After battling with the WDTV Live losing connection in the middle of streaming videos from my QNAP NAS and not always being available as a DLNA renderer on my network, I have finally managed to get it working every time. It turns out the problems only occur when using the WDTV user interface, but not when using the WDTV as a renderer from an external controller.
I had two problems:
- Bombing out of selected NAS videos after 20-30 mins.
- I also use the device as my primary network music streamer but it was not always available as a renderer on the network - regularly needed to restart the WDTV (remove power socket) so it would appear as available again.
- To deal with the videos stopping, I have to always make sure I am instructing the video to be played from an external application - not selecting it from the menu on the WDTV itself. I use ‘BubbleUPNP Player’ as the controller from my android devices, but I imagine you could use any UPNP/DLNA media controller to do the same. This maintains the connection just fine, for the full duration of the video (or music playlist).
- The above relies on the WDTV always being available on the network. I found it sometimes disappeared from the network - stopped advertising itself as a renderer. If this happens between playlist entries, the app being used can no longer see the renderer so sometimes albums would stop midway. A clue to how to solve this came from my Twonky Server. Twonky caches connections (IP Addresses) and can itself act as a controller on the network. I found that Twonky could still send media to the cached renderer it had saved, even if WDTV was no longer advertised. So WDTV has no problem receiving media streamed to its IP at any point.
The solution is to set up an Open Home playlist server on the NAS. I use ‘BubbleUPNP Server’. Two big advantages to this are:
a) It is always available as a renderer on the network. The main WDTV renderer disappears but its OpenHome version is always there - so I can always send media to it without fail.
b) The playlist is stored on the NAS so is shared across devices - the benefit of moving to OpenHome. If I connect to the OpenHome renderer in my app, it will detect the centralised playlist, playing track and the current position of the player (i.e. mid-track). Also, the controller app can shut down and the playlist will continue playing.
The above solutions have been rock solid for over a month - I even went on vacation for two weeks, left the WDTV on, and could send media to it reliably on my return without a restart. I have not had to restart WDTV since implementing the above and have had ZERO problems (though I have restarted a number of times to test whether the renderer comes back online okay and it does).
That’s not to say there aren’t serious bugs in the firmware - the fact its interface is virtually useless due to reliability issues means it definitely has major problems which look unlikely to be fixed. However, before consigning it to the trash, the above means it can be reliably used as a network renderer - I don’t even have it connected to a display, it just sits on the network for music use and I occasionally connect my projector to it for (reliably streamed) movies.
I hope the above helps some people as the resale value on these things means it’s not really worth selling on.