Comparison between Gen1 and Gen3 WD Media Players - users perspective

Hi guys,

I have had the very first WD Media Player Live (Gen1, 2008, WDBAAP0000NBK) for years. Very happy with it.

However, it has started to have problems with recognizing large external hard drives, I guess the USB ports are just worn out from constant connect/disconnect.

So I bought the WD TV Live Streaming, Generation 3, updated to the latest firmware (1.15.10), plugged in my old hard drives and here is what I experienced.

Note: I don’t use any streaming or online services, all my media are on external hard drives.

Note2: I see myself as experienced Windows power user, so you can assume that any problem reported here has been thoroughly investigated and researched using online forums (such as this one, great job guys, btw).

  1. No USB3? Come on, it is 2013.

  2. No USB HUB functionality? I have more than 2 hard drives and it would be nice to be able to connect more than two at the same time.

  3. Media Library took ages to compile so I turned it off as I have all my files properly categorized on the file system

  4. Absolutely dreadful responsive times Remote Button Press -> WD TV Live Streaming Device.

Seriously, even with the newest firmware, when I press stop during movie playback, it takes the device up to 3(!) seconds to react!

Needless to say, even navigating through the home menu is delayed. Gen 1 was lighting fast and I cannot understand why this new version is soo sluggish??

Pressing ‘options’ during playback, forwarding, pause/resume are another examples.

Is the device running some background threads/tasks constantly or what could be the cause of this?

Please WD do something about this.

  1. Hibernate? What kind of idea is this? If I want to turn off the device, it should be turned off and not just hibernate. This option keeps the hard drives powered up and therefore consuming more power.

  2. So, when I want to turn it off, I have to press the ‘turn off/turn on’ button for 5 seconds. Fair enough. Only when I do that then:

6.a. The device looses its video resolution settings and goes back to default 720p/50Hz. So I have to set it up EVERY time I turn the device on. Very annoying.

This is already reported to WD and is in ‘under investigation’ status. Added my comment there so hopefully it will get resolved soon.

6b. Device looses the playback position of last played movie. Also annoying.

  1. Boot up time. Even with the media library off, I was hoping that the device would boot up faster than Gen 1. Not the case here. With the same 3 TB external HDD and 2 TB external HDD , after PROPER shutdown, it takes the device at least 3 minutes to be up and operational with both drives accessible. How about an option to disable the indexing so the device would use the previously indexed information?

8.TS format playback worse. With the same TS file, the playback is stuttering on the Gen 3, as if the time index/frame rate  entries were not correctly interpreted. The only solution is to remux/reencode into MKV to avoid the annoying ‘faster frame rate’ - ‘slower frame rate’  - ‘faster frame rate’ effect.

  1. Subtitle position. Why can’t I have the subtitles at the very bottom of the screen as it was with Gen 1? Now, with wide format when the movie isn’t full screen, the subtitles are obscuring part of the picture when they could be at the very bottom, covering the unused black space. How about an option to enable/disable this?

And now some positive feedback.

  1. DVD/BluRay menu for ISO files. Great addition, thank you WD.

  2. Windows shares finally work (sort of).

  3. Wireless connectivity.

  4. Menu looks nicer.

  5. Better remote.

  6. Better navigation and usability when/during music playback

Ok, that is about all I could think of right now, might add more later.

Would appreciate if people could comment on my observations, maybe I am too demanding?

But as I already mentioned, this is a direct comparison with the Gen 1 player, not just my own subjective observation.

best regards


  1.  Why would it need USB3?  No streaming media possibly needs more than USB 2.0 speed even.  The Gen3, btw, was released in 2011, not 2013.  

  2.  USB Hubs ARE supported.

  3.  The Gen1 also did this…  But either way, your hard disks should go to sleep when in standby as long as nothing on your network is using them… 

  4. Not sure why that would be happening…  I leave mine set to AUTO and it always comes up correctly.

  5. That’s what standby is for.  You can’t have it both ways… :wink:  If you’ve disabled media library, there’s nothing to index.  If it’s taking several minutes to mount your drives, it’s probably because it’s scanning for errors after an incorrect shutdown. If you do a forced shutdown, you have to EJECT the drives first…

  6. Not sure what that issue is.  All of my BD rips are TS files and they play fine…

  7. Subtitle position is adjustable via the menu for all text-based subtitles.  I know VOBSUB isn’t adjustable (but nor should it be, because position is part of the format).  Not sure about PGS subs.

  8.  BD menus are NOT supported.  Not sure what you’re referring to there.  And DVD menus have been supported on the Gen1 for years.

Hi Tony,

Thank you for your response.

Here are my notes:

  1. What if I want to write data onto the drive when connected to the device? In this case, USB 3.0 is way faster than USB 2.0. Also moving data between two (or more) drives attached would be faster.

Maybe even building of Media Library would benefit from the higher bandwidth?

  1. Ok, I will test this again, thanks.

  2. No it didn’t. When I pressed the turn off button it would immediately switch itself off and turn off any attached hard drive.

Furthermore, the drives go to standby, which isn’t the same as when turned off. After hibernate shutdown of the device, the drive was spinning at low speed all night, before I realised I need to do a proper shutdown.

  1. I don’t know what you mean by incorrect shutdown. I always shutdown the device the same way, pressing the turn off button for 5 seconds. How do I find out if the shutdown wasn’t performed incorrectly?

  2. Thanks for the tip, now I found it! :slight_smile:

  3. I stand corrected, I only tested with DVD ISO and wrongly assumed the BD menus work as well.


  1.  But the CPU isn’t nearly fast enough to even drive USB2.0 speeds, let alone USB3.0…  Without a fast (expensive) CPU, faster USB ports would be wasted expense (or a marketting gimmick)

  2. I’ve got two Gen1’s plugged in right now.  Both are “off,” but they’re still pingable on the network (ethernet ports are still up and drives are still accessible via the network)

  3. If you’re not ejecting your HD’s before you do that, then that’s an “impropper” shutdown.  It’s the same thing as if you power off your PC by pressing the power button for severa seconds – the drives can get corrupted.

EDIT:   Oops, I just realized you’re comparing to the *OLD* WDTV HD Gen1, not the WDTV Live Gen 1.  #5 and #10 are moot.  :)

  1. Yes, that might be the reason why there isn’t USB 3.0

  2. I have now tested with ejecting the drives before doing a proper shutdown - the boot up time was the same.

Sorry about the confusion, I added the product number to the first post to make it clear which model I am comparing to :slight_smile:


  1. Other than the annoying animation you get when selecting a menu item, my SMP reacts quite fast. I’ve wrote this before: a friend of mine had sluggish UI and lockups that stopped when he swapped his expensive HDMI cable to a non-brand one. No gurantees.

  2. Let’s see how many people vote on this. Personally I’m also always on AUTO.

  3. Usually TS has less problems than MKV. Depending on a file’s FPS you’d need to be on AUTO for proper playback to avoid pulldown issues.

  4. Press the option key during playback. As Tony said, it works only on text subs, not on VobSub/PGS which is a shame since this could compensate for overscan/resolution issues (AFAIK is only possible on XBMC)

Hi tech,

Thanks for your reply.

  1. I changed the HDMI cable to a less expensive one.  There *may* be a slight improvement, but most likely it is just my wishful thinking. Thanks for the tip, though.

  2. Should be fixed.

  3. I have always been on fixed 1080p/60Hz and got used to the pull down effect. However, with this same video settings the playback of the same TS file shows definitely more pulldown effect on the current device than on the old one. Something must have changed in the way how they play the format.

I did try the AUTO + match framerate setting and it introduced a whole lot of new issues for MKV files that play without problem otherwise. Horrible stutter/freeze, dropped and skipped frames. I guess this could be an incompatibility issue between the player and my TV. 

Mind you, I might switch to the AUTO setting when playing TS files, as those seem to be ok.

I can now see what you meant by TS having less problems than MKV.

  1. Yep. Found and configured now.