Some questions from potential buyer

Alright guys, I have done my research, and I really like what I have Seen witht the WD TV Live Media Player. I want to make sure this is the right thing for me, as well as have a few questions answered.

First here is what I am looking for:

  1. One single box that can do everything I need (with the addition of a harddrive, of course). No extra converters, switch boxes, nothing, just the one thing

  2. It needs to work on HDMI (or DVI or component) AND  composite. My girlfriend has an older TV that I use, aswell as I have other older TVs I often use, AND I have a 60 inch plasma, so I need both

  3. Can access Hulu. I know there is some goofy media server or w/e I may need to setup, but I want to access Hulu, and mainly be able to get to my subscriptions

  4. Have a functioning remote, or even better, be able to use a universal remote (to work with the TV)

  5. Be able to use at least a 2 TB harddrive, if not more. I plan on ripping ALL my dvds and my gfs, as well as every tv show I like, have, and may want to watch, so I need a big harddrive

  6. A smooth running menu that I can not only add thumbnails to, but I can also organize into folders, such as Movies, TV shows, and sub folders for each TV show and Season, and either setup a video playlist, or somehow get them in order (maybe just need to name them that way)

  7. If possible, customization is always nice

  8. Able to play AVI (xvid), MP4, WMV, (i have converters if not) and if possible, ISO, so I can have access to menus

  9. Most my files wont be super high quality. As a general rule, i stick to about 350mb per 45mins. So most movies will be from 700-900mb. Im happy with that quality. For me, its quanity over quality

  10. BUT I want to be able to play HD when I want to. Such as Avatar, I want that in the highest possible quality, 1080p, so if I have the right file, I want it to work

  11. I want something that isnt going to be replaced in two months, and totally forgotten. I have had some poor customer service with WD in the past, and dont want the same to occur

  12. The possibility to use the box to send a composite feed with my laptop (only has HDMI out)

I know thats kinda a wall  but any help woult be greatt. Also, any suggestions on affordable external harddrive? Im looking to spend like 300 on this whole rig. Thanks in advanced


Welcome to the forums.

  1. It will even serve you breakfast in bed.

No, seriously?  How can we possibly know?  It really depends on your own personal situation.  You may need a wireless network adapter if you don’t have the ability to wire it to your network.  You may need a switch box if you have more inputs to your TV than your TV can handle.  And what, exactly, are your needs?  The Live can’t record TV, nor can it play every media type a PC can – no media converter can.  But although I have no illusions about what isn’t right about it, the Live is still the best media player out there, bar none (I have three and may even buy a fourth).

  1. Yep – it also comes with the component and composite cables you need.

  2. I dunno – someone else here will answer (don’t do Hulu, don’t care)

  3. The remote is adequate.  I have a Harmony remote I programmed to work better with it.

  4. 2TB is the largest drive you can attach locally – it won’t support larger, nor will it support an enclosure that slaves drives together (so you can’t get around that limitation that way).  You can, of course, attach whatever network storage and/or NAS you want (I have around 8TB on my system).

  5. You can do this but it will be up to you to organize it the way you want – I have one of my local drives set up just the way you describe it.

  6. No, not at all.  There is third party firmware (Google B-Rad) that may allow some degree of it, but it looks like a PITA to me to use.

  7. It plays those containers you mention, but be aware those are just CONTAINERS – they can contain a lot of ■■■■ in them that won’t play.  It will play the standard audio and video codecs.  What it likes more than anything else is MKV files (which is why nearly all my blu-rays and DVDs are converted to that format).  It will do ISOs (for DVDs it will even do the menus, but not for blu-rays and never will).

  8. Question?

  9. My blu-ray rip of Avatar (around 17GB) is *excellent* – you cannot tell it from the original disc (we played it on my 9’ HD projection screen for a roomful of folks).

  10. Who knows?  WD, like any company, is constantly improving their product line and offering new and improved entries.  But they do seem to support older units, like the WD TV (not the Live) so at least in that regard you’re okay.  Plus we have one of the largest active community of helpers around here that can solve most every issue you’ll have.

  11. Um, I’m not sure what you’re asking here.  You can send a signal from the Live to anything that can accept it – and you can use a HDMI-DVI convertor (they are the same signal) to send it to a computer monitor, if that’s what you want to do.

External drives go on sale all the time – Amazon had the Omega external 1.5TB yesterday for $80.  But you have to keep an eye out for them.

@Fault, I’ll just add my two-cents to the already outstanding answers Mike gave you:

  1. It will not work with Hulu (at least for now).

  2. It will work with a 2TB drive.  I have two 1.5TB drives and they work swimmingly.

  3. Menu is quick and you can easily organize movies and TV shows the way you described.  I have it working the same way.

  4. If you purchase the Live Plus then you will have no problem playing DVD menus.  However, if you end up with just the Live then only the pre-release beta firmware will give you DVD menus.

  5. If you convert your HD movies to mkv with Handbrake’s High Profile setting using AC3 passthru, then you virtually will not be able to tell the difference between the original and the copy.

  1.  It will not work with Hulu NATIVELY.    PlayOn software supports Hulu, and WDTV supports PlayOn.

Wow thanks for the reponses guys. Yea I had heard of using playon, im curious how well it works, if people are satisfied with it. What I meant in my last question is I have  a HDMI out on my computer, which allows me to use my TV as a monitor. I was curious if I could use WD TV Live like my HDMI out, but instead send a composite feed.

Also looked at the B-Rad, so far I think it looks kinda cool. The menus are awesome, that allow you to see all the info about the movie, I really like that

I see, so in other words, you want to you the Live as a passthru from your laptop to the TV converting an HDMI signal to composite.  I don’t think the Live can do that since it only provides outputs.  You may be able to attach your laptop via a USB cable and have the Live access your drive as a share, but I’ve never tried this and don’t know if it would work either.  Maybe someone else can comment on this?

Nonetheless, if you have movies on your laptop, you can always transfer them to a USB flash drive and play them that way.  I do this all the time and it beats having to worry about shares and networks.  Or you could also buy an external hard drive, which you can always have connected.  This also works for me too.

I would not buy this device with the expectation that it can play from hulu in the future.  I bought the WD TV live about a year ago hoping that streaming netflix would be added. Right before the Plus player was launched it was announced that the live would not be able to stream netflix because it needed an additional chip. I think it was clear that WD knew this player would never support netflix as they were developing the plus model, but they continued to ignore requests in the forums for netflix as a new feature. They could’ve just told us right then that this unit would never get that capability.

So I went to sell my WD TV live on ebay but I found the market is saturated with refurbished units. I also am unable to play most .mkv files at this point, and there is no sign that a firmware update will fix the issue (they seem to be busy working out the netflix bugs in the Plus unit).  After this experience I will not recommend this device, and will probably look to other solutions in the future.