Is the WD TV Live the right device for me?

Hi guys, i just got my new and shiny plasma TV and now i have to decide what media player i should buy. Since there is just an insane amount of information available on the net it is hard for me to filter out the information that is relevant for me.

So i’d like to ask if someone of you can tell me if i should buy an WD Live.

What my media player should be capable of?

* Connect it to a NAS over a wired network, i don’t want to connect any local storage to the box

* I connect the box with HDMI to the TV and for now with TOSLINK to my AV receiver.

* Play my DVDs and Blu-rays (iso or movie only rips to mkv, i don’t care for the menus)

* Switch between languages

* Switch between subtitles

* Navigate in the movie by chapter

* Play my music (mp3, flac, ogg would be good but no must have)

That’s actually it. I don’t care for all the inet content such as youtube or others.

What i really care for is that the playback of the HD 1080p videos will work flawless ie no stutter.

(i suppose the SD stuff work on any box)

What do you think? Will the WD Live meet my expectations?

Thanks in advance

For sure.


Any of products out there will do what you want, Syabas, Asus, WD or half dozen others. If I was doing several and money were a consideration I wold go with the Asus which is $30 cheaper street price. If money is less of a consideraton I would look also at the Syabas C200.

So the WD will do what you want, but so will everyone else.

If I was in the market today i’d probably wait until the March delivery of the new Sybas Popbox.  Close to the same price, better interface, more features.  And will probably do exactly what you want as easily as everything else.

or the BOXEE BOX

Nothing I write will give this justice!!!

Let me try to explain what I mean:

For the last 3 to 4 years I’ve been building my Home Theater, inclusive of a small humble home network (my expertise in the latter is very limited) to be able to stream my media as an integral part of the whole thing.

I’ve upgraded every component upto my current set up:

Pioneer Elite Receiver VSX-94TXH

Pioneer Elite Blu Ray Player BDP-95FD

Pioneer Elite 50" PRO1150-PRO Plasma

Sony PS3 40GB version

Onkyo DVCP-802 CD/DVD Multi-player with SACD and DVD-Audio

Panamax Power Conditioner M5400-PM

Direct TV HD DVR

Definitive Technology Speakers: BP7004 Super Towers, CLR2300 and BP2X

Logitech Harmony 1000 LCD Tablet Universal Remote

PC: Toshiba Qosmio X505-Q870

WD ELite 500GB portable drive

Some 600 CDs and 200 DVDs to go with all this.

CAT5 wires right into my HT with a D-Link LAN switch

So as you can see, it’s a half-way decent set up but my biggest problem was always how to stream it all without having to connect the portable drive to the laptop (or any of the other PC/Laptops in the house) and do a WiFi into the PS3 which kept dropping or even if wired, having to switch inputs on the Plasma, get the controller for the PS3, blah, blah, blah…

Long story short, after a trip to CompUSA today, and almost being talked into another $500 worth of hardware ■■■■, one of the kids there told me that WD made this media drive and to look for it in Best Buy.

So after hooking this up -with nothing more than the expected 20 or so minutes inclusive of upgrading the firmware and all the other little stuff, this is HAS CHANGED MY LIFE.

I can already:

  1. Stream media from my portable hard drive as expected,

  2. Retained all my playlists,

3,It appears in all my other PCs/LAptops as a network drive - so I don’t have to unplug the drive to move it outside if I want to hook up my Laptop in the patio,

  1. The Pandora accounts(s) worked flawlessly. My wife and I have have VERY different musical taste and we can now select the user account and play our respective favorites,

  2. It has a built-in screen saver - basic, but there - so no worrying about Plasma burn-in.

5, Etc., etc., etc.,… I’m not even done with all the stuff it can do and I made it a point to stop playing with it and post my experience.

So, if you are considering this gadget…STOP READING AND GO GET IT!!!

I’ll answer that by explaining why I bought mine a couple of weeks back…

  1. I needed a device to provide an interface my Denon AVR HDMI onto my LAN, specifically to play MP3s direct from NAS storage.
  2. MP3s needed to be playable from the Denon AVR, a wireless Pure Sensia DAB radio and a number of PCs
  3. Ditto for photos
  4. DLNA access was mandatory for the Pure Sensia
  5. The NAS is actually a USB drive attached directly into a LinkSys WRT610N router
  6. Video playback was of no importance to me as my PC attaches via HDMI direct into the Denon AVR

Findings so far…

It almost does the job as a pure digital MP3 player (via HDMI), except for the annoying (and well documented) problem with network dropouts.  My connection will typically drop randomly, sometimes after 30mins, sometimes after a few hours of playing MP3s.  There are all sorts of “solutions” being touted for this issue, but nothing I have tried has made any difference to what smacks of a hardware / firmware issue.

It could just as easily be a problem with the WRT610N as it could be with the HDTV Live, but the evidence points at the Ethernet port on the latter.  I could move my USB disk from the router to the HDTV Live, but then I would not be able to play MP3s on the Pure Sensia.  This is because the HDTV Live does not publish itself as a DLNA server on the network, which is a fundamental flaw in my view.

The HDTV Live lacks any sort of automation.  From power-on it does not resume what it was doing previously, which means that you have to power on the TV just to start the MP3 playback - a bit of a pain.  If you have a Harmony remote, it is possible to semi-automate this with two programmed 5-button key sequences, so that you can activate MP3 playback without powering on the TV.  Possible, but a pain nevertheless.

Don’t get me wrong, I still think that the HDTV Live is a great little device and I am reasonably confident that the network issue will be ironed out by some future firmware release, by either WD or LinkSys.

One other thing… for UK users, the radio content is pants!  WD need to talk to Pure!!!