WDTV Live alternative

We really love these players but one of them is starting to breakdown after many years of quality service. So we are looking for a replacement. I really wish WD would come out with a new player with x265 support because no one creates a better player than you guys. (No one is even in the same league!)

I’m wondering if anyone has been able to find something close to this player. I just spoke with Roku and their top-of-the-line (Ultra 4K) player has a lot of lacking features compared to the WDTV Live. It doesn’t retrieve metadata (reads from within a file), no xvid\divx and spotty Dolby Digital support. Doesn’t work well with a NAS storage device.

We’ve been ripping our dvds since 2000 and have an extensive collection of thousands of videos. Many of the older ones are with xvid\divx and we really don’t want to re-rip. Nor do we want to go into every video and add metadata information. We don’t care about apps, we just want something to stream the collection through NAS and usb HDs.

WD you left a huge hole the market. Really wish you would reconsider
getting back in the game. In the meanwhile, can anyone offer some suggestions on a replacement?

You really should have searched this site before posting, because this question has been asked for years . So, search the site for Amazon Fire TV; I have mentioned it (along with MrMC app} as a good and inexpensive alternative. I have two WDTVs, but when I needed a third one I used my Fire TV stick and put the Kodi app on it and later switched to using MrMC app from Amazon app store since it is a simpler app that is a derivative of Kodi.

There are pricier alternatives such as Android media player boxes and Raspberry Pi.

BTW, what is the problem with your WDTV?

Technology changes so fast that anything that is 16 months or older, is not even worth looking at. I’m having trouble finding something that is current in 2017, so I know those other post are no longer valid.

Amazon Fire TV is even more limiting than the Roku I mentioned. I would have to convert an additional 15% more files than the Roku, just to use it. What’s worse, Amazon has been caught recording private conversations and there’s an ability to ease drop with any product that uses Alexa’s voice commands. I recommend, that you never recommend this product again and warn people not to use it.

Unfortunately, all the Android devices I looked at have been discontinued. I guess there really isn’t a player that’s comparable to the wdtv. I probably will have to buy a used one for replacement.

The player that is going bad sometimes doesn’t power on correctly. We hit power on the remote and nothing happens. So we have to unplug the unit, wait a few seconds and plug it back in. It’s ok for a little while and it happens again.

We tried swapping the power cords but it still happens. We also tried swapping the remotes of the 2 players - still happens. We tried a different power strip and then plugging into a different outlet. Still happens. Finally, we tried resetting it to factory defaults but it didn’t matter. The unit is slowly dying and I don’t think it has much more life left in it.

I wrote a post here yesterday about using Fire TV as a media player. You would have seen it if you had searched.

You are reading and believing too many urban legends about Amazon equipment. You may as well say the same about Google Home, too. The thing we really need to worry about spying on us is our cell phones which track our every move. We also need to be concerned about creeps breaking into our phones to spy on us. and steal our info in the phone.

Amazon doesn’t give a rip about people’s conversations – the Alexa devices were made for one main purpose: so people can easily buy more stuff from Amazon-- they are “buying devices”.

I have not had to transcode any of my videos, be they in ISO files, MKVs or mp4. All the Fire TV does is display what movie the MrMC app sends to it from a server, and app can play many different video and audio formats. It is no different than a WDTV in this regard

I also do not need your misguided advice of what to recommend as an alternative to WDTV. BTW, you will likely pay a big price for a used WDTV, the scalpers are all over eBay waiting for folks like you who want to buy one.

I like Amazon as a company but they can’t be trusted. If you want to call facts urban legend, so be it; you have the right to stay ignorant. I know hackers who love gullible people like you. Fortunately, anyone can do a little digging to find out the truth on their own. So I won’t debate this any longer. I said my peace and I’m moving on from this topic.

I found on the net used players from $60-100. I can live with that being there really isn’t a good replacement player. Nothing today (that I found) plays xvid or divx videos and I have far too many to re-rip.

EDIT UPDATE: Amazon has been exposed [April 2019] in the news for having employees listen in on Alexa devices. Don’t trust their technology.

I too have the need for a replacement to the WDTV. Someone must know something that will help.
I love this box and I am also looking for a replacement. This is to guard against a possible failure. Why would such a valuable item be discontinued? ( It must be a conspiracy). I have not found any boxes which will play VOBs (VIDEO_TS.VOB). The WDTV plays them. Just choose the play button on the VIDEO_TS folder through the network shares menu. All other boxes and programs I have researched state some excuse or another why they cannot play VOB files. ??? PlayOn, will not. Shield TV, will not. Kodi, will not. Plex, will not. Fire, will not. They all do so much, next some may even wash your dishes and cook your meals, but what happened to the simple act of playing a saved DVD from which I have way too many to convert. All my DVD backups are saved as full complete disks over 12 TB.

Perhaps is there a standalone VLC player in a seperate box? (choose Media/Open folder/“Name of Movie”)

My observations are that not many play VOB, instead they play the ISO file of complete DVD or convert it to MKV to play on their WDTV. So, why not just play the ISO files? Kodi plays them too, as well as MKVs. The fact that none of the main players do not play VOBs tells me something about what are considered the standard formats.

Although pricey, the Nvidia Shield TV will do everything the WDTV Live can do and more. WDTV, IMO, was ahead of its time and because of marketing limitations and other factors, it didn’t get the fair shake it should have. Anyway, out of the myriad of “android boxes” out there, I do own the 2017 Nividia Shield TV after extensive research when looking to replace my aging WDTV Live and WDTV Live Plus. I recently purchased a Mecool M8S Pro W from Banggood and I have tried and purchased the Xaiomi Mi Box for my brother-in-law and mother-in-law. The Mi Box is limited for my tastes because of a few small factors: it doesn’t have an ethernet port (something I wanted in my next box) so it MUST have a wifi signal available just to set it up and the on board processor is a bit slow but works. Matter of fact, I was going to purchase it for myself as my WDTV replacement but continued researching and saved the extra cash for the Shield TV…never been happier.

So, if price is a concern, may I recommend the Xaiomi Mi Box if you don’t mind a wireless signal for your data connection or go with the Mecool M8S Pro W. Both will cost you under $100. If price is not a concern then go with the Nvidia Shield TV - I first thought the hype was a bit over the top but THIS THING is the real deal and lives up to the title of best media box on the market right now.

Hope this helps a bit.

Would this add the metadata to the movie files as well?


if you install Kodi, then yes.

But what if I did t want it streaming wise but instead via a usb hard drive like the wd tv live?

Kodi will display metadata from your streamed video files (eg. i’m streaming my video files from my WD MyCloud) just the same as from USB hard drive.

Try this setup if using Kodi. After trying builds over and over, I wanted something that showed metadata without having to use a build or a lot of add-ons that I don’t need. I chose this method because I only wanted to use Kodi for my personal media library and didn’t need it for stream sources and everything else. Check out the following Youtube link: [REMOVED DUE TO FORUM RULES AND GUIDELINES “COPYRITE POLICY”]

If you need quick, easy and accurate metadata files, search for WDTV HubGen It is an excellent app that you simply tell it the folder that contains your movies and hit OK, then it searches for all that don’t have an xml file and then you can double click on that file and it brings up the choices it found (or search manual if if can’t find it due to your naming convention), you pick the one that matches and it downloads the jpg and creates xml with metadata based on the one you chose.

How are you dealing with no DD 5.1 or DTS on Android devices? All the units I’ve tried with Android 6 doesn’t support DD or DTS. When using KODI on any Droid 6 devices in direct pass-thru the drioid freaks out the audio system.

I do not have any Android players.

Well, I finally broke down and bought a Shield TV. My trusty WDTV will be relegated to the guest room - I still love it but wanted my streaming services and local media all on one device.

The Shield TV, along with Kodi 17.6 Krypton supports passthrough DD, including TrueHD and DTS, including DTS HD MA, just like the WDTV.

Kodi takes some getting used to. But my experience modding some files in my WDTV got me familiar enough with the XML structure to do some mods on the skin I use in Kodi. The results are good for me now. Also, I use the FLIRC usb IR receiver to allow full control of the Shield and Kodi with my Harmony remote, so I have a very wife-friendly remote experience (critical).

It’s been a difficult transition as I was resistant to switching from WDTV for a long time.

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I, too, with horror await the death of the WD TV streaming.
My requirements are very modest. Watch video from PC through shared folder, audio 2.0.
4K and so on are not needed.
So far, the choice of two devices:
Nvidia Shield is a great value for my modest demands.
Xiaomi Mi Box - no internet port.
Maybe someone will advise something else?

sorry to inform you, but it passed away years ago. RIP

I stopped used WD TV devices 3 years ago with the release of the Raspberry Pi 2 and later upgraded to Raspberry Pi 3 … both running Kodi (XMBC) Media Software.

I mostly just watch 1080p via USB HDD and also use Network Shares … have had literally no issues in those 3 years. Super reliable, easy to use and is updated regularly when online services changes.

I tried Kodi on Android (and it’s many forks) … not a fan. Too many hardware and software compatibility issues. Have a friend that keeps buying Android boxes against my advice … he’s always phoning me about something not working properly. (Nvidia Shield included)

Of course everyone’s mileage will vary, but here are my immediate thoughts on the Shield TV:

  1. Playing 1080p content and MP3s from an attached HDD is great via Kodi, once you get the hang of library management.

  2. I used to keep all my music on a networked PC and WDTV had no problem shuffling the M3U playlists I would create and store along with the music. I abandoned WDTV’s media library capabilities years ago because of this flexibility in playing remote playlists. With Kodi on the shield it’s the opposite. I found it easiest to let Kodi do its music library thing and then I make Smart Playlists which I launch from a custom menu. Using the Fuse (Neue) skin this is pretty simple.

  3. Speaking of streaming local media vs attached storage, I did notice hiccups with my music library while on the remote PC. JoeySmith, maybe this is one of those Android things you spoke of. I found some songs would cut off about 3 seconds early. I’m researching but, in the meantime, I just keep a set of my music with my movies on the attached HDD. Works great.

  4. UX. I bought the Flirc remote and now have full control over media playback on my Harmony remote just like I had with the WDTV. The Shield remote is fine but limited and I am not a fan of voice control. Also, toggling between Kodi and streaming apps is as easy as on any Android device. My start, stop, play, fast forward, etc buttons all work the same way in every app, making Kodi, Amazon, Netflix, et al play well together.

oldman777, I’d suggest if you go the Kodi route you should look for devices that are getting good Kodi AND manufacturer support. There is a thread on the Kodi forums that is a sort of guide as to what devices work for the way you plan to use it. The Raspberry Pi is good, so is the Shield. There are other choices too so keep researching.