What can WD TV Live do for me?

I’m very new to all of this.

I just purchased a unit in hopes it would help me eliminate cable TV.  I thought I would be able to access any kind of streaming from the internet but it appears that I can only access certain services, and then I also must subscribe with a fee.

I wanted to be able to access anything I could on my PC like cbs.com, abc.com etc. and even hulu.com (free access)  Am I missing something on all of this?  Is there a way I can eliminate my cable TV to get the shows I got from it ( I only had basic)?  Even if I could record shows on my PC and then get them using this would be great.  Is there a virtual DVR that could do this for me? What would be the best way to set something like this going like I had with cable?

I sure need to catch up on what I can and cannot do and any suggestions/advice would be appreciated.


It plays media files that you have already saved on a hard disk. You can play these via a network or directly via USB. You can play certain services that are included - Netflix, youtube etc. You cannot add your own services. It does not replace cable. You can install software on your computer which allows you to stream other services but this means that you have to have your computer on and normally you have to pay extra for this use.

1 Like

If you install serviio on a PC then you can access various on demand services, such as hulu.com.  This is free. 

You need to check out serviio.org 

1 Like

Most of the free ones you mentioned are covered through Playon. Check out Playon.tv. Install that on a PC, the on the WD TV Live, select Media Server under Videos as the Content Source, and it should detect your Playon server automatically. You can stream that way. The downside is that you need to have a computer running Playon running when you want to use it. I cancelled my TV service 2 years ago…but I subscribe to Netflix and Hulu Plus as a substitute. The 16 dollars is worth it to me.

1 Like

Nothing really “replaces” cable TV, although there are things that can supplement your TV watching experience.  The WD media player is one such item, but the streaming content for it is limited.  As another person mentioned, it is mostly for viewing your videos, listening to your music files and looking at your photos.  Also, it enables Netflix streaming if you have that service.

I have the WD media player, and for what it is designed for, it does it all very well.

I also have a Roku, which doesn’t easily allow for watching one’s videos, listening to one’s music or viewing photos as well as a WD, but the newer top-of-line Roku models have a limited capacity to do some of this.  What the Roku has over the WD unit is lots of streaming content choices like you mention having on your PC.  It also has Netflix capability, and premium $ervices you can pay for. 

But, if you want to watch the baseball games on TV; it’s back to cable, or (for a fee) you can subscribe to the MLB channel on the Roku. 

Having all three of these media servers available makes for a lot of TV media content to choose from.

1 Like

The Roku beats the WD into the dust for live streaming - and depending on your location the online services such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer are excellent.   If you recode your videos to mp4 format then it also plays these without problem, as well as mp3 audio files.   The user interface is also very friendly and responsive. 

In  contrast, the WD is clumsy to use - apps are limited and cannot be added to by you the user, the iPlayer app is crippled & doesn’t work correctly.  Enabling live tv streams is complicated.

Roku - 5 stars

WD - 1 star 

1 Like

I very much appreciate your comments to help me understand what this device can do and also how to add some capabilities to it as well.  I wanted to give it a try to see how it could help me and perhaps it won’t do all the things I would like it to.  Maybe someday it will.  I don’t have much media stored so that isn’t a necessity for me - at least yet.

I think I will now give the Roku a try as mentioned by Castella to see how it can come closer to what I want with more access to its services.  I was considering that one in the first place, but in the last minute I had picked the wd since I thought it could do more.

No doubt these media devices will continue to improve when there is more demand for them and will hopefully give a fuller choice to people that don’t want to pay the terrible cost of cable.

Thanks again everyone.

Gotta disagree: I give my Roku (the top model) 5 stars and also my WD Live Plus 5 stars, because they are different enough even though they both handle “streaming media”.  For what they are designed to do, they both do their tasks well.

Agree that the Roku is more user friendly, and the WD Live units are a bit more geeky.  They sort of have to be, because they require knowledge of networking issues, hard drives and media files of all kinds.  Not really for beginners to streaming.  The Roku is better for beginners, but after having a Roku at first, ( I have been through 3 generations of Roku) I eventually realized I needed a “real” media player to do all I wanted to do and so got the WD unit.

I have said it before and will say it again:  whichever company can combine the best of Roku and the WD Live media player into a single product will have a real winner in my eyes.  But then again, these toys cost a hundred bucks a piece, so neither product will break the budget, and it makes sense to me to continue to have both units in my system.

1 Like

Here is forgot to mention the torrent protocol. Download to PC all you want, and then look at the player via USB or network. Immediately paid services are not needed. In my opinion, the most accessible and free way to use WD TV Live.

1 Like