Question to WD Mods regarding Firmware Version 2.08.13

Dear Mods,

please acknowledge that I am aware that you are the guys sent to the front into the line of fire and have to take the heat for things you aren’t responsible for.

I am also aware that I have given online support for products for several years and it is usually 99% the customers mistake if something goes wrong, usually misbehavior of firmware upgrades are based on impatience, inproper internet connections and what not.

This upgrade however is a downgrade because it comes with faulty behavior and is at best a beta version.

Database changes have been made that display wrong images, UI adjustments have been made that cause a misbehavior, Images of the UI are displaying in the wrong dimensions and older Live Hubs seem to have a real upgrade problem. I know this since I tested it with my 2 of my neighbors hubs. I consider my home cinema a perfect environment, had never any issues with any firmware upgrade for any device, a linked 100Mbit/s internet connection through a gigabit network, high end cables etc… and yet the upgrade fails on the older hubs.

If it wasn’t for me and I had installed a roll back those devices would be broken now and according to the laws here they could have made it a warranty case.

This upgrade is so extremely awful that I start losing interest and started streaming my files directly to my TV and use the hub as a storage device.

The reason why I am calling you out is to keep us informed if there is fix planned within the next days or of the development deprtament is considering a complete withdrawal of this version.

Fact is: this firmware makes the device unusuable for people with standards, it has been made worse and abilities have been disabled. For that matter it has become an ill device. User generated themes are advertised as a possibility but the facts say that we cannot work with this device anymore since themes will only look proper for this version due to bad adjustments and since thumbnails are cropped on the right and bottom, ANYONE would be required to generate new thumbnails everytime they change a theme.

Please keep us posted what the bosses decide or there will be no development in the theme department which helps WD sell their product quite nicely.


  and yet the upgrade fails on the older hubs.


One of my hubs I bought the day they were released;  the next one just a few months later.

The update went fine on both.

 Fact is: this firmware makes the device unusuable for people with standards,

Here’s another one of those false blanket statements…  

My two hubs are no less usable now then they were before.

and since thumbnails are cropped on the right and bottom, ANYONE would be required to generate new thumbnails everytime they change a theme.

That’s not happening to me…  Are you using that undocumented workaround where you’re using PNGs but calling them JPGs?   If so, well, there’s always a risk in using what amounts to a hack… 

Tony let’s just say, we have different standards to me it is unuseable. With the Hub version you might consider different countries as well not only what you buy at the same branch from the same production badge.

Don’t call something a false statement just because you don’t understand it please, I’d appreciate it.

I am using jpg images for thumbnails renamed PNGs wouldn’t work at all in this versions since the ability was stripped.

Thumbnails are cropped when the original file has larger dimensions as the dimensions in the xml file in gallery view.

This is a fact and long confirmed by others. All you have to do is to upload a mesh textured thumbnail (think of a grid) this is used to display image accuracy.

All my thumbnails are custom generated matching my theme and have a 2 pixel border surrounding the poster image, now 50% of the border is gone because the image is displayed wrong. It is not even fixable. That is what makes it unuseable for me. It is an entertainment device and I am not entertained when I am looking at something that is clearly wrong. Call me a nerd chick or whatever you want, I am doing graphics design all my working life and what comes out of that box right now is faulty and sloppy and has to be fixed. The same misbehavior goes across all themes including the official ones where thumbnails are displayed in a cropped version. I could go deeper with wrongly installed image elements in the OSD but this isn’t even necessary at this point.


TonyPh12345 wrote:

That’s not happening to me…  Are you using that undocumented workaround where you’re using PNGs but calling them JPGs?   If so, well, there’s always a risk in using what amounts to a hack… 

Well I’d have to disagree with you there.  A hack would infer that there was a change in the firmware code.  The work-around is a change in a user defined element allowing it to be displayed in the manner that it should.  Which is neseccary due to the firmware not allowing for the display of true pngs.

I do agree with you though that the upgrade fails have nothing to do with how old the HUB is, since although I didn’t buy mine the day they came out, it was in the first few batches that were released and I have not had any problems updating mine.   It seems to more of a hit and miss as to whether the upgrade fails or not and seems to happen just a much on older and newer released HUBs.

As for usabilty, well I guess that’s a matter of perspective.  I will say this though, for theming which is a selling point of the device, it has been a major setback.

Tinwarble, you know I have never disagreed with you before but will do it now, respectfully of course.

I had repeatedly the problem to upgrade the hubs of my neighbour and didn’t have a problem with mine, repeatedly.

All 3 were bought in Germany, they bought it in a huge branch in our city and i bought mine at a rather small store. Theirs are pretty much the first that came to Europe and mine is about 3 months old.

I tried it repeatedly on all 3 devices with the same results which can’t be coincidence. Maybe a different batch of HDDs or memory or whatever, this however i was able to reproduce 3 times with 3 devices which makes it 9 chances that confirmed it. The date of purchase is no indicator for that, a device could be sit in the store forever and beiing from the first batch or what not. I am very surprised this happend myself and since I didn’t believe it myself i tried 3 times. Think about it, which man would bring their tech stuff to a girl in order to fix it? lol I wasn’t able to fix it anyways and with the other bugs we talked about this is the weirdest piece of software i came across in a long time. Totally unexpected from a brand like WD to be honest

Well, I understand your personal results, but really the same issue comes up with HUBs no matter when they were sold or what batch they come from.

As a matter of fact, this issue is not isolated to the HUB.  I came from a Seagate FAT+ and saw the same issues with updating the firmware with it as I do with the HUB.  I can’t really say what the problem might be, but I can tell you as someone who own’s multiple media players from multiple company’s that it happens with all of them.

Tinwarble wrote:

TonyPh12345 wrote:

That’s not happening to me…  Are you using that undocumented workaround where you’re using PNGs but calling them JPGs?   If so, well, there’s always a risk in using what amounts to a hack… 

Well I’d have to disagree with you there.  A hack would infer that there was a change in the firmware code.

Yeah, just a matter of semantics… :slight_smile:  … To me a “hack” is any undocumented procedure or process that achieves a result other than what the designers expected…  But I can’t find any dictionaries that would support my position!  :smileyvery-happy:

Tony if you are interested to see what it does to the thumbnails, load the image underneath.

You maybe found out yourself that the Live Hub is now creating thumbnails in the .wd_tv/thumbs folder for each view by doing that it reduces the quality by 73% and it crops parts from within the image and from the borders.


This is happening during the resize and compression process which it is failing to do it correctly. On a regular cover you wouldn’t see it except for the reduced image quality, on a thumbnail like that with straigh lines you see it very clearly.

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FANTASTIC sample.   Thanks for that.  None of my thumbnails are affected so obviously because they don’t have the image elements (particulary the sharp edge contrast with frames)  you are relying on.  You’ve made me a believer.

One thing I do notice is that, for whatever reason, the Hub isn’t even maintaining the aspect ratio.

A DVD “Thumb” cover should be 3:2 … but many of the re-sizes are not.   

I think WD may be heading down a slippery slope, but I think I know WHY they are doing it:   It TREMENDOUSLY improves browsing speed since the UI isn’t responsible for dynamic resizing.   They are resizing them into caches so that they can load it as-is.

The reason I think it’s a slippery slope is that, if they modify the THEME elements, without modifying the CODE that calls on the specific images, the cached images will become either mismatched or useless.

Now that they’ve released the GPL code for that version; I wonder how they’re resizing them.  I’m going to go dig.

Hello Tony i am happy I brought  you a little closer to the issue.

In all fairness i should say that the aspect ratio parameters are coming from the theme.

I have tested that part with different themes including the standard themes. (same results in quality)

I am guessing this is a combination over over compressing the image while shrinking it WITHOUT anti aliasing,

I was close enough to reproduce it in photo shop but then again PS is a decent program and will deliver better results.

I am guessing, once they improve the quality of those little buggers and add antialiasing in the process it will work like a charme. The basic idea is great for faster browsing but has disabled all themes with trickle effect and all themes with wall mode posters which are using the movie sheet image and the thumbnail image in the same file. Imagine this compression on a 720p dimension and Batman becomes Mickey Mouse and that can’t happen on a device with a 1080p screen resolution.

Theming is a huge selling point and many themes (not mine) are using the trickle feature and even worse, nobody of the theme developers can continue developing their theme because nobody knows where WD is going, are they picking up from here or from another version and how can one make it look proper on your screen when the adjusmtent and alignment of things is different.

So, Tony… that definition of “hack” seems like it could equally apply to bug-ladden firmware releases that “achieve a result other than what the designers expected.”  :wink:

I still say that the whole alpha/beta/regression testing process with this device is faulty. It is clear that the correct mix of beta testers has not been chosen time and again, otherwise problems would be resolved and not reappear, nor would previously working functions become non-working with a new release. I think WD needs to round up beta testers who have the time and motivation to \ *fully* exercise the device and firmware, that truly care about the resulting product, and who are not afraid to report issues they find. But then WD development needs to *listen* to their feedback…

“Back in the day” when I was writing software, we had a few people who could break anything they touched. They were “good as gold” and they were an integral part of our testing process.

It is unfortunate that WD has made a device that allows, even encourages, themers the flexibility to create truly unique user experiences, yet seems to be doing its best to frustrate them and their creativity at every turn and with every firmware release. Eventually these creative people will move on to something else less frustrating. At the end of the day, the market will dictate and decide a “winner”. Companies ignore user feedback at their own peril.

“Not Richard”

P.S. Not trying to call anyone names or be a rabble-rouser here, just observations from a mostly detached observer/user who keeps updating to the latest firmware, making do with its often new limitation, using the default theme, and hoping for a time when I can really take advantage of the other themes created by much more creative people than I am. :smiley:

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Nah, I agree with you completely.

The THEMING thing is an interesting paradox.

Let’s assume that WD needs to make some hypothetical change to the UI structure in order to enable a feature or fix an issue.

Let’s assume that fix requires a change to theme structure or syntax.

Let’s assume that said change “breaks” 3rd-party themes based on a prior version.

Then one of three consequences must result:

1-  Those hypothetical changes cannot be made.

2-  Theme designers become frustrated.

3-  Theming cannot be allowed.

I think #2 is definately the better compromise than either 1 or 3… 

Tony, I agree with everything you say and don’t know if there is a solution that is acceptable to everyone, other than testing the heck out of things before release and documenting possible side-effects so there are fewer “surprises” to everyone. Just seems that any “symbiotic” relationship between WD and themers and users is one direction only at the moment.

And the whole user community is doing the true beta testing with no “hints” from WD in release notes as to what negative experience can be expected. Like missing cover art on newly added/downloaded movie files. Surely that rudimentary testing should be part of any alpha/beta test script, if not unit testing during the development itself?

Perhaps WD media players are still too much in the infancy stage for a truly beneficial relationship to exist and be nurtured between WD, themers, and end users.

“Not Richard”

Sorry to beat a dead horse here but the fact that WD refuses, or atleast ignores any attempt to fix proper displaying of images, mainly png’s would lead one to believe that they are trying to step away from allowing users the ability to theme.  Perhaps the users have ‘themed’ further than WD had expected or wanted them to go.  Most themes now have completely removed WD signature look…perhaps this is no longer  palatable  to WD.

Also the WD theme link has been removed…     


^Wow, that’s very strange. I agree with you completely. All I know is the Aeonish Hub theme (especially Stage 4) completely changes the user interface. You wouldn’t have thought it’s a WD player except for the boot logo and about screen.

Lets hope this isn’t the case and WD lets users change the interface to however they want.

HomerJ wrote:


Also the WD theme link has been removed…     


Yeaaah…   That’s distressing…  

I’ll poke around and see if I can find out what’s going on.

Perhaps I should now remove my links to have people vote for proper use of png’s … chances are if WD does implement it then they will further  remove or inhibit user’s theme changes ( currently referred to as ‘Bugs’ by some) . This is a trade off I will not subscribe to.

@ TonyPh12345

HomerJ wrote:
Also the WD theme link has been removed…     

Yeaaah…   That’s distressing…  
I’ll poke around and see if I can find out what’s going on.

It’s not “distressing”

It’s an ‘observation’ of something that has changed in recent times since site changes and new firmware release.

Your relpy sounds like ‘Sarcasm’

JoeySmyth wrote:

Your relpy sounds like ‘Sarcasm’

It was certainly not intended.    I am, indeed, distressed that the one WD Website that described one of the most unique features (user-extensable themeing) of the WD Live product line has been removed.

In fact, the ENTIRE website (not just the theming subsection) is no longer present.

i’ve not used the hub for one month now.

will try to update my live hub to-day and if i have problems, will open a ticket.

btw if is down, can users still download theme from the live hub?

oh!!! I had a look at the main page and i was surprised to see the WDTV live.

Is this a new product? Since when does the wdtv live contain inbuilt wifi? I’m pretty much sure this is a new product… the product design is not the same as this .

edit: Now i know this is a new product.

lol… perhaps the wd staff are more focussed on that product that the on the hub.