Loaded question!

I’m currently in the market for a media player and seriously considering the WDTV Live.

My environment would be WinXP on very fast CPU, PlayON media server software, hardwired gigbit network, 1080p TV.  I’m primaryly interested in viewing AVI, FLV, MOV, and JPG files on my XP machine, and access Netflix, Hulu, and other online media.

But reading many threads on this forum, I realize there are many issues (firmware upgrades, Windows 7 issues, tiny remote, transcoding issues, etc., etc.).

So my question is: For those of you that have had problems, would you get the WDTV Live if you had to do it all over?


I forgot to mention, I would also play ISO files stored on my PC.

I must admit WDTV Live is not for the faint hearted and at present I would not recommend it.

I haven’t experienced too many show-stopping issues but I would have to agree with richUK’s assertion that this device is not for the faint of heart.

Unless you have a rock-solid network, you’ll have media share issues.  Even with a solid network, the WDTV will still throw you a curve and randomly not connect (very infrequent for me but enough to make me question the stability of the device).

Also, I made my choice before Christmas.  There are now 2 other compelling competing products on the horizon: Popbox and Boxee Box.  Admittedly the Boxee Box is in a slightly higher price bracket but, given my experiences, I would likely spend a little bit more for a more versatile product / better codec support.

Seems like I need to spend too much time demuxing files and remuxing to MKV in order to get smooth playback.  Anything encoded with DivX / XviD in an OGM, DIVX or AVI container just doesn’t play smoothly.  Even MP4 files play smoother / sync better when re-muxed to an MKV.  

So much hassle for many things that are likely simple firmware fixes. 

Having said all that, I have no plans to sell my WD TV Live.  I’ll ride it out until it becomes apparent that WD have lost interest in it.

My setup is : WDTV Live connected to wired LAN (ethernet), and to TV via HDMI.

There seem to be much less problem with wired LAN than wireless – I have got no problem at all even for 1080p movies. Connexion via HDMI is simple, provide sharp, crisp image and digital sound.

Considering I paid the unit 130 $CAN and it enables me to play HD video files from my home network on my HD TV, I would buy it again even if there are many quirks. Most quirks regarding video formats (e.g. playback speed with mpeg4, FLV not supported, etc) are taken care of by re-encoding. At this price, even if you finally realize that it does not all what you need, it can act as a “bridge” towards your next media player (HTPC or Boxee Box or PopWhatever).

There is also an element of hope that either WD or the homebrew scene will come up with a vastly superior firmware. Personally I’m really interested with the fact that B-Rad managed to run Debian off the WDTV Live. This means about anything is possible, and if you’re so inclined, it should be really fun to hack this device.

It is not a horrible unit but has quite a few bugs and the lack of support from WD would make me say no I wouldn’t buy this product if I got to do it all over. Only way I think I would consider buying another one would be if a really good custom hack came out were you didn’t need to rely on WD for anything.