Is the WD TV Live HD worth it?

I’ve been thinking of buying the WD TV Live HD, but after reading some of the posts in here i’m a little afraid.

I’ve read that there was some out of sync problems, that if freezes which then requires you to reset the box, problems playing VOB files and other various problems with youtube wich i’m not too concerned about.

My biggest worries is for it to play the H.264/MKV files and the VOB files withought any hickups, I don’t want them to freeze or be out of sync.

Please share your experience and recommendation good or bad.


This is only one datapoint, but even though the WDTV Live is not perferct, I’m overall impressed with the device. Keep in mind that most people who post here are trying to solve problems, so that you’ll only see people with problems here :slight_smile:

I just played this morning a 6.8 GB x264 1080p MKV file through LAN and it worked like a charm. This is on a device the size of a big pocket book, whereas my desktop computer has trouble playing it without skipping frames.

I’ve not experienced much out of sync problems, but on the otherhand I only had the WDTV Live for two weeks and did not use it that much. I’ve got VOB files which played without a hitch, and got a glitch in a folder containing dozen of them.

You can probably count on some problems getting fixed through automatic firmware updates, altough the infamous 1.01.12 update (which bricked some units) probably will mean that WD will be more reluctant to push them.

My personal grips are more related to the internet services: I would have liked access to media streams without going through web sites such as Youtube, Pandora, Live365, etc. It seems to me that it would be trivial for WD to support playlists with embedded URLs.

However considering the capabilites and price of the device (I got it for 130 $CAN on, great deal), it’s definetely worth it.

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Just tried Divx, worked fine day 1.

This is day 2 and I can’t even access my network from the WD unit. Can see it in the network from the computer.

Returning it tomorrow.

check your workgroup name

I love my WDTV Live and have been using it for the last month or so and I’m pretty impressed with this unit.  It was a upgrade from a Dlink dsm 320 with TVersity running on my WHS.

  1. Does what it says
  2. Backed by WD so they do support there product in way of firmware upgrades
  3. There is another souped up firmware called WDLXTV really easy to flash from a usb stick no Linux knowledge required (as yet im sticking with the official firmware)
  4. We have all our vids on the Windows Home Server with various XP, Vista and Win 7 machines and finds content on them ok.
  5. Plays HD content no stuttering and this really is dependant on how and who coded the file you are watching.
  6. I no longer needs server software like TVersity

Only issues and well documented is around Network Shares as it can sometimes take a while for them to popup on the WDTV live.  Info is the server 2003 / 2008 are not fully compatible but works ok for me.

Also only finds your network if you all belong to “WORKGROUP” so had to change my network workgroup name back to the default.

Any case if the network shares don’t popup I can always stream from the WHS through the media server.

For the price and size this is a great little unit, portable, not perfect prob around 4 out 5 mark overall.

For me all my vids are on network server and to get these to my TV 3 rooms away this is the answer.

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Wow, thanks guys for really giving me your opinion.  It really helps.  Plenty of info for me to make a decision.

I guess it’s like you guys said this forum is mostly people posting their problems in order to get some help by fellow members.

I’d be curious to see moderators post a voting system from 1 star to 5 star and people give the pros and cons,  that way people would get a better idea; even though there are some cons which can be rectified threw firmware update; their are alot more pros so…

For the price, (100$ at canadacomputers) I think I might get it for now and eventually I’d upgrade to the “Popcorn Hour C-200”

Once again thank you all for your help.



I just got mine and I like it.

You Tube I don’t care for.

Radio Station I don’t care for.

Pandora I don’t care for. 

NetFlix got Roku box already and I does have online media venues on there.

Just let me play Video files over the netowrk without xcoding on my HDTV with sub title support.  Long file name too, my other divx player didn’t read long file name. ( Phillips)

Hi, I have Fw version 1.01.11 and it doesn’t play x264 MKV files!

A question to the guy who said it playes this type of files, what FW version do you have?

To the OP – beware the 100 $CAN price tag @ I think this is basically the same shop as NCIX and I see it at 129 $CAN. You may have seen a WDTV HD (Not “Live”, thus not network-enabled) for 100 $CAN.

To theone1: The example I gave was a 1080p x264 MKV and yes it was playing on firmware 1.01.11. When you say it doesn’t play, what does it do?

Yes you are right, it’s not the “live” one for 100$, thanks for the heads up.

I got mine at BadBuy, in store price is 149!  told them about online price and they reduced.

Do that for every single thing you buy at BB.  Last time I got a MicroSD for less then half of instore price.

theone01 wrote:

Hi, I have Fw version 1.01.11 and it doesn’t play x264 MKV files!


A question to the guy who said it playes this type of files, what FW version do you have?

It definitely plays x264, using both 1.01.11 and .12. I’ve tried a few without problems. All hooked in with USB.

Well, ATM I’m totally unable to watch YouTube movies? Everything else works ok. Network is ok.


 I found MKV play fine from the USB disk and from Shared Network drives over wireless connection, but not from TVersity media server and for some reason it seems that TVersity has problem of serving MKV files.

I’ve been using my WD TV Live for a month now and I’m quite though not completely satisfied with it.

It plays all kinds of media files that had been problematic before for my laptop or my Philips DVD player which is capable of playing a variety of mpeg4-files from CD and DVD discs.

However, there is a severe out-of-sync issue with Apple QuickTime movies using divx5-codec within mov-container.

Some movies have a lapse of up to 7 secs  between audio and video. Those files play fine via QuickTime, VLC and other media applications on my comp.

The strangest thing is that the WW TV Live shows video frames at the beginning of those files which had been edited out before and which I can see in no other video app I use.

Apart form that, the WD TV Live is a fine thing I can recommend with no hesitation.

I got a WD TV Live for Christmas and I’m mostly very happy with it.

The YouTube reset issue is annoying but since my old account didn’t have any playlists it’s not a deal breaker.  Created a new account and logged in fine.

Apart from one time when it briefly didn’t want to connect I’ve had no network issues.  I’ve been streaming large 720p files and small 1080p files without issue (other than momentary glitches that could be down to the wireless connection or encoding).

The only failure to play files has been on older encodes where 3 warppoints were used (no other hardware player will handle those anyway?) and for some reason DivX encoded movies (prior to 5.2) within OGM containers are not playing smoothly.  My old Xbox running XBMC can handle them so it’s no biggy.

All media encoded with modern codecs play brilliantly on our plasma tv and look great.  Still waiting on our HDMI cable to turn up so this is based on supplied Component leads running at 720p/60Hz.

For the money, I’m well chuffed.


Regarding the WD TV Live and OGM files, the solution (for me) was to demux the A/V and Sub streams out using OGM Cleaver and then mux them into an MKV using MKVmerge GUI.  The files then play flawlessly.  No encoding necessary, so the WD TV Live is simply mishandling the OGM container.  It should be a relatively easy firmware fix but I have no idea where it sits on WD’s list of priorities.

As for the old XviD encoded MKV files with GMC WarpPoints, I needed to use MKVextract to extract the streams then re-encode the video into an x264 MKV using Handbrake.  Then extract the raw video stream from the converted file to mux back into one MKV along with the original audio and subs.  Convoluted and a pain in the backside tbh.  Any ideas on a single app solution would be great…  

To the original poster to answer your question if it’s worth it ?

I would normally have said yes and no - but out of PRINCIPLE I would tell you to save your money for now.  Don’t get it - a box that promises to support so many formats and yet has problems with a lot of things - even if you don’t use youtube or internet options, it goes to show how POOR the support is at WD for ANY products, not just this one.  The unit’s hardware has great potential - problem is firmware and the built-in media player is absolutely horrible.  Quality is mediocre - even for a un it that price,  If you are using analog outputs, don’t waste your money!  it seems too much filtering is applied to outputs which softens the image considerably - if you are using digital video and audio outputs, it’s a lot better - although the decoding process is again not optimal and doesn’t come even close to that of your PC.

For these reasons and the lack of WD’s support, bring us bad firmware one after the other, not listening to customer feedback, taking so much time to release firmware, not offering new features, but only very few minor fixes for firmware we wait ages for, I’d tell you it’s bloody not worth it IMO - at least not for now…but from experience i know that they won’t do anything about it.  MUCH like ADS didn’t bother fixing any issues with its ADS Instant DVD product line…it seems to be a trend !

The WD Live should have been a great product, but is plagued with bugs and bad quality and a bad firmware.

As far as competitor products, I can’t recommend you a product either as the quality is similar or worse.

I have done a test with a few HD files, divx, etc…using a PC and the Tsunami MPEG Xpress encoder with a dual processor and full CUDA support, and encoded a few mpeg-4, HD, WMV and other files to DVD format, viewed those on 3 different dvd players hooked up to both composite and component.  Then I used the same original non converted files to play directly through my WD Live, using the same type of connectors on the same TV…and I was shocked to see the difference.   Eventhough the 1st test involves recompression, the quality was amazingly sharp and clean,  the sound was crisp, it was really nice to look at !    Test #2, the same non recompressed source file, which normally should play better actually delivered a disappointing result !  Poor image scaling, slightly overcropped, significantly softer image, noisier in some areas, in other words poor video output and average audio!  This proves beyond doubt that either the chipset used is of bad quality, despite their claimed specs, OR the unit is somehow post processing the video and making it worse…Maybe if we had an option to turn these off, ?

Don’t waste your money, mate !

If you can, buy it from a costco or any local store where you can return the product. do not open any software that comes with it, you will not need it.  So get it, try it and return it to your store if you do not like it.  Who knows, maybe some people enjoy subpar picture quality - because they have nothing to compare it with.  But I urge people to run the same tests to see for themselves.   I even took the SAME AVI files to play with one of my DVD players that supports DivX, and was shocked that the file played so much better, crisp, razor sharp, clean, audio/video and the same one was softer!   On the WD Live you will also notice that there is no difference at all in quality from composite ro component - on a DVD player you will notice the difference why is that ???  What use is it to offer component output on a unit that delivers the same quality as using a composite out - makes no bloody sense.

Get it and see for yourself. Good news is that it plays back quicktime and WMV files fine - quality is good on those. for files of the same resolution too…pathetic.

Have to agree with 8ball2001 that if you don’t have a HDTV with HDMI and intend to play solely SD files, then don’t waste money on the WDTV Live.

However, if you’re going to use the WDTV Live with a HDTV via HDMI and mainly for HD files (both 720p and 1080p), then the WDTV Live is worth it.

I’m really happy with the unit and the tests I’ve been running, but my VOB files are stuttering pretty badly.  Audio and visual stutters happen every minute or two. 

Works great over composite - 1080p looks great.

Recommended for the money.  Works perfectly for me.


mine works fine.  plays .iso and .mkv x264 files (hardwired from my router with cable) NO PROBLEMS.  my network is always found, never 1 dropped or stutter, ever.

created a new youtube account (not linked to google) and it works fine, no crashing.

quality is good, menus would be nice, ff and rw funtions could use some work, but for $129 or so, i’m happy with it.  mine was a xmas gift, so it was free, but i’d buy one for that price.  although, the boxee or whatever it’s called, coming out soon, may be a nice alternative.