Roku 4 quietly sticks a fork in WD TV

I gave up on WD TV’s streaming function quite a while ago but have hung onto my unit for a while and used it exclusively for file playback. As we all know, the Amazon Fire HD and the Apple TV units have never had USB drives. In fact, that’s why I bought the WD in the first place - it would play some files the Roku 2 would not. That became even more valuable a trait when Roku removed the USB drive from the Roku 3.

All that has changed with the introduction of the Roku 4. Lost in all the fuss over 4K and whether it is better than the new Apple TV, the Roku 4 has a USB drive and it plays back files that the Roku 2 would not: Roku 4 only: H.265/HEVC (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV); VP9 (.MKV)

No, it won’t play back .avi files but I don’t see many of those any more and I can convert them with Handbrake.

I’ll keep my WD TV but my guess is that it won’t get much use from here on out.

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Hello,

Thank you for sharing your point of view about this.

It sounds tempting but I have some questions:

  1. a) Will it allow mounting of several usb drives at once
    b) and display them as one library?
  2. Will it get and display content info about movie files?
  3. Does it have a working resume function?
  4. Does the remote have the same functions as the WDTV remote?
  5. Does it allow HDMI pass-thru of encoded surround sound?
    If the answer is yes to these questions then it looks like a contender otherwise I’ll stick with WDTV.
    Thanks.
  1. The Roku 4 only has one USB drive so, presumably, one device at a time.
  2. It seems to display the same info the WD does, thumbnails.
  3. Not sure.
  4. Fully functional remote. FF and Rew work great, seem to be faster than the WD.
  5. Yes, HDMI sound works.

PQ is excellent, seems to be better than the WD. I have it set to 1080p which is as high as my set will display.

From my perspective, the R4 is at least as good playing back files as the WD and is the best in the business at streaming. It costs $130 but it is well worth it.

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If the Roku 4 is anything like the 3, you can connect a hub to the USB port to connect multiple drives.

The Roku 3 did not have a USB port. The Roku 2 did, at least some versions. I had a Roku 2 but found it would not play as many different file types as the WD, particularly .avi and .mkv and even some .mp4 wouldn’t play. The Roku 4 seems to play everything but .avi files and I don’t see many of those any more.

I love both my Roku2 and a WDTV Live Plus. I stopped buying newer Roku players after the 2 because Roku screwed them up by removing analog audio out and with no USB PORT (none of the Rokus ever had a DRIVE inside as your review implies);

Anyway, I am afraid I have to stick a fork in your comparison comments. Nothing plays a video better than a DVD (or BD) disk, and the only one of these players that can play a copy of a DVD (an ISO file) is WDTV, Roku cannot do this, although it can play MKV and mp4 files. I have converted lots of my DVD and BD collection to ISO files and today they are on drives attached to my WDTV and my newer WD NAS. I also have made (w/Handbrake) some of these ISO files into m4v/mp4 files to play on our tablets.

The Roku is my go-to streamer for Netflix and Amazon Prime, but to play videos on the Roku is quite a chore ( I use the Roku Media Player app) and besides, lower quality mp4 files are nothing comparable to an ISO playing. on a WDTV – especially when played on a 54" TV. Not even close (and the mp4 files I make for the tablets are very good quality files, but not meant for the big screen TV).

As I have said on these forums before, the Roku is a great video STREAMER and the WDTV is a great video PLAYER. They are NOT directly comparable – they are different kinds of devices! I have both players, NOT because one is “better” than the other, but because each has its own attributes for the video types we watch.

Really? I have two Roku 3s and they both have USB ports. To say “the Roku 3 did not have a USB port” is just wrong. The 2013 model did. The 2014 model did not. It was brought back in the 2015 model.

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