Wdtv faq

LAST UPDATE – 11/22/10


1) General
2) Sharing and Log-in issues
3) Network Connectivity
4) Playback Issues
5) Storage
6) When all-else Fails:  Reporting Bugs

1) General

A) What’s the difference between the WDTV Live and the Live+?

The ONLY functional difference (aside from internal hardware and firmware) is that the Live+ supports NetFlix streaming. Hereafter, both units will be referred to generically as WDTV.

B) Are there any OFFICIAL documents I should look at first?

Absolutely!   Here’s a bunch.

C) I’ve heard that the WDTV will “Brick” (render useless) itself when upgrading firmware over the internet, and that I should NOT do that.

This was the case over a year ago, with version 1.01.12 for the WDTV Live.   If your unit has firmware OLDER than that (particularly a concern with a freshly purchased unit), it is recommended you upgrade via USB.  However, there have been no widespread issues since then, so it’s up to you how you proceed.

D) I’ve posted Bug Reports here in the forum, but no one seems to care.

Though, officially, this forum is an outlet of Western Digital, this is a user support forum.  So, WE do care.  However, while WD technicians and staff do occasionally read these forums, they often do NOT respond, even though they may be aware and working on the issue.   See “Reporting Bugs,” below, for how best to use this forum for issues.   Your best bet for any significant issue is to use their formal support channels. 

E) I’ve got a good suggestion for an enhancement.   What do I do with it?

Check out the IDEAS LAB section of the forum.  Start by Searching the Ideas Lab to see if another user has already posted the idea.  If you find it, VOTE for it.  Though the contents of the Ideas Lab are often seriously Out of Date, WD has provided evidence that they DO LISTEN.  Examples:  DVD Navigation: Added.   NetFlix streaming:  Added (as a new product.)  USB Keyboard Support: Added.  Additional Wireless support:  Added.  Etc. etc.   If the Idea is NOT there, post a new suggestion, and be as clear and succinct as possible.  Then, be patient.  It can take a LONG TIME for any obvious response. 

F) What’s this I hear about “Hacked Firmware?”

Yes, it does exist, “out there.”  The most often cited is WDLXTV, which does seem to be making some good stuff. This isn’t the place to talk about issues with non-WD firmware.

G) None of the remedies described below apply, or fix my problem.  What else can I try?

  • RESET the unit by pressing the small button next to the power socket.
  • Unplug the unit and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before plugging back in.
  • Go to Settings and select Restore Factory Settings.  After this, you’ll have to re-establish your desired configuration items.

H) I’ve lost my Component Video cable (Or composite)

You can call WD Tech Support and order a new one, OR you can substitute Composite and Component cables by using the below colors of the other cable.

  • YELLOW is the same as GREEN, and is the “Tip” of the 3.5mm plug.
  • WHITE is the same as BLUE, and is the first ring of the 3.5mm end.
  • RED is the same as RED, and is the second ring.
  • The GROUND of all three RCA plugs is the sleeve of the 3.5mm end.

There are equivalent 3.5mm to RCA Three-Lead cables in stores, but the colors may not match. 

I) After updating firmware, I’m having problems with things that previously worked fine.

First, though it’s annoying, go into the options menu and do a RESTORE TO FACTORY DEFAULTS.  That seems to address most complaints (other than actual new bugs.)  If that doesn’t address your issues, check the forum for similar issues.  See FAQ section 6 below.

2) Sharing and Log-in issues

A) I’ve set up shares on my PC that contain media, but my WDTV doesn’t show my server when I access Network Shares.


  • You actually have SHARING Enabled, and that the shares are not “Hidden.”
  • The Workgroup Name of both the WDTV and the server are EXACTLY the same.
  • You can PING the WDTV from the PC that’s sharing.
  • You can see the sharing PC from another PC or Laptop.
  • If you have MULTIPLE WDTVs, they have unique names.  The Default name of WDTVLIVE will conflict with every other unit if you do not change them to something unique.

If your PC has recently rebooted, it may take up to 30 minutes for the PC to show up on the WDTV.   This is a limitation of Microsoft Networking.  It’s best to make sure the PC is booted and ready before turning on your WDTV.

There are also apparently some compatibility issues with certain NAS devices running older versions of SAMBA.   You may need to modify the configuration of that device (see the instructions for that device) for the WDTV to successfully negotiate security parameters.  It would help others if you post details about your experience in the forums.

B) I can see my PC that has my shares, but when I select it, I get an error that the User ID or Password is incorrect.  I am certain they are correct.

This was a common problem on Windows 7 machines that had “Windows Live Sign-In Assistant” (no relation to WDTV Live) or “Windows Live Essentials 2011” installed.  However, this issue was resolved in firmware 1.04.10.

Otherwise, try using a simple User ID and password.  Some characters that are legal in Windows are not legal with the WDTV and cause issues.  

Try turning OFF Password protected sharing, and that you are sharing your files with “EVERYONE.”  The default user id “Anonymous” with no password should function.

C) I can see my PC that has my shares, and I can access the shares from the WDTV, but I get an error message that no media is available.


Double check the permissions on the files.  If you’re using Anonymous login, make sure “Everyone” has at least Read Access to the files.  If you’re using a User ID and password, make sure that that user has at least Read Access to the files.  You can do this in Windows 7 and Vista by Exploring the root that you’ve shared, and right clicking a file or folder.  Select PROPERTIES.  Select the SECURITY tab.  Under GROUP or USER NAMES, select Everyone (or the user you are logging in as) in the lower half of the window, the Permissions should have checkmarks next to “Read & Execute” and “Read.”  If it’s a folder, “List Folder Contents” should also be checked.  These checkmarks must be in the “ALLOW” Column.

If you are using a NAS device, examine its security logs for hints as to what the issue may be.

D) What else can I try?

Occasionally, firmware updates can create issues when trying to log in to Network Shares.  This may be a possible remedy:

  • Under NETWORK SETTINGS, select Auto Login to Network Shares, and set to OFF.
  • Then, select Clear Login Info for Network Shares, and OK.
  • Try to log in again.
  • If successful, go back to Network Settings and change Auto Login back to ON if desired.

3) Network Connectivity

A) Should I use Wired Ethernet or Wireless?

If wired Ethernet is an option for you, by all means, USE IT!   Wired Ethernet provides a more reliable connection than Wireless.

B) I’ve plugged in a USB Wireless Dongle but I don’t see Wireless Configuration in the menu.

If when selecting “Network Configuration,” you do NOT see a choice between Wired and Wireless, then the WDTV does not recognize or support the attached adapter.  If your adapter exactly matches one on the WD-provided list of compatible adapters, call tech support.

C) I cannot find a compatible adapter where I live.  What should I do?

If a wired connection is not an option, consider using a Wireless “Bridge.”  A bridge is configured to work with your wireless network by temporarily attaching it to your PC via USB or wired network.  Once configured, the bridge is then remove from the PC and connected to the WDTV using an Ethernet cable.  Your WDTV will be configured as if it was attached to a wired network.  The chances of compatibility issues between the bridge and the WDTV are very remote.

D) The Wireless Dongle I purchased IS listed on the Supported Adapter sheet, but it DOES NOT WORK!

First, CALL WDTV Tech Support and TELL THEM.   They need to know so they can update the documentation.  Vendors will often change chipsets mid-production (with no change in “Revision” or notice) to maximize competitive pricing.  An adapter meeting the description in the list DID pass the WD certification, and then the vendor changed the product after this testing was performed.

4)  Playback Issues

A) The WDTV documentations says that it supports AVI (or MKV or WMV or M2TS) but when I try to play it, it says it’s invalid!  What the Heck!?

That’s only part of the issue.  AVI, MKV, M2TS, etc. are only containers. They are not video formats.  An AVI file could contain QuickTime Video (which is supported), or it could contain DV streams, which are not supported.  An MKV could contain AVC (which is supported) or WMV2 (which is not.)   Each container can also carry multiple audio types, not all of which are supported by the WDTV.  See “How to Re-encode” below.


B) When playing back a video, it occasionally pauses, loses audio, or stutters.  What’s wrong?

This is often the result of a poor wired network connection or lack of available bandwidth on your wireless network.   If you are using a USB drive, ensure that both the USB drive and cable are USB 2.0 and defragment the drive.  If you’re accessing a remote system using wired connections, ensure that all associated devices on your Ethernet network are connected at 100 Megabits per second.  If none of these issues apply, it could be that your media bit rate is too high for the WDTV to process.   See “How to Re-encode” below.

C) This file works on my PC, so I *KNOW* the file is OK.

No, you only know that the file is OK to play on your PC.   PCs have a VAST number of codecs and software available to them.  They have tremendous amounts of memory available to buffer the streams, often a direct path to storage devices, as well as processors that have considerably more capability than a standalone device.  So, just because it plays on your PC does not guarantee that the file should work on the WDTV.  As the WDTV is entirely hardware and firmware based, it will not have the capabilities of playing the same media that PCs are able to play.

D) I’m trying to play a DVD, but the menus and navigation aren’t working.  It just plays everything back-to-back.   What’s wrong?

  • You must be running firmware version 1.03 or higher.
  • If your DVD is ripped as a collection of VOBs in a VIDEO_TS folder, you must play the file named VIDEO_TS.VOB.  If that file doesn’t exist, find the FIRST VOB in the folder (often named VTS_01.VOB or something similar)
  • If it’s still not working, it’s likely a problem with the RIP.  Some DVD Ripping software will corrupt the PGC (ProGram Chain) data making menus useless.  Try using the trial of DVDFab or AnyDVD and rip directly to ISO.

E) I (illegally) downloaded a movie from the internet, and it’s not working right.

You got what you paid for.  This is not the place to be discussing issues with illegal media.


F) How to Re-encode

If you have a file that is not supported or causes playback issues on the WDTV, consider “Re-encoding” them using a program such as “HandBrake.”   ( http://www.handbrake.fr) Handbrake supports a large number of input file types, and software is available for Windows, *nix, and Macintosh systems.  Import the file into Handbrake, select the “High Profile” preset, and output to MKV using h.264 video.  Try the resulting MKV file on the WDTV.   If the bit rate is still too high, you can try increasing the “RF” factor to numbers higher than 22.  Quality will be degraded as the RF as increased, but so will the required bandwidth.  A side benefit of re-encoding is that the resulting files will often be significantly smaller than the source media with no noticeable loss of quality.


G) I still need help!  My file is causing problems and I don’t know what to do next.

Install the freeware software called MediaInfo ( http://mediainfo.sourceforge.net) Load the file with MediaInfo, and select VIEW/Text.  Copy the results and paste them along with your question into the correct forum topic.

H) I have some MKV files that the WDTV doesn’t play.  Either there’s video but no audio, or vice versa, or doesn’t do anything!


The Matroska specification allows for a form of compression called “Header Removal,”   though before July 2010, was rarely encountered.  The WDTV Live players before version 1.03.49 do not support this form of compression, and may not give an error if it’s encountered.  This issue was corrected in version 1.03.49.

I) After attempting to play an MKV file affected by the issue described in FAQ 4H, I am unable to play ANY type of file.

As described in Section 4H, certain MKV files will not be playable.  Further, if an attempt is made to play such a file, it may render the WDTV unable to play ANY video files after that.    The main symptom of this is the “Loading” indicator circle continuing to spin without the video ever starting.

To recover from this condition, perform the steps outlined in Section 1G.

J) [WDTV Live+ ONLY] I just tried accessing NetFlix, and receive a message that “Your Instant Queue is Unavailable.”  Everything else seems to be working normally.

It is believed this was corrected in version 1.03.49.  However, if you continue to have this issue, there’s a workaround:

  1. Open Netflix on the Live Plus.  Wait for the error message.
  2. Press the following sequence on the remote: UP, UP, DOWN, DOWN, LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT, UP, UP, UP, UP, ENTER.
  3. Confirm deactivation.
  4. Exit NetFlix.
  5. Restart Netflix.  You will be prompted to activate your unit on the NetFlix website.
  6. Your instant queue should now be avalable.

Sometimes, previous activations will remain on the NetFlix website.  If you are told that you have reached your maximum number of authorized devices, you will need to DE-Authorize the previous entries at the NetFlix website and then try the above again.

5) Storage

A) What are the pros and cons of using Network Attached Storage (NAS) versus regular shares?

Dedicated NAS can provide substantial benefits over a PC running Regular Shares.  Here’s a sampling:

  • More flexible User accounts.  For example, you can set up a user account that only has access to movies that are G and PG rated, and another user account that can access G, PG, and PG-13, and yet another that adds R to the mix.  Depending on which user you log in as via the WDTV, you’ll only be presented with folders to which that user has access.
  • More stable network connectivity.  Several NAS vendors allow the ability for the NAS to become the Windows Master Browser.   This can often completely eliminate the long delay before your server becomes visible on the WDTV.
  • A dedicated NAS consumes substantially less power compared to a typical desktop.  Example:  The author’s desktop (with 2 TB of storage) consumes 150W of power when IDLE.   The author’s NAS (with 8 TB of storage) consumes 18W.
  • Many NAS platforms include additional Value-Added software such as Twonky Media Server, iTunes Library Server, etc. 
  • Several NAS devices are connectible via USB *in addition* to an Ethernet network.
  • But…NAS can be expensive compared to the cost of an external USB drive or just sticking another SATA drive in your desktop.
  • The points described below in Section C also apply to NAS.

B) What are the pros and cons of using USB-connected Storage?

The primary benefit is that the WDTV can manage the “Media Library,” by building a database of all content on the drive. 

  • When you select Audio, you’ll only see Audio.  When you select Video, you’ll only see available Video Files, etc.   This is a desirable behavior compared with NAS or Network Shares, because there is NO content filtering provided when accessing Network storage.  This is a longstanding issue with the WDTV products.  You can help by telling WD how displeased you are with that limitation by calling or e-mailing them.
  • Direct USB attachment provides a measurable performance benefit compared to the same drive being attached to a PC and shared through the network.  Sometimes files will play fine from a USB drive, but not play well when shared across the network.
  • Portability!  You can pack up your WDTV and a portable USB-powered drive or flash stick and head over to the friends for Movie Night, or use it in your SUV or RV on the overhead flat screens (assuming it has the required hookups.)
  • The disadvantage is, well, it’s another drive to have to manage.  It’s usually best to attach the drive to a PC when adding or removing files.   While the WDTV does support network sharing of the USB drives, many people have problems with it.
  • Do NOT put data on an external USB drive that you can’t afford to lose.  There have been a number of reports of data corruption or total loss of data if the drive isn’t properly ejected from the WDTV before unplugging or powering down.
  • Not all drives or enclosures are supported.   Sometimes the drive will not be recognized by the WDTV.   For best results, use disks that are on the Compatibility List.

C) What are the pros and cons of Network Shares?

  • Ease of management; the files are always available to the PC and the WDTVs alike.  You don’t have to move things around between devices.
  • The Duplicate Thumbnails and lack of Media Filtering is, by far, the biggest complaint amoung users of Network Shares.   The WDTV will display ALL media regardless of which mode you’re in.   And, if you’ve created folder.jpg or moviename.jpg files, they will show up when browsing movies and will interrupt “Folder Play” type playback. 

D)  What are the pros and cons of Media Servers?

  • Many DLNA or UPnP servers provide enhanced navigation and powerful sorting capabilities.
  • The DLNA servers do NOT have the same thumbnail issues described above in section C.
  • DLNA servers require their own configuration and maintenance, which may add time and complexity to your setup.
  • DLNA servers often must be manually restarted or otherwise forced to Resynchronize their databases before new files or changes to existing files are recognized by DLNA clients (the WDTV).

6) When all-else Fails:  Reporting Bugs

Yes, there ARE BUGS in these things.  Proper documentation can help folks at WD (who DO examine these reports) get to the root cause, and create a remedy quicker.   Here’s what you need to do.

  • SEARCH for the bug in the forums. 
  • Try searching again.
  • Once again!  … because DUPLICATE bug reports add noise and don’t add value. 
  • If you DO find that the bug is reported, and it’s IDENTICAL to your symptoms, add comments but DO NOT start a new thread.
  • DO NOT contribute to a Bug thread with “My issue is similar, except …”  If it’s different, consider starting a new thread.

If you’re confident that the bug has not been reported, here’s what you need to put in the report:

  • Detailed steps to reproduce the issue
  • Display Make & Model (ie:  Panasonic Viera WTX500-60U)
  • Audio/Visual Receiver Make & Model (ie, Pioneer THX-1019-US)
  • Hookup type:  (Component, optical, HDMI, etc.)
  • Network Setup (Wired or Wireless?  USB-Adapter Make & Model?  Router Make & Model?  NAS?)
  • USB Disk Manufacturer & size
  • Etc.

If the issue is Content specific, a link to where the engineers can download a (LEGAL!) sample would be helpful.

You CANNOT provide too much information!