TechWestern Digital TV Live HD Media Player

Western Digital TV Live HD Media Player


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Hot on the heels of other media devices, Western Digital have just announced a new one:

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WD® (NYSE: WDC), the world’s leader in external storage solutions, today introduced the WD TV Live HD media player featuring network capability and Full-HD 1080p resolution. The new WD TV Live HD media player makes it easy for anyone to play HD (high definition) videos stored on USB and network drives, as well as Internet content from popular Web sites, on the biggest screen in their home — their HD television. Building on the success of the WD TV HD media player, the WD TV Live HD media player offers a new, more responsive interface to help consumers enjoy a world of digital content in their living room, without a computer.

The network capability of the WD TV Live media player enables users to stream or transfer movies from PC or Mac® computers or a network-attached storage device such as WD’s My Book® World Edition™ and WD ShareSpace network drives to their HD TVs. The WD TV Live media player also allows users to stream rich content from YouTube™ and Flickr®. The HD onscreen menu brings together all of the users’ available media in an elegant and simple-to-navigate interface.

Consumers are amassing large libraries of digital videos, photos and music on their computers. According to research firm Parks Associates, the average consumer had 123 GB of videos, photos, and music in 2009 which will grow to 1.3 TB by 2013 (Digital Lifestyles: 2009 Outlook). In addition, an increasing number of consumers are looking for seamless access to their personal media, as well as to Internet media. According to Parks Associates, the sales of connected consumer electronics devices, such as connected TVs and digital media adapters, is expected to more than double from 57 million units in 2009 to 115 million units in 2013 (Home Networks for Consumer Electronics 2009).

Consumers are investing millions of dollars in HD TVs, with HD televisions representing more than 50 percent of TVs sold in the U.S., according to Parks Associates (Home Networks for Consumer Electronics 2009). But consumers’ digital content is often relegated to the relatively small screen on their PC or Mac computers. The WD TV Live HD media player is the newest member in the family of WD TV media players by WD, which make moving digital content from a computer to playing it on a big screen TV simply plug-and-play.

Like the popular first-generation WD TV HD media player introduced last autumn, the WD TV Live media player connects directly to a users’ HD TV and plays almost any file stored on a connected USB drive such as My Passport™ portable drive. The WD TV Live media player features powerful media processing, which enables playback in Full-HD 1080p resolution. WD TV Live media player also will play movies and photos stored on other popular USB devices such as digital camcorders and digital cameras.

“The media enthusiast community has embraced the first WD TV HD media player and given us tremendous feedback,” said Dale Pistilli, vice president of marketing for WD’s branded products group. “With the new WD TV Live media player we’re giving them what they asked for — network connectivity and Internet-content streaming capabilities — and offering them a simple way to enjoy all of their digital media and enjoy it on their HD TVs.”

WD TV Live HD Media Player

Features of the WD TV Live HD Media Player include:

– Full-HD 1080p video playback and navigation with the included remote control and crisp, animated navigation menus;

– Play a wide variety of file formats including support for a wide variety of the most popular file formats with no need to spend time transcoding;

– Play videos, music and photos from the Internet on your big screen TV and discover new music with Pandora Internet radio or listen to thousands of radio stations via Live365 Internet radio;

– Ethernet port for wired or WiFi connection to access files anywhere on the network to play movies, music, and photos from any PC or drive on a home network;

– Turns a USB drive into an HD media player and plays content from most popular USB drives, and digital cameras, camcorders, and portable media players that can be recognised as mass storage devices;

– Unlimited media collection, just add more USB drives for more space;

– Two USB ports for seamless media playback from multiple USB drives and ability to access them simultaneously while a media library feature collects the content on all the drives into one list sorted by media type;

– Transfer files by copying, moving or deleting files stored on a USB drive, a network drive, camcorder, or a camera to the attached USB drive using the on-screen menus;

– Picture Transfer Protocol support to show photos and movies directly from digital camera or video camera and or any digital imaging device that supports Picture Transfer Protocol;

– Advanced navigation options including thumbnail and list views, media library and search;

– Photo viewing to create custom slide shows, zoom and pan and search;

– Movie viewing with fast-forward, rewind, pause, zoom and pan, view subtitles, and search;

– Music playback with fast-forward, rewind, pause, shuffle, repeat and search;

– File copying between USB devices;

– HDMI® 1.3 port, composite video and component video output for the highest quality HDTV or home theatre;

– SPDIF digital output that sends digital signals to your AV receiver for the best surround sound experience; and,

– Ultra-compact design to fit easily into a home entertainment centre.

Pricing and Availability

The WD TV Live Media Player is available now at select retailers and online at Covered by a 2-year limited warranty, the MSRP for WD TV Live Media Player is £119.90.

Hopefully we will get our hands on one soon for a review.

Andrew Edney
Andrew Edney
I am the owner and editor of this site. I have been interested in gadgets and tech since I was a little kid. I have also written a number of books on various tech subjects. I also blog for The Huffington Post and for FHM. And I am honoured to be a Microsoft MVP since January 2008 - again this year as an Xbox MVP.


  1. Andrew,

    Thanks for your review of the WD TV Live HD Media Player but I was wondering if you could give me some information on how easily this device links to the media files stored on a Windows Home Server.

    I realise that you can probibly access the network drives and then browse the files for media through an explorer style interface on your TV however this would not give a truly media center sytyle experience.

    I realise that the WD TV Live HD Media Player is not a Windows Media Centre Extender like the XBOX 360 but my question is will this device provide me with an easy to use Media Centre style interface that is easily linked to my WHS without the need for browsing through my network shares in an explorer style interface?

    Best Regards,

    Graham Cannell

    • Graham

      I havent got one for review yet so I cant comment, as soon as I get one I will come back to you.


      • Andrew,

        Thanks for your reply and I look forward to any future review that you may have on the WD TV Live HD Media Player.

        I would welcome any recommendations that you may have for other symilar devices that would allow me to easily play my WHS content on my TV.

        Best Regards,

        Graham Cannell

  2. In the same vein as teh question above, will the WDTV Live be able to connect to Windows Home Server considering that "connector" software can not be installed on the WD T Live device? I am not worrid about the "Media Center Experience" given that the WD TV LIve has its onwn UI, however, I wnat to assure that the WD TV Live will at minimum recognize my Windows Home Server and media content stored therein. Eager to get your response.



    • Kevin

      I cannot say for certain as I havent got one yet, but as I understand it yes, you will stream from your WHS and play it back from the WDTV live device.

      More when I get one 🙂


  3. I just got a WD TV HD Live, and have an EX485. They have no trouble communicating with minimal set-up, but I am only using a file structure menu with text titles to browse my movie collection. The only awkwardness I see is that the WD box buries the folder I want in a deeper folder tree of its own making (i.e. folders not on the EX485) so it takes a lot of clicks on the remote to get where I want. I solved this by leaving the WD on 24/7 at the proper place in the folder tree.

    BTW so far it plays everything I have, in several cases better than on our Xbox, which sometimes seems to pixelate AVIs, and has soundtrack lag on a few files.

    Also FYI, Best Buy was completely out, but Fry's had dozens as of 11/17.

  4. bought this to replace D Link DSM 520 as the 520 does not play MKV. And neither does this, unless, you connect to a network share rather than media server. Here in lies my problem. might be worth a google of

    "wd tv live dropping network connection" WHS or Share from XP/Vista/7 all the same.

    • thanks for tip

      i still havent been able to get my hands on one yet to play with!


  5. I have one, and it connects to the WHS just fine. I'm still configuring it, but it plays now only my MKVs but also slide slows of pics, and music. I'm searching for a solution for Internet radio, and it looks like any of the plug ins for WHS would enable it, but I haven't tried it yet.

  6. Hi,

    I have one and it plays files from my older Acer NAS box fine, using the "Media server" option you can play things like your AVIs but not ISO Images however By going via "Network Shares" you can play everything. So, I started ripping all my DVDs and Vlu-Ray disks to ISO images (with the thought this also provides a backup should the disks get damaged or stolen). Then I ran out of space. So I bought the New Acer NAS drive but it runs Windows Home Server. Once again you can see your normal AVI files via the "Media servers" but no matter how I've configured the WHS with shares it just does not show up on the list of "Network Shares" so there goes my ISOs which is the whole point. I am still trying ot find a solution to this so if anyone has one then please let me know… Otherwise the WD TV Live is so great, I use it in my bedroom and I'm seriously thinking of getting one for the lounge too!


    – Lester.

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