Couple of basic questions about WD TV Live

Hey guys,

New to the forum and considering the purchase of the WD TV Live. 

First, I should probably start by saying that I am technologically stupid.  You would’ve learned this by the end of my post anyway, so I figured I’d lead with it.

Basically, all I really want is a device that I can have all of my DVD’s and Blu-Rays on so that I don’t have to actually load a DVD/Blu Ray to watch a movie.  At least at this time, I’m not envisioning doing anything network-oriented, though I can’t say that I’d never be interested in it. 

The other thing I’d really like to do is have the discs copied exactly.  In other words, I want to be able to click on a movie (preferably by cover art thumbnail) and access all of the features that would be on the disc itself…special features, language/subtitle options, etc.  Is this something that the WD TV Live can do?  Or is this more a function of the software I use to copy the DVDs?  If it is, which software would let me do this?

Next, as for the network thing…how difficult would it be to have an external hard drive set up and have two WD TV Lives connected to that same hard drive?  That way I could have all my movies available at two different tvs, right? 

I’m sure I’ll have other questions as I get a response, but this is basically what I’m looking for.

Thanks in advance!


In all honesty, the WD TV Live is not the best choice for playing DVD/BD backups, especially if you want to maintain your discs as they are (menus, special features, angles, etc).

WD assure us they’re looking into adding DVD/BD menu support in a future firmware but there’s no date set in stone for that.

If you’re willing to encode your films into MKV files (which can store the main film, multiple audio, multiple subtitle plus chapters), the WD TV Live is a pretty good choice.  Not sure how you handle DVD extras like special features though.

I’d keep looking… perhaps the Boxee Box may be the best for you (out in a few months time, ~$200 IIRC).

Thanks for the quick reply. 

When you say “if you’re willing to encode your films into MKV files”, is there a reason why I wouldn’t want to do that?  Do I lose picture or sound quality by doing so?  Do they just take up more space? 

Truth is, I could probably live without the special features being available on the unit.  If they add something in the future, great, but it isn’t like I spend a ton of time going back and watching them.  And if there’s something I want to see, I can just pull out the actual DVD.  But chapter selections and subtitles are both things I’d like to have. 

Also, is there one particular DVD-ripping software that seems to work better than the rest? 

I just meant that when you encode into an MKV container you’ll lose any multiple angle features, plus the aforementioned special features / interviews and menus etc.

MKVs (and MP4s) generally take up a lot less space than the original DVDs or BDs.  I’ve seen some nice 720p BD rips that are excellent quality but only take up around 2GB space (including AC3 audio), far less than a DVD ISO (4GB+).  So quality shouldn’t be an issue really; use conservative settings and you’ll get nice quality and save some space.

The only software I’ve had experience with is DVD Fab’s HD Decrypter for ripping discs.  Then Handbrake for encoding into MKV or MP4.

Both free and very easy to use.

Thanks again…

I did some looking into the Seagate Freeagent Theater+ and posted a similar question on their forums.  Anybody have any experiences with that product and how it compares to the WD TV Live??

Sorry to pop back in, but it’s looking to me like the Popcorn Hour C200 might be just what I’m looking for.

I understand that it can play ISO, which would include all the special features on DVDs…

They have multiple “movie jukebox” programs to download that would give me thumbnails (and more)…

I know it’s a little pricer than the WD, Seagate and Boxee, but it sounds like a pretty good solution to me.

Anybody have any thoughts on it?

They’re very powerful and feature rich but, fresh out of the box, the UI is apparently not the greatest.  Those movie jukebox apps you mention will be pretty much essential to make it do what you want.

Once that’s done though I imagine you’d be very happy.  

I still think the Boxee Box is worth holding out for, and should be a fair whack cheaper (~$100 less?).  Having said that… the ability to install a HDD directly in the device plus a BD rom (-edit- actually, I think it’s one or the other, tho they show mods to have both) sounds pretty awesome. :slight_smile:

My only recommendation is that you spend some time on their forums, reading up on current / known issues and make absolutely sure it’ll do exactly what you want in a reliable fashion.  I’ve seen some negative comments on reviews regarding stability, well worth looking into first considering it’s the fat end of $300.

Link to their forums:

Thanks again Pixel…

Another follow-up though :slight_smile:

I posted on the Seagate forums and they confirmed that the Seagate can play ISO files, which means you can get all the special features, etc.  But then someone suggested that to save space, I’d need to create an ISO, but then convert it to an mp4.  

My question is, if the WD TV Live will play an mp4, could this be a workaround to get the special features, menus, etc on the WD TV Live??

My other question is, would those files maintain their quality after you’ve compressed them to mp4?

I am a user of WDTV Live as well Xtreamer.

For your exact requirement I feel Xtreamer would be the right choice. It can play DVD as complete disc / Bluray as ISO perfectly with all the features, munu navigation etc.,

For watching from two locations, yes you can have NAS drive with 1-8 TB available. Xtreamer works semalessly with NAS.

Adding a folder.jpg will display thumbnail anyway.

Xtreamer can be added with 500 GB 2.5" disc. Check also Xtreamer Pro coming out with bigger storage solution attached.

If you buy WDTV Live for watching DVD, you will regret.