WD firmware what works and what doesn't

Let start with the GUI itself

For the most part it works but some parts are rather clunky and not well thought out.

The media library separates things into folders that you add rather then one list of movies or TV shows…boxee actually gets this one correct go figure.

This also makes the folders going missing from media library when a NAS or drive doesn’t respond fast  enough a major issue.

The average user doesn’t care which folder its in he merely wants to pick from a list of movies like netflicks does and play.


In the ui is a total mess mostly because the above folder media library.Try filtering horror and comedy easly in the media library.


No remote control options but we know the firmware has  controls for it do to it being in the android remote app.

A option to put it into the remote should have been added ages ago.


The firmware upgrade is sometimes hit and miss over the internet and can lead to odd problems upon upgrade.

This is a issue with nearly all devices regardless of manufacture but Wd needs to make it clear in the new firmware posts on how to upgrade from USB so as not to get long threads with issues caused by online upgrades gone bad.


The WD does a terrible job of updating info.

If old or incorrectly done metadata id done for a TV series and later corrected the wd well often still use the old info rather then updating and getting to use the new info is at times a major pain.


For the most part the WD play everything you can throw at it but fast forwarding is very outdated.

It feels like your using a vcr and need to fast forward and wait tell you get where you want.

Here were the boxee box does something correct again and lets you push left or right on the remote to zip to where you want.

Post  if you can think of parts of the ui that feel old and badly fuctional.

The firmware for the WD devices works but is like a car from five years ago. It runs but its last years tech and look.

We are not talking a hardware issues here but a firmware that’s just not kept up with the times and feels old.

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Totally agree, i have encountered the same frustration and error in all of the point you have described.

For my point of view in next firmware they have to fix first and then implement:

  1. a goto HH:MM:SS to western digital youtube

  2. Hd video in western digital application

Wd could create a beta section of firmware where someone of us of the community could test first the fw and report all bug\issue introducted by the update…

And for last wd have to hear his customers, and sometimes (very often) they don’t… Here in this community we are talking alone. Here in this community we suggest ideas, we report bug and then when we see the changelog of the latest fw we see a lot of useless things or fix…

For example why this idea don’t have at least an official answers ?  http://community.wdc.com/t5/WD-TV-Live-Streaming-Ideas/Allow-modding/idi-p/312098

For now i don’t remember other bug or bad functionality of the wd firmware.

I only just got my WDTV Live so here are my first impressions.

Upon first bootup the colours were wrong, I did a firmware update and they were still wrong.  So I did a quick search and discovered that the Auto mode for HDMI often doesn’t work.  After switching HDMI to 1080p/24, 12bit, High RGB things look very nice.  I’m not sure any of my content uses deep colour but it does seem to boost the contrast, shadow detail seems better and cartoons in particular look really punchy on this setting.  It may be wrong from a videophile point of view but it looks better to me.  Unfortunately its known the HDMI setting gets periodically wiped, it seems if it loses the signal to the TV it resets back to Auto which is very annoying as sometimes it will work, sometimes it wont. 

It seems this all down to avoiding end user error, but personally like many other people complaining on the forums if I choose a specific settings I want it to stick to it, forever, no exception, that is what the reset button on the bottom should be for - to revert to factory settings if you messed things up.  Although it would also make a lot of sense to let you choose Auto 1080p, where it switches between 24/50/60Hz depending on the content.  Its annoying that no devices seem to support this short of Bluray players when playing Bluray titles only, never streaming.

Despite what you said I found fast forwarding quite decent.  You can go forwards at up to 32x speed, can pick a specific point to jump to or press !<< >>| to jump several minutes (I didn’t notice how many and presumably if the media you are playing has chapters they will override the default).  I agree pushing left and right would be useful for a more accurate seek, but its not the end of the world its missing.  That is all when streaming an MKV file from DLNA that crashes both my LG TV and Sony Bluray player when I tried to fast forward.

Biggest problem so far is Netflix seems to go dodgy after a while and get stuck in the lowest quality requiring a power cycle to fix.  Then again the PS3 does this too sometimes.  I haven’t seen it hit SuperHD yet, but neither does the PS3 a lot of the time due to me using a DNS service to watch US content. 

When it comes to actual playback I feel that Netflix on the WD has maybe a slightly better picture quality at 1080 HD than the PS3, at worst its identical.  This is good news considering the PS3 wipes the floor for picture quality out of all the consoles and PC in my experience.

Even better is the sound is correctly bitstreaming as Dolby Digital + whereas the PS3 only did Dolby Digital which suggests it was throwing away the extra data.  I had always assumed my receiver just said Dolby Digital for both versions as Dolby Digital Plus as the only other sources I have for DD+ material is HD-DVD and as I only have the Xbox 360 for that it can’t handle bitstreaming the + data either.  Sound quality on Netflix is definitely clearer.

I can engage my TVs frame doubling engine and it stays smooth most of the time, on the PS3 it would often end up going judder, smooth, judder, which is what happens when the frames are not delivered to the TV with a consistent timing causing the engine to skip generating frames.

So fingers crossed that power cycling will avoid the issues people have complained about as I only really bought this for playing Netflix as the PS3 is too noisy when trying to watch at night

So could it be improved?  Absolutely. 

I particularly would like an option to adjust the audio delay as my TV has quite high input lag when using the best picture quality settings, but I do not adjust the delay on my receiver as then it makes playing Singstar/Rock Band impossible due to being delayed too much for Game mode (and it takes minutes to adjust the setting on my reciever, not practical to do every day).  Another reason it should be better to keep video duties away from the PS3, no need to keep swapping between Game and Movie modes, except the WD is missing this very obvious option.

There is certainly a lot it does great.

Also unlike other box’s it actually has support and gets updates.

I think the issues it got can be lumped into three areas.


Ui needs someupdating as some of its outdated and some parts are unintuitive.


Both wireless and media libray have issues and the later made worse to the wieless bugs.


They need to not remove options  that let people make it look and feel like they want …example rss feed and movie sheets.

All can be fixed and i think they are being worked on.

Its fortunate that primarily I got it to use Netflix, I will also use it to play MKVs though as some work on my TV, some work on my Sony Bluray, I am hoping instead ALL will work on the WD to stop this annoying guesswork.  It also supports a lot more audio formats which is useful, transcoding is half the problem when trying to get other devices to work.

WiFi is probably the single most problematic thing for end users, again I probably won’t use it although I might test it just to see how it works.  Generally I don’t have WiFi issues with anything I own, seems I got lucky with my configuration for WiFi that everything “just works”.  I think a lot of WiFi issues are down to neighbors running poor WiFi equipment that interferes.

Turns out the Netflix issue I had earlier might not have been the WD at all, the PS3 was struggling too at that point.  Its just confusing as one second Netflix works fine and then its like someone flicked a switch and the next title I try to stream gets stuck in SD or keeps buffering.  I think this is just the nature of trying to access the US service from the UK.