titleOver the last few years, streaming media has become one of the most popular forms of entertainment to many people around the globe. Many customers out there are trying to find new ways of cutting the costs of the tired standards and physical media. Consumers now have a growing number of devices to help with their streaming media demand that they can place right into their living rooms. Today we are going to look at the WD TV Live from Western Digital and see how it can extend your local network files and content from the Internet directly to your HDTV.

 

Product Name: WD TV Live

Sample Provided by Western Digital

Review by: Ryan Croussore

Pictures by: Ryan Croussore

 

Specifications

Model Number

WDBHG70000NBK

Interface and Ports

Ethernet, USB 2.0 x2, HDMI, Composite A/V, Wi-Fi, Optical audio

Video Formats

AVI (Xvid, AVC, MPEG1/2/4), MPG/MPEG, VOB, MKV (h.264, x.264, AVC, MPEG1/2/4, VC-1), TS/TP/M2T (MPEG1/2/4, AVC, VC-1), MP4/MOV (MPEG4, h.264), M2TS, WMV9, FLV (h.264)

Photo Formats

JPEG, GIF, TIF/TIFF, BMP, PNG

Audio Formats

MP3, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA, AAC, FLAC, MKA, AIF/AIFF, OGG, Dolby Digital, DTS

Play Lists

PLS, M3U, WPL

Subtitles

RT, ASS, SSA, SUB, SMI

Maximum Video Quality

1080p

 


Packaging

The WD TV Live comes packaged in an attractive full color box. On the front you see a look at the streaming device itself, along with the remote and a preview of some of the content streaming options. You will also notice a few logos that boast some of the features of the product. 

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Over on the back of the package you will see a couple screenshots of what the interface of the device looks like. You also see another shot of the device and the remote. Also there are some descriptions of what the product does and the setup abilities.

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When opening the box you must lift up a couple cardboard flaps showing possible accessories that you could also purchase from WD. Lifting up two cardboard flaps you then instantly have access to the instruction guide and warranty information. Underneath that you will see the remote, WD TV Live, power adapter and a composite AV cable. 

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Setup

The setup on this device could not be any more simple. Once unpacked, I was quickly able to connect the power adapter to an available AC outlet, and then I connected an HDMI cable from my HDTV to the back of the unit.

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After installing a couple included AA batteries into the remote, I was ready to power up the device and proceed with the setup. I pressed the power button on the remote then I was greeted with a blue loading screen with the WD Logo.

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Next up are a few setup screens to get you started. You will need to set your language, time and date, and network setup.

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Performance and Features

Western Digital has done a good job of coming up with a nice, simple, easy to use interface. On the main screen you see several tabs to locate the media that you are looking for. The options are Videos, Music, Photos, Live TV, Services, Games, RSS, Files, Setup and Special Offers from WD.

Using the included remote, it is easy to switch between the tabs using the left and right button and the OK button. The remote itself is good for baisc operation of the device, however during the setup and entering credentials for using different services the typing ability of the remote can leave something to be desired. Some of the apps will let you use a T9 style typing or you can play the annoying click and move the cursor game on screen to type in letters. I really wish there could have been a QWERTY keyboard on the backside of the remote. The good news is that WD gives you a couple of alternatives to typing with the remote. To start you could connect a wired or wireless keyboard to the USB port on the device. The other option which is my personal favorite is that you can download the WD Remote application on your iOS or Android device and control the unit that way, it is infinitely easier to type on my devices touch screen in my opinion.

In the services tab there are a number of my favorite services available, including: Netflix, YouTube, Pandora Internet Radio and Vudu HD movies. There are many other services that are available from sports and music to social media and photos. 

On a side note, currently there is no 'store' or a way to add custom services to the WD TV Live. Other devices out there may or not have this ability, however I believe that WD has chosen to give you best and most stable applications that are developed directly by them. 

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When testing out local videos over the network, you have a few items to choose from. You can choose local storage (USB flash drive or USB hard drive connected to one of the two USB ports on the WD TV Live) media server, network share, or online services like Facebook or Picasa. I simply setup shares from my main PC and then selected my pc from network share, entered my credentials for my share, and I was in my folder viewing my content. I tried out many of the most popular formats like .wmv, .mpg, .avi on various video files. From my tests all the videos played as smooth as silk. I really didn't have any stuttering or stopping to buffer the file. I must say it was a really refreshing experience that it was really this easy to setup and get straight to the content. 

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Music and Photos worked in a similar fashion to videos on the network. After selecting a network share off of my main PC, I had no issues accessing photos or music right from the directories on my computer. 

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On the RSS tab you can add RSS feeds to the WD TV Live. It is important to note that this is a very basic RSS reader. If there are links or a Read More in the feed, you will be unable to click them. You can however enlarge photos in the feed. 

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The games tab features some basic games for your entertainment. You will find a selection of card games, board games, or a arsenal of other casual games you can try out. You can even sign into an account and enter tournaments and challenge friends. 

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Overall and Final Verdict

To say the least, the WD TV Live is one really nice streaming device. The interface and setup is dead simple and rock solid. The product will handle network and local files effortlessly, the quality of the video and audio are superb. There are enough connectivity options to suit the needs of most. WD designed the unit to be in a nice small form factor, which makes it portable, as well easy to add to your media setup. The setup of the device is dead simple and there are plenty of connectivity options for a player of this size and price. 

However there are a few aspects of the streamer that I am not the biggest fan of, however none of them are deal-breakers in the least. First, there is no way to add other apps or choices to the Services page. WD can and may certainly add and remove the apps that are available in the future, but straight out the box you what you see is what you get. The second is the remote which is good for using the device with out having to do a lot of typing. These best solution in my opinion is to turn your smart phone or tablet into a software remote control

Overall I feel that this is a really great product that you can pick up for less than $100 dollars. There is a fair balance of options that you can customize to your liking as well as content services that are built into the device.  All the apps that I have tested have been very stable, and did not encounter any crashes. If you have a need for streaming your media to your TV and want to check out a lot of options for streaming music and video from the Internet or your local network, the WD TV Live may just be a great choice for you.


fv2recomended

 

Author Bio
Author: Myndmelt

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Myndmelt replied the topic: #30133 25 Mar 2013 19:39
I take a look at a delicious streaming device from Western Digital.

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