WDTV Live Hub as USB storage

Just got a Roku 3 for Aereo service and like it so much I am getting another and retiring the 2 WDTV Live Hubs I have. Wondering best way to leverage the 1 TB drives. Should I take the Hubs apart and stick them in a caddy, or is there a way to avoid this by using the USB port?

Why not selling them?

If you want to reuse or access the files on the hub drive then just take them out. They are standard WD drives. The USB ports are an in ports not out.

Hi,

I have 3 WDTVLiveHubs.  I have had 2 of them apart.  The 2 that I have had  apart were thicker than a normal 2.5 drive.

I had purchased 2 nice enclosures for them, but they will NOT fit.  They DO work in a dock though.  I hope my latest one (still under warranty) is the normal size.  Have to wait…

If you connect your PC to your WDs, you could transfer your files off that way. (LAN vs opening up the WDs)

I would never give up my WDs.  I wonder if you are not getting all the bells & whistles working.  What’s not to like?

Hope this helps, Dan

WDjunky wrote:

Hi,

I have 3 WDTVLiveHubs.  I have had 2 of them apart.  The 2 that I have had  apart were thicker than a normal 2.5 drive.

There is no “normal” size for 2.5" drives.  There’s at least 5 different thicknesses (maybe more).

WD, for one, makes 5, 7, 9.5, and 15mm thick drives.  Seagate adds 9.65mm to the mix.

1 Like

Roku has the Amazon VOD and tonnes more content and streams local OTA channels via Aereo. No comparison in terms of raw content even with Playon which i used to use with WDTV. Also, the interface and playback is super stable and responsive on Roku – WDTV was **mostly** stable, often required reboots due to lockups and feels like there will never be new content coming. 

Ultimately its the snappiness of the interface and Aereo and Amazon VOD. 

So it seems pretty much like open em up and see whats in there then shop for the right size enclosure…

wytworm wrote:

Just got a Roku 3 for Aereo service and like it so much I am getting another and retiring the 2 WDTV Live Hubs I have. Wondering best way to leverage the 1 TB drives. Should I take the Hubs apart and stick them in a caddy, or is there a way to avoid this by using the USB port?

I have had both Rokus and WD players for quite a while, and there is no way I would give up one for the other.  Seems you have made up your mind, but to others reading this, the players are entirely different in many ways.  The Roku is made to be a streamer of internet content.  The WD is for streaming your own content (e.g. your iTunes music, your photos, your home movies and movies ripped from discs.)  The WD streams internet content , too – but very little compared to Roku.

It’s apparent that you haven’t used the WD for it’s most intended purpose (and you even have the models for storing your data!) and you have mostly wanted it to stream internet content, otherwise you would not be wanting to toss off your WD Hubs.

The drives in the Hub are the slowest ones WD makes, so if you want to get rid of your Hubs, why not sell them intact, and buy a decent HDD with the money you get from selling the Hubs?

Personally, I would keep the Hubs and learn better how to use them so you can get better enjoyment from having them.

I seem to have wounded a subset of the community by dropping the WDTV in favor of Roku 3. 

Some clarification based on the last post. 

I have owned and used both the streaming WDTV and the one with storage. I own in total 4 units, 2 of each. With both sets the UI is slow and less responsive than the Roku 3. This has nothing whatever to do with my not knowing how to use the units. It is a fact. I don’t know that if you have never used the Roku you should care much about this piece as unless you use them side by side you won’t notice and not care. Once you get used to the high performance, however, it sort of **bleep** to go back to the other. 

I have used WDTV Live for both streaming and for sotrage and playback of files and photos. Contrary to the picture the previous poster painted,  I do understand how to store files on the Hub and view them and have done so for 2.5 years. 

It is also true that the WDTV live products for whatever reason, are not as reliable as the Roku 3 in terms of playback. Granted, I have not yet owned the Roku 3 for 2 years, but the WDTV Live refused to stream a certain video the other day, one episode of a series where the other episodes would stream. I unplugged the Roku 3 from the other room, plugged it in to the same cables as the non functioning WDTV Live Hub, and the video streamed. That is really what put me over. This has been a chornic issue with the WDTV’s, both models since i started using them. 

Finally, the content just isn’t there on WDTV as I described above.

I am not telling anyone to switch, if you are happy with WDTV stick with it for sure. Perhaps I got 4 lemon WDTV’s that don’t work as they should. Even so, the content aint there, and WD doesn’t seem to be super aggressive over the last 4 years in adding it. 

Anyhow, thats my two cents. Thanks for the advice on the drives. Can I ask where people sell their WDTV’s, I hadn’t really considered it, and am skeptical that there is a market for this sort of device. What would one expect to make off 2 2 year old hubs?

If they are working I don´t see problem in selling them. After all they come with 1Tb HDD and you can pitch the the same way WD does. Just do format of HDD, update and factory reset.

You should try eBay or similar site or just make post on social network sites that you use.

Should earn decent money to by at least 2Tb HDD.

I did not say you did not known how to use the WD Hub, I did suggest you likely did not use it much for playing your personally collected media.  Otherwise, how could you give up this feature?  Really, you will likely miss it if you give both Hubs up.  At least keep one, because the Roku cannot stream personal media as well as the WD. It’s not like you need to buy a WD to have it’s advantages – you already have one.  You can keep both plugged into your TV – if you haven’t enough HDMI inputs, buy an inexpensive HDMI switchbox from Amazon for $10.  I bought one for the bedroom TV, (that also has a WD and Roku attached)  and it works fine.

As for streaming content; especially from Netflix, I think the Roku beats the WD hands down for this, (especially with the new Roku menus), so I never use the WD for this purpose.  I select to use the best player for the task I want to perform and can easily switch between the two.  I have gotten my $100 worth of fun already from both devices.

Agree, WD has not been as aggressive in the stream arena as Roku.  Both products have a different slant, and that’s OK.  I have said many times here, if either (any) company develops a device that truly combines the best of both players, that would be my next purchase.  I would place a bet on Roku doing it before WD, because they have all the streaming media apps in place already.  They just need to make it a full-fledged media player.  Right now, the Roku is still a media streamer, but apps like Twonky Beam, Plex, PlayOn and MyMedia are helping it to cross over.

You don’t give up anything. Plex streams it from whatever computer has the harddrives that have the files. No, they are not physically on the Roku. No, it doesn’t seem to matter. 

Again, all I wanted was advice on the harddrives, not get into a WDTV vs anything else discussion. I wish you luck. 

wytworm wrote:

You don’t give up anything.

 

Apparently you don’t either.  (Good for you!)

 

Plex streams it from whatever computer has the harddrives that have the files. No, they are not physically on the Roku. No, it doesn’t seem to matter. 

 

The Roku has an app that allows the Plex to stream from your drives to the Roku.  WIthout the app, it’s a no-go.

 

Again, all I wanted was advice on the harddrives, not get into a WDTV vs anything else discussion. I wish you luck. 

 

Good luck to you selling the darn things.  (How much do you want for them?)

 

mike27oct wrote:

 Otherwise, how could you give up this feature?   Really, you will likely miss it if you give both Hubs up.

I was replying to this comment by you when I wrote ‘You don’t give up anything’ not challenging you to a flame war. 

I cannot miss it if it is not being given up. To say that ‘without the app its a no-go’ is an interesting reply. It is true that without the app that you use to stream media to the Roku you can’t stream media to the Roku is relevant – how? I have it, watchted a movie for 90 min last night, fast forwarded, bookmarked, etc. No issue. What it means is that with the Roku there is no need to maintain the files on a drive in the same enclosure with the rest of the hardware. 

I dont have an intention to sell them. That was foetus. I am taking them apart to put the drives to better use. 

@wytworm

What I am about to say is not just to you, but to anyone else reading this thread, so keep this in mind as you read any of my comments.

I believe someone does give up something by using a program (ex. Plex) to stream to a Roku versus playing media directly from a WD unit, or a Hub.  This is a direct-connect, versus streaming through the network.  The PC needs to be on to stream via Plex this way, one needs an excellent home network, and since the task is CPU intensive, a fairly hefty and fast PC is required.  Not everyone has a setup like this.  Directly connecting a WD with either an attached drive or one built-in is a far better and efficient way to display media on a TV versus streaming via Plex.  Given a choice I would choose direct-connection.

I also want to point out to all readers that since a Hub originally costs around $200, (and the drive inside is a $100 drive) removing the drive to use elsewhere makes a $200 media player now worthless.  If one wants an extra hard drive, better to buy a better 1TB portable or internal drive for LESS than $100 and keep the Hub intact – either as a backup unit or to sell.  It is simple arithmetic.

 …vs having to have a WDTV live hub running at each TV and maintaining as many copies of the files as you have hubs? Doesn’t seem that efficient. I personally do not ever shut off any of the 6 machines I run in the house, so that is not an issue. 

My network is wired, ethernet over powerline and at best it is 11Mbs – but with a lot of variation due to the crappiness of  powerline ethernet. I think the network requirements need to be considered, but not as extraordinary as you might think. As for the system requirements, Plex says:

Recommended configuration  - For transcoding HD Content (720p and 1080p):

A Windows XP SP3 PC with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor 2.4 GHz or better At least 2GB RAM

I think the most interesting piece of this whole journey is that the room w/ the network connection that is the worst used to see the WDTV Live hub periodically hang on streaming. I always had blamed the network, but when it occurred last week and I simply tried unplugging the WDTV and plugging in the Roku, it played fine. An hour later I plugged in the WDTV  and it hung again. I put in the other WDTV and it too hung. I plugged in the Roku again and it played.

I wouldn’t begin to explain what the issue is, but it clearly isnt there with the Roku. It is just a matter of reliability, ability to perform well over a crappy network, the consolidation of media files that stream to HD vs redundant storage, etc…

A new discovery is that there is indeed the ability to play media off a USB drive. Will be experimenting with it this weekend.

I get brand loyalty, but you are describing a good experience with the WDTV products that i only occasionally saw, and a bad experience with the Roku 3 that I have yet to see. YMMV, and time will tell.  

mike27oct wrote:

 

I also want to point out to all readers that since a Hub originally costs around $200, (and the drive inside is a $100 drive) removing the drive to use elsewhere makes a $200 media player now worthless.  If one wants an extra hard drive, better to buy a better 1TB portable or internal drive for LESS than $100 and keep the Hub intact – either as a backup unit or to sell.  It is simple arithmetic.

  1. As they are now the $200 media players are useless to me. I will never again use them in their current state.

  2. It is not necessary to retain the media player shell to use the drives as a backup unit. Keeping them in their current enclosure actaully inhibits my usage for them as USB storage or putting one or both of them into one of my current machines. 

  3. Is it not better to save the drives and throw away the part i will never use again vs throwing away the whole unit? 

  4. So the simple arithmetic really is – keep them as they are now and lose the whole value of the units to me, or take em apart and use the drives for as long as they last, wherever they can best be used.

Interesting test I just ran based on the Plex part of the discussion: 

Streaming the same file based video across the network to both Roku’s simultaneously. Works fine. No degradation in quality or anything. Really surprised and pleased. 

Sorry for the scattershot update. Just think this is interesting:

So apparently what plex is doing is spawning another instance of the transcoder for each device that connects. This explains why it didn’t blink when i ran it on both rokus simultaneously and was able to perform different rewind, pause etc without affecting the other stream. Also it apparently transcodes only when it needs to, and then only what it needs to based on what device is connecting. If I had a differernt file format it might be more or less CPU intensive.  

On the performance side, I was running it on OS X, 10.8.3, 2.93 GHz Quad Core Xeon and the iStat CPU monitor showed 9% utilization on each instance of the transcoder. 

wytworm wrote:


mike27oct wrote:

 

I also want to point out to all readers that since a Hub originally costs around $200, (and the drive inside is a $100 drive) removing the drive to use elsewhere makes a $200 media player now worthless.  If one wants an extra hard drive, better to buy a better 1TB portable or internal drive for LESS than $100 and keep the Hub intact – either as a backup unit or to sell.  It is simple arithmetic.


  1. As they are now the $200 media players are useless to me. I will never again use them in their current state.

 

  1. It is not necessary to retain the media player shell to use the drives as a backup unit. Keeping them in their current enclosure actually inhibits my usage for them as USB storage or putting one or both of them into one of my current machines. 

 

  1. Is it not better to save the drives and throw away the part i will never use again vs throwing away the whole unit? 

 

  1. So the simple arithmetic really is – keep them as they are now and lose the whole value of the units to me, or take em apart and use the drives for as long as they last, wherever they can best be used.

or

  1. Selling working units to someone who would be happy to acquire them second hand, and buying new HDD and water gun.