So I’m trying to give my new WD TV Live a workout while I can still return it if need be. So far, I’ve encountered a few minor glitches, all playing directly from a USB-connected hard drive, using the latest firmware (but all issues occurred on the 1.0.17 firmware it was shipped with too).
Playing 1080p h.264 mp4’s with AAC stereo sound causes the audio to glitch whenever the video bitrate is high. This is too bad, since I had converted a number of my movies to that format so that they could play nicely in Quicktime (mp4s in h.264 with AAC sound are the only ones Quicktime on a Mac will use the GPU to decode). On the other hand, if I go with WD TV Live, I can leave everything in my original MKV, which plays fine – but it’s still worrisome that this device seems to have problems with AAC sound. Other posts here seem to suggest this is a known problem.
The WD TV starts up fine, but it takes literally 10-15 minutes before my usb-attached 1TB Western Digital hard drive appears as an accessible local drive. This means that the effective startup time is over 10 minutes – no good for a media player at all. This happens whether I have the “Media Library” turned on or not. Is this a common problem, and is there a solution to this, or do I just have to leave the WD TV on all the time?
Playing high-bitrate 1080p h.264 mkv’s (AC3 sound) occasionally caused the WD TV to stutter and stall altogether when the bitrate spiked (around 30-40 mbps) – a very graceless way to fail, since it should at worst just drop a few frames and keep on going. After some fiddling around, it appear that the problem is just that when my attached hard drive (finally) appears in the OS, the WD TV is still doing something with the hard drive, so that if I play a movie shortly after it starts up, the movie has to compete with whatever the WD TV is doing, causing stutters. But if I wait another few minutes, whatever the WD TV is up to finishes, and the movie plays fine.
The WD TV picture as displayed on my TV looks slightly but distinctly inferior to that output by my laptop over DVI to HDMI – the colors are less vibrant and the contrast is lower (the various color settings make no difference that I can see). This is probably just a settings thing, but it’s a bit frustrating that there’s no way to change such basic things from within the WD TV. I tweaked the TV set a bit, boosting the contrast and saturation and lowering the brightness, and that brought the WD TV image into rough parity with the laptop output – but I could probably do the same for the TV set’s settings for the laptop input and the weaker image of the WD TV might remain.
So far, all these glitches are surmountable, but it’s a bit rough for product which essentially replicates what my computer can already do, and whose whole selling point is its convenience. Any advice about smoothing over these issues is appreciated.