WD may be a large prominent hard drive manufacturer; in the digital video market, the WD streaming boxes are a small market compared to the cable, satellite, internet streaming and the portable tablet market.
A number of chip manufacturers are competing in the digital video market marketplace; the most prominent are Sigma, Broadcom, STMicroelectronics. All three use the same design principles to achieve the same end result. A low powered CPU is used to display a GUI, and hardware digital video processing chips are designed compliant to the international digital video production and transmission standards.
All a manufacturer is legally required to release is the GPL licensed software. All the video hardware chips manufacturers have the same policy; they will not release details of the dedicated digital video hardware chips or the hardware drivers. If they do then their competitors will reverse engineer their chips and gain a market advantage.
If virgin DVD and bluray disks are cleanly ripped then they will play through media streaming boxes. The re-occurring issue is that people are trying to play incompatible computer processed video through a hardware chip never designed for that purpose. If people lack the technical skills to process video through a computer, don’t complain when the hardware streaming boxes will not process the digital video.
The aftermarket reprogramming for any product is relatively small compared with the product sales. Judging by my visits to various forums, I would say well under 1%.
All manufacturers use JTAG programming techniques. A competent programmer can recover any bricked box instantly using the original backup code. Unfortunately, most of the so called programmers circulating on the net are amateur code hackers lacking basic programming recovery skills.