The format is Ogg Vorbis. This can be compared with mp3. Since I have a Premium subscription, I can stream at 320 kbps. That quality is that good, I can’t hear any difference between when playing from a CD.
I connected chromecast with an optical cable, since I want to use the internal DAC from my receiver. But the Chromecast Audio has a very good 24/96 DAC on board also.
As soon as you start to stream Spotify from your smartphone ot tablet, you can choose for Chromecast. From that moment on, the Chromecast device takes the streaming over, meaning that your batteries won’t be dragged down and you can use your phone or tablet for all kinds of other tasks when streaming spotify.
You don’t want Bluetooth because it has a very short range, won’t allow you streaming and other tasks at the same time and it will eat your batteries.
You can connect Chromecast audio also analogue.
There also is an ethernet adapter available for a wired connection when your wifi is bad.
You can also set-up multi room systems.
I think that if you want to stream Spotify, Google Chromecast Audio is a bargain for the $40,- it costs. No need for another device!

Btw: what do you think of the new Chromecast ultra?

Nicole,

I will try to help you but you will need to do some homework yourself as well.

This is what I know about Kodi. It is a free media processing, and serving app that needs to be installed in a processing device, such as a computer or computer-like device. It cannot be installed on a hard drive, because a hard drive is just a data storage device, not a data processing device. If you go to the main Kodi site at kodi.tv you can learn more about it and see that there are apps and programs for it to run on certain Android devices as well as computer devices like Windows and Apple computers. I first learned about Kodi from people more savvy than I am about these things. They were installing it on various Android boxes and players like Raspberry Pi and even Fire TV sticks as all are computer-like devices, i.e., they contain powerful processor chips that can crunch data well enough to deal with the demands of video files.

I did not get a Fire TV so I could get the newest gadget at the time (my wife got it for me) My first thought was why do we need this, since we have Comcast cable, a WDTV and a Roku, etc? But, I discovered that it, like the other gadgets, had their own unique features, One being it could have an app called XBMC, (later tweaked to become Kodi.) and it could be a media player like WDTV in many ways. So, I had to figure out how to do this and I found videos on YouTube. Some were helpful, some were not, and some knew what they were doing and others not. One I found seemed very useful. I used it to install Kodi and got my media files stored on my network sources linked to Kodi and could play that media on the Fire TV. It works well enough that I installed it on a second Fire TV that did not have a WDTV attached to a TV, and in this thread above I explained how I had issues installing it on a third Fire TV, and had some nasty issue that I troubleshot and figured out. One of my better skills is troubleshooting, because I know lots of ways to lick Murphy’s Law (i.e. If something can go wrong, it will.)

Otherwise, I don’t know much else about Kodi other than I can get it to work where it was not designed to work, and I can usually figure out how to get through any problems doing so. I do know there are lots of add-ons, but I don’t need most of them, so I have not dealt with them yet, but I might in the future. It sounds like you have heard of some, too. I have no desire for something better than a Fire TV running Kodi as a supplement and possible substitute for my WDTV. I mentioned Rasberry Pi as an alternative and other various Android boxes people use. But, I am just not that “geeky” to want to build a media player around them. I just want something ready-made, like a WDTV, or FireTV that I can setup, configure and use, and possibly hot rod in some significant way to improve its performance.

You mentioned you have dodgy internet. Well, as I got more into the home network and remote video streaming a few years ago, (credit the WDTV) I quickly learned I needed to beef up (dump) the G model router and get an N style, dual band gigabit router, and a better modem for the home network. For media on the internet, I needed more bandwidth speed and eventually worked up to having 100Mbps speed. I have a wired for network home with 4 rooms with ethernet wall outlets. and gigabit switches there so more than one gadget can be connected at each outlet, and topped off with some range extenders for problem wi-fi areas. Only then does video streaming around the house and movies on tablets anywhere in house become a real good experience.

Nicole, I think I addressed most of your questions, and if you need more help let me know. I said at the onset you will need to do more homework. I see you have done more than most, and Google is your friend in this task so just look up and learn all you can so you can get a deeper understanding of this stuff and you can put a system together in the best way you can. Even though my early first career was training and working in electronics was a great start, I have learned so much more since then from using the internet sources that are around today.

Was glad to assist, Mike

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