Question about adding 2nd EHDD and the movie selection interface

Here’s what I got:

WDTV Live Media Player Hub

2TB external WD Hard disk plugged into the back USB port (USB2)

All my movies are on the external hard drive. Everyhting else, photos & music, are on the internal drive. Space is getting low on the external drive, so I’d like to get a second WD 2TB external drive, just like the other, and plug that into USB1. It’s going to look like ■■■■ with the cable hanging out in front, but hey, what are you going to do? WDTV doesn’t support USB hubs unless I get the firmware hack, that I’m not really that interested in doing…yet.

From what I can gather, and this is my question, when I want to find a movie, I have to select the drive (USB1 or USB2) first, then browse for the movie. Right? That would mean I would have to remember which movie is on which drive. A solution may be to split the movies up in alphabetical order and then use USB1 for say, A thru N, and USB2 for O thru Z. But even that **bleep** because I don’t want to move movies around and who knows how long it would be before I ran out of space on one drive and had to start moving movies again?

Overall, I’ve been happy with the WDTV hub, but this is simply a matter of poor design and poor planning. This can easily be fixed with a firmware upgrade where a user selects the Movie folder, the unit should have already scanned ALL drives for any movie content, catalogged those movies and displays them as one giant list of movies. Or better yet, let the user define which drives to scan, whether they be internal drives, external drives, network shares, or media servers and then display them all together. The same can be done for Photos and Music as well.

There are other software packages out there, like XBMC, that can do all of this quite well. That would mean I would have to buy something like Apple TV 2nd Gen or an Acer Revo with Linux to install and run XBMC. The whole reason I purchased the WDTV hub was so I wouldn’t have to go through all that.

So back to my post. I was wondering if anyone out there has the same issues and if they are just dealing with it, or has some sort of solution, or maybe I’m just doing something wrong and the unit has this capability and I’m just being too hard on WD? If not, with any amount of luck, hopefully someone at WD will read this and say “Hey, we need to add this sort of functionality.” It’s a programming issue and it really wouldn’t be that hard to do.

You need to spend more time reading the manual and actually USING the box before you rant about poor planning and design.

The Hub can do EXACTLY as you describe already.

#1.  Change the VIEW to be ALL instead of BY FOLDER.   Now all of your movies are combined in one place.

#2.  OR use the Built-in Search, which will find it regardless of which drive it’s on.

“The Hub”  doesn’t do EXACTLY as I described. It does EXACTLY as you described. Let me try and give a little more detail.

I have a folder labeled “Movies”, which has nothing but cinema movies in it. I have another folder labeled “Videos”, which has nothing but home videos.  I have another labeled “Photos” and another labeled “Music”. Pretty straight forward. The Photos, Music, and Video folders are on the internal 1TB hard drive. The Movies are on the 2TB external drive. I would like to add another 2TB hard drive to accommodate more movies.

If I were to do as you had said in step #1, I would still have to select ALL LOCAL STORAGE to get the movies from USB1 and USB2, which will also include the video content from the internal drive.  Now my home videos, which I cannot get Content Info for, are mixed in with the all the movies. This defeats the purpose of separating my home videos and movies into separate folders.

Now, if I do as you had said in step #2 by using the Built-in Search, regardless of where my movies are kept, I would still have to know which movie I wanted to watch. This once again, defeats the purpose of the UI. Like most people, I’m not always sure what I want to watch. I would like to be able to sit down and scroll through the nice interface, showing the cover art and decide what I want to see. I would like to be able to do this without have to sift through my home videos.

One might say, “Well move your home videos off the internal hard disk and keep them someplace else.” Now that defeats what WD has advertised that this thing will do. I quote, “Centralize and instantly stream ALL of your PERSONAL and internet media on your HDTV”. That says to me that I can take all my personal photos, videos, music and movies, and place them in one nice convenient location and watch them on my HDTV.

So, the part of WD’s poor planning was thinking that 1TB is enough space to hold all of people’s music, photos, home videos, AND 1080P HD movies. Now, I’m not saying that WD should load this thing up with the biggest HD they can find, but if they are going to advertise the unit the way they do, then they should add the functionality to allow the Hub to recognize and utilize a USB hub, so people can add as much disk space as they need. This problem can be fixed with a firmware upgrade because, obviously, people have already done it.

The part of WD’s poor design was limiting users on the selection of where to get the content from. You can get it from either LOCAL STORAGE, NETWORK SHARE, or MEDIA SERVER.  Why not all three and display them together, rather than having to select them individually? In other words, if I have movies on an external USB drive and some on a network share and maybe a few more on a Media Server, because I don’t have the drive capacity to keep them all in one place, it would have been nice to tell the Hub where all this content is located and display it all in one list without having to select a different Content Source. Simply select a source and then a folder, stick it in a table, and when I select Video on the home page, all my movies are displayed, regardless of whether the are located locally or on the network.

The only way I can see that I can solve this problem is by purchasing a NAS box, filling it with as many hard drives as I need and then sharing that NAS on my network and telling the Hub to select NETWORK SHARE as the source for movie content. This will still keep the movies separate from my home videos and when the in-laws show up to see videos of the kids, I simply change the source of the video content. Of course, this route will cost much more $$$ for the NAS server and the hard drives to go with it. All I want to do is buy one more external USB drive ($99), plug it into USB1 and have all the movies displayed together, without the home videos in the mix. The only way I can do that is to move the home videos off the internal drive and put them on a network share.

As I said, over all, I’m happy with the WDTV Hub. There wasn’t much thought put into future-proofing the thing. I’m not saying it should be future-proofed forever, but I bought this thing in February. It’s only been a couple of months, and I’ve already out grown its capacity. Something that could be easily fixed by allowing a USB hub to add more disk space and the ability to tell the Hub exactly where to look for every picture, every song, and every video, display them together and let me filter out what I don’t want. Windows Media Player will search your entire network for every source of shared media and display them all together. This should be able to do the same thing. The purpose of my post wasn’t to “rant”, it was more of wishful thinking. Hoping WD would come out with a firmware upgrade that would address this.

You can post this concern in a form of an Idea, This way someone from WD will be sure to see it. However, I would search first and make sure that there isn’t another idea similar to yours that you could add your post to and vote on.

Ideas Lab