Using WD TV Live without the TV on


I am new to forums, and have just purchased a WDTV Live Media Streamer.  Unfortunately I am working away from home at the moment, so will have to wait till the weekend to install it.

When thinking about how I would like to use it, one important requirement would be to play music.  It would be great to do so without switching the TV on as I find that intusive, and just use my Google Nexus 7 tablet as a remote.  I envisage it would work like this:

  • The WDTV box is hooked up to my 10 year old Marantz Receiver via optical cable (and the TV via HDMI).  
  • That I would use the WDTV app on my Nexus 7 to navigate to Spotify and play the music.

Is this possible?  Is it as simple as that?  Would I need the TV on?  Would I need my DLNA networked PC on?

Apologies if this is a numpty question.



Yes, it’s possible.

But, what do you expect the WD App to do?   You can’t use it to navigate music – only to control playback (Pause, Play, Skip, FF, etc…)

No, you don’t need a DLNA PC turned on if the music you’re playing is local to the WDTV…

ah - didn’t know that you can’t navigate the Music using the App, which means that the TV will have to be on, which defeats the aim.

Is there a way of streaming the music direct from the Spotify App on the mobile to the WDTV box, or will I need a discrete bluetooth receiver like THIS to do that?

Am I the only one who doesn’t want the TV on to listen to music :), or do others have any good work arounds?

I just use playlists.

So do I, but surely you can’t navigate to the playlist without switching on the TV.

Now you’re just being picky.  :smileyvery-happy:

I turn on the TV.

I start the playlist.

I turn off the TV.

If you REQUIRE not turning on the TV, then you shouldn’t be buying a TV-based media player.  ;)

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Got it.  I will be using it for other media, but think I will get a bluetooth music streamer as well.


I do what you ask about –  all the time – I listen to my entire iTunes library of music via the WD media player, and with the TV off.  This requires a proper set up to do so.

How it works for me:

The HDMI output from the WD goes into one of the HDMI inputs of the TV.  The analog out audio of the TV goes into my analog stereo amp.  I can select it from the amp.  But, the TV needs to be on for this, so:

I have a switch box that the analog out of the WD goes into (along with other audio outs, e,g, from the Roku)

Now, the output of the switch box goes into the amp into an audio input  (e.g. tape in – who uses that anymore!).  So, I switch off the TV’s audio at the amp, select the other audio in from the switch box, turn off the TV and I can still listen to the audio from the WD (or the Roku, etc.)

I, too, use playlists to listen to my music collection from the (non-copy protected) iTunes music files on the drive connected to the WD.  I have written quite a few messages describing how to create playlists ( including random ones) in  iTunes to use on the WD drive, and you can search this site for those messages.

Thanks Mike,

I will look into the hardware setup when I get home.  But I still don’t see from your description how I can just walk into the lounge, pick up my tablet and kick off and navigate a playlist without the TV on.

I am sensing that I will need two solutions.  For the above, I will need to stream from the tablet to a bluetooth media streamer and accept the loss in sound quality.  For other media streaming (ie movies and when I don’t mind using the TV for music), I will use the WDTV Live.

Hopefully some day, they will improve the App.  Just found this review of the App which is appropriate:

Daniel  - November 4, 2012 - Version 1.1.1

Works, very limited functionality

I just fired up a new wd tv live, applied all firmware updates. Installed the remote app. No problems connecting/finding my device. ( WD TV Live player is hardwired with static IP) I poked around with it last night for a few hours. I was very disappointed to find I still need to be staring at the TV to control the device with the Android remote app. I expected to be able to at least start items in the “services” section from the remote. I start Pandora from the remote app, and on the screen, its waiting for me to select my Pandora account (already entered/working/saved). But its always an extra step. As far as playing any normal media (either local USB or NFS connected media) you are absolutely required to go navigate the onscreen TV menus. There is no way I have found to use the remote without needing a TV on/visible. Most smart-phone/media player app systems allow you to select your media/streams/playlists from the remote app. So far no go on this app. So far it seems to only replace functionality of the limited function physical remote, adding buttons for “services” (that dont work without further interaction on screen) and the touchscreen keyboard.


Have you looked into using a upnp or dlna app for an iphone or android phone to accomplish this?  In the past I’ve used a program called Plugplayer  to do what I believe you are wanting to do.  It allows you to control multiple upnp players  to determine what media plays on what device.  I used it before Apple provided airplay to stream music to an ipod touch from a NAS drive.  It’s a paid app ($5) for the iphone and android but works fairly well.  I believe there are also some free apps that might do this as well, just don’t know how well they work.  Just wanted to give you another option to try. Good luck.

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I’ll look at it, but I am not sure I need it now as I bought and installed a bluetooth media streamer, and it works beautifully from the tablet (and any other device with music on).  I was beginning to think that the WDTV box would only be used for streaming video and pictures.

Thanks for the reply.



same thinking.

I like to listen to net radios and I wonder if I could simple change channels or music services without switching the TV on. (I was trying discussing the subject in the German part of this forum.)

What about lending a display to the SMP? There are USB sub-displays on the market.

The main question is can we get picture-infos via USB ports of the Wd TV Live player?

No answer came to the main question, but in the meantime I find a 7” LCD security monitor with 2 x BNC Video input (800 x 480 Pixel) – and it works!

Now the SMP has a wonderful display, streaming net-radios, switching between stations, even controlling emails are no problems anymore – without the TV on!


SMP is WLAN connected

Video #1 via HDMI to Panasonic Plasma

Audio #1 via optical cable to Pioneer Receiver

Audio #2 via Mini-Jack to Composite (RCA) to a 2.1 speaker system (to listen news or music only)

Video #2 via Mini-Jack to Composite (using the yellow RCA with BNC adapter) to 7” LCD Monitor

USB Keyboard