Problems, Avoid!

This product is full of little bugs; many of them have been reported yet nothing has been done to address them.

Instead, new features are added to enhance the product yet the basic problems/bugs still exist.

The unit is still unable to deal with multi-channel audio and causes the system to freeze requiring a total restart or it will not play any video file. Is it that hard to implement a down mix feature?

I have posted ample information regarding files that do not play back in November 2011; the recent firmware update has not addressed this issue still, yet we got a new BBC iPlayer feature instead??? I mean come on,  priorities!!

My Samsung blu-ray player which is not a dedicated media player, plays all files back with no problems whatsoever… Perhaps WD need to discuss with Samsung on how they achieved a more reliable robust “media player / blu-ray player”.

I am heading over to Amazon to leave feedback for this product and I will warn people of the bugs.

Well, return it then if you’re disgruntled. What do you expect for $100?
From my research, it’s still one of the better media players on the market despite all the bugs.
All media players have bugs, it just boils down to what you are willing to live with and what you consider to be unacceptable. You can never rely on a tech company to fix issues with their products. It can actually cost a lot of $ to release firmware/patches for products. I used to work for a video game studio so that was always a hot topic. Is the amount of money that it will take to fix said bugs and improve the overall quality of the product worth it? As a consumer you will almost always think “yes” but companies see things a bit differently. Also, there’s always the potential to break stuff that was functional in a previous firmware.

Adding BBC was a strategic move. The average consumer is lured in by all the extra bells and whistles. So I’m sure it was given a much higher priority than fixing many bugs which probably aren’t that easy to fix or would cost quite a bit of $ to fix.

I used to work in the electrical and electronic servicing industry. People don’t read the product specifications, then blame the manufacturer. Manufacturers are required by law to guarantee a marketed consumer product will perform to the published specifications.

The WDTV Live complies with the international digital video recording and broadcast standards. WD is not obliged to add extra features; they are marketing bonuses.

Professional digital video production is produced and edited on expensive commercial machines compliant with the international digital video recording and broadcast standards.

Digital video uses dedicated video hardware chips to record and playback. Digital video does not require a computer or microprocessor in the video chain to record or playback.

Stand alone DVD and bluray players use dedicated hardware video chips to read commercial DVD’s and bluray titles authored compliant with the standards. Insert a non-compliant disk into the DVD or bluray player the player will lock up.

The WDTV Live is a video streaming box not a computer. The Sigma chip used in the WDTV Live is used by many other manufacturers. The Sigma chip contains a microprocessor for the control of all the digital input and output devices and dedicated video hardware compliant to the international digital video broadcast standards.

If a DVD, bluray or a CD is virgin ripped to a hard drive, the digital video file structure is not altered. That video and audio will play through the WDTV Live without video or audio streaming issues.

A digital hardware video chip is faster and will outperform a computer CPU and GPU provided the playback video is compliant to the international digital video recording and broadcast standards. If the digital video recording is outside the standards the digital hardware video chip will lock up.

Most people complaining about WDTV Live video lockups are playing video not compliant to the standards. ie torrent downloads, bad transcoding, etc.

If people want a player that will play all video formats, build a HTPC. A decent HTPC will cost about five times the cost of the WDTV Live and the software is buggier than the WDTV Live software.

Therefore; instead of being disgruntled with the WDTV Live, read the user manual and specifications, and learn to rip DVD’s and blurays properly and use transcoding software that works as advertised.  


You think the WDTV Live software is better than XBMC/Plex etc? (I.e. Less bugs/functions better)

panoguy makes good points here. 

I have no problems with rips I make using quality software, be they ISO or MKV.  Those who frequent the “torrents” looking for pirated freebees get and deserve the quality they paid for – nothing.

I use the Slysoft programs for basic ISO files and ByteCopy to convert the  blu-ray ISOs to MKV.  They all work except for ones I attribute to “user error:” i.e. MY error; then I redo them correctly and they work, too.

If anyone with lots of practice and use of the programs I mention have switched to something they like better, please let me know.  I am not disatisfied with the programs I use now, but maybe there happens to be something better

I have a large number of VIDEO_TS folders that were ripped prior to getting the SMP. I used a hacked together HTPC running XBMC. While XBMC was fantastic dealing with the issues caused by the underlying OS and trying to get a decent remote to work killed it for me. If I had done a little more homework I may have bought a ATV2 instead and put XMBC onto it. With that said if I can find workarounds or fixes for the few minor issues I am currently having then I think this product is well worth it. No product is without issues, but I will agree that WD should focus a little more on fixing some of the problems that are real and do exist.

julius02 wrote:
Is it that hard to implement a down mix feature?

Nope. That’s why it is implemented and works just fine for me.

Crikey what is it with people being so rude and attacking others when someone makes an “opinion”.

This is my view on the media player… it just infuriates me when they focus on pointless add on features when the crucial function of the unit is compromised. Other people have the right to know how the unit performs.

Clearly the down-mix feature does not work on AAC audio… these cause the unit to lock up. I prefer to stick with mp4 rips as these give a brilliant picture with smaller file size…  So  “thepanoguy” no i don’t need to learn how to rip properly -thanks. I prefer to rip in multi-channel as i have a surround system; however i don’t always like to have it on for every film - therefore when it isn’t on i would like to use the sound just from the tv.

I might as well add, considering pretty much most people on this forum work / have worked (thepanoguy & Fennec) in the electronic industry; i also work in the industry (i don’t but i thought i would join the bandwagon and add to banter).

I can’t dispute the fact that this SMP is buggy as **bleep**.  I came here and reported issues the first day I hooked it up, continued to provide more info and foolishly kept the SMP beyond Best Buy’s 30-day return window.  It seems like each issue I manage to workaround preceeds the discovery of yet another annyoing issue.  I wholeheartedly agree with whoever said that, given a second chance, they would buy an Apple TV and run XBMC.

It is a problematic product. Whether it’s a good value is debatable. It does not, as I read in many comments, handle any files thrown at it – there are significant ommissions. And there are frustrating issues with accessing networked media. We should be neither fans nor unfair critics. It’s just a product. Criticism of the product shouldn’t be taken as personal, as some seem to take it.

I would like to see a CLI interface available so that we could manually edit the configuration files for setting up network shares and the like.  Since the firmware is simply a highly modified version of some *nix having these extra capabilities shouldn’t be too difficult. I would also like to be able to “hide” many of the services so that only the ones I intend on using are displayed. I only have plans on using 2-3 of them right now and maybe a couple more in the future. this would just allow you to make the interface cleaner. I would have prefered getting the hub for some of the theme support that is offered by the community (the SMP is getting some support but it appears to be more difficult to work with than the hub due to the internal hdd).

You can hide the services you don’t use.

Just my opinion, take it for what you thinks it’s worth.

(…steps up onto soapbox)

I bought this player last November after reading opinions both for and against. It was my first Media player so I had no experience with anything else therefore I am unable to comment about them.

I have since converted 1463 DVDs to the MKV format using MakeMKV. They are stored on three 3TB Western Digital MyBook Essential drives and connected to the SMP via a powered USB hub.

I have to say the learning curve was a little steep with the lack of clear documentation occasionally, but with the help of this forum I was able to get my feeble mind wrapped around what it took to get this player to work well for me.

I watch one or two movies every evening and I have had ZERO problems with playback. Any issue I faced was due to my own lack of understanding of how the players settings worked and where to find them on the device. A little patience and some forum time paid off for me.

Frustrating? Yes occasionally.

Bugs? Without a doubt.

What electronic device do you own that has no bugs what so ever? Everything has an update occasionally.

I myself have never arrived at the point that I would say the unit wasn’t good. $100 bucks? C’mon, That’s a tank of gas these days. My view is if they continue to do firmware releases and fix any of the bugs it’s a win. I’ve owned many products that never get updated and the manufacturer could care less. If nothing gets fixed, well I can live with it seeing as for my usage requirements the SMP works really well.

I believe my luck has been with giving the player what it wants. I looked around and saw lots of posts that said the player ‘liked’ MKV files so that was the route I went when converting my DVD collection.

I have since talked a friend into buying the SMP and showed him how I set mine up. He did the same with his setup and has thoroughly enjoyed his playback experience.

I’m not saying someone won’t get a defective unit now and then. That’s life, but ask yourself what it is you’re trying to use the player for. If you want it to comply with your formats whatever they may be, you may want to be prepared for some glitches to work through.

If you want basically trouble free experience, give the unit what it wants (i.e… Read the supported formats and take heed to my comments) and you’ll spend more time enjoying playback and less time frustrated.

(…steps down from soapbox)

Sorry for the length but I felt compelled…

Just my 2 cents.

1 Like

I agree with  MeatHook and it’s just my opinion as well.

I purchased a SMP day one when Best Buy got them, I have never felt this way about the SMP and I’m a person who returns things easily.
Even more so I had my 73yr old grandmother buy one, I set it up for her and she watches movies on it all the time with no problems.
For my SMP I use a WD 3tb Elements Desktop USB 2.0 drive on the rear port and haven’t had one problem with 720p or even high bitrate 1080p files. But I understand that encoding is what makes the two work together and so far I’ve lucked out with that.
For my grandmothers she streams 720p movies from a WD Live DUO on the other end of her house.

I understand we all can have our frustrations about products because well we PAY for them so why can’t we?
But then again I see this little box as a good purchase in my book. Guess I’m just lucky and didn’t get a defective/problematic unit.

julius02 wrote:
Clearly the down-mix feature does not work on AAC audio…

Clearly you did not mention AAC in your initial rant.

My issues have nothing to do with file formats refusing to play or skipping, or problems with audio or encoding.  When it sees my files, it plays them all beautifully.  My issues all have to do with the way the SMP works with servers and shares.  I have listed them elsewhere and don’t care to do it again here, but I have little doubt that if my files were stored locally, I’d be as happy as the last couple of cheerleaders above.  But I exchanged a Roku for this SMP for the very reason that the Roku doesn’t try to stream user content (although it can be done), whereas the SMP touts itsef as excelling in that arena.

Despite its faults and quirks, I am still making the best of it and using it for what I can.  But I would make a different choice if I had it to do over again.