WD Live HD can't play MKV files; locks up

I have a WD TV Live HD, model WDBAAN0000NBK.  I thought for sure I have watched one or two MKV files on this at one time before, but now, I have a few new files, and they aren’t working anymore.  I’ve looked up the specifications, and from what I can tell it should be able to play these.  This MKV file is a: video H264-MPEG4-AVC1.

The audio is: A52 (aka AC3). Is this my problem? It says 3 front channels, and 2 rear.  I didn’t see this exact audio specification in the WD specs.

I’ll try to play a file, and the screen blanks like its going to start, and then the bottom where it displays the name of the file goes away, and then nothing happns, if I leave it sit for a while.  I can’ hit the bck button on the remote control, and gain access to the on screen menu again, but its MUCH slower, and then the device won’t play ANY videos until I reset it.

Do you have the latest firmware?


Yes, have latest firmware.  I even tried to update, before posting, but forgot to mention it?  Would reflashing it, via USB do anything, or is that even possible?

The MKV file that you have could be ‘bad’ as far as the player is concerned. If you try to play a ‘bad’ file the player will hang up and not play anything, as you describe. You could try remuxing with mkvmerge (its quick and simple)


I re-encoded it using iFFMPEG, leaving the video stream alone, and just reencoding the audio to AAC, I believe it was.  It doubled the file size, but it played…

I should also mention that the (original) file plays fine in VLC.

bryanb wrote:> I should also mention that the (original) file plays fine in VLC.

VLC is not a good way to judge whether or not the original file was encoded properly because VLC is designed to play broken files, however the WD box will not.

Sounds like a lot of people are having this problem!

I’ve been having the same problem with the WD TV Live unit locking up after trying to play some files! I get the “spinning arrow of death” and the only thing I can do is to reset the unit to get it working again! Even then, I have to be very cautious which files I try to use, to avoid having to constantly reset! VERY ANNOYING!!

If the MKV was created with HandBrake, try re-muxing it via MKVMerge. 

How am I suppose to know if  the uploader used HandBreak, if I am just trying to watch an uploaded file from various hosts??? 

Well, that opens up a whole new world.   When you’re downloading junk from the internet, you have no way of knowing if the file is valid to begin with.

As has been explained numerous times in this forum, use MEDIAINFO to find out the technical details of the file, including how it was encoded.



Well I have the older WD TV HD media player. So i have an older box. So I dont know if this will be any good advice for you. Maybe WD did update the firmware for new WD TV Live so it could play certain kind of .mkv files that I need to tweak.

One thing that my box doesnt play when it comes to .mkv files is when mediainfo reports “HEADER STRIPPING”

What I do is to use mkvtoolnix and mkvmerge gui. I then open mkvmerge and go to option and put a check mark in the box  that says “disable header removal compression for audio and video tracks by default”

Then I add the file that didnt play and remux it with mkvmerge.

Then when you check the file again with mediainfo it will not say “header stripping” and now the file will play in my old box.

It will take a couple of minutes unless you have a slow machine to to the remux.