|WD TV Live HD Media Player Review|
|Home Theater Media Servers Home Theater/Media Center PCs|
|Written by Mike Flacy|
|Wednesday, 26 May 2010|
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Regarding performance, you will be surprised how quickly the WD TV Live boots up and loads your giant 1080p files. The menu seems much more responsive as well, likely due to the tweaks and improvements in the hardware. There’s no loss of quality when streaming content off your servers via a wired connection. You will find stuttering issues when attempting to stream HD files via a WiFi Wireless G connection, but that’s understandable.
Beyond tossing a variety of media files at the player, I also tried out something new to this version of the media player; Internet Streaming Content. The player offers YouTube connectivity as well as the popular music streaming services Pandora & Live365. There’s also Flickr access for those with picture albums on Flickr. Thankfully, you can stream the HD version of the Youtube video as well.
Searching for Youtube content is painful, only because the on screen navigation for typing in our search terms is very slow. With a couple of these services, Western Digital seems to be simply touching on their functionality. I’m going to venture a guess that future versions will simplify the interface and add a variety of social networking services into the mix. Plus Netflix connectivity and Hulu support would be stellar for round 2!
The WD TV Live HD media player (MSRP $149.99) is one of the more versatile media players on the market and easily the least obtrusive in your home theater setup. Anyone that enjoys ripping their legally purchased DVDs and Blu-rays to home servers is going to love this unit. In addition, the low cost for the player allows for multiple units to be purchased and spread all over the house.
That being said, if you are still using physical media for playback, the Internet connectivity is really the only reason to pick it up and there are several devices on the market that offer more services in that realm. Anyway, similar to the aftermarket modding of the Apple TV, tech savvy users will have no problem finding a use for the WD TV Live HD media player in their home theater.