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3.8 out of 5 stars712
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 25 January 2012
Ordered this item on the weekend and took two days to arrive, and packaged very well (Amazon always packages exceedingly well!) I read reviews about this one and the Hub version, but as I already have many 1TB drives (and read that the internal drive kept on failing for people in the Hub version) I went for this one.

Now, I've been looking for a decent streamer for a LONG time. I have PS3's, a 360, an Apple TV, an Xtreamer Ultra, NONE work as well as this little box does.

Firstly, it plays everything. My PS3 was lacking this (even jailbroken) as was my Apple TV, the Xtreamer Ultra is shambles (selling it), and the 360 stuttered. This little box played all my HD, mkv formats, smoothly, and what surprised me even more, is that it streamed a 720p .mkv from my MacBook Pro wirelessly, with no lag or stuttering! My PS3 can't even handle 720p movies unless it's plugged via ethernet, but both my laptop AND PS3 must be hooked via ethernet in order for streaming to be fluid. This is a MAJOR plus point, and i'm really very impressed.

Secondly, it detects all my NAS storage and connects well, including my WD World Edition MyBook. It does however take time to index files from external HDD's, which can get a bit annoying, as the interface lags a bit due to it and at one point it got stuck and didn't move till I disconnected my HDD. I'm sure this will be fixed in a FW update. But it indexes files fine from my HDD's and shows all the clips and thumbnails.

Thirdly, Apps. They work well with the UI, I have Spotify premium and i'm using it all the time now, works really well! Haven't tried the other apps, but i'm sure they are as good. I like the colour co-ordination in the apps which matches the UI. UI is fluid and is good for a Media Player.

Lastly, should you buy this? Yes. Don't waste your money on things which won't work out of the box, don't spend hundreds on sophisticated items, you simply need one little box which does it all. Reason I chose this over the Apple TV (for all the fan boys out there) is because I can't be bothered to jailbreak it and install apps etc, it has no external HDD support and even though it's an Apple product, it's pretty much useless to me as I have all my media on HDD's, I don't rent.

So, this is a worthwhile investment, you don't need an ethernet connection to stream fluidly (perhaps a good connection though, mine is 20MB), if you want an ethernet connection and have no port in your room I suggest you get the WD Livewire, or TP-LINK ethernet plug. I have the TP-LINK one and works perfect with all my stuff.

Overall:

- Streams Movies, HD and SD, amazingly well with no stuttering
- Apps are great, work well
- UI is user friendly
- Expandable, ext HDD friendly
- Does what it says on the tin.

5/5 Stars, well done WD!
3030 comments215 of 219 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 6 April 2014
This is quite simply the most versatile media player I've encountered, however, my primary source is a hard drive. It streams well too.

Local/LAN playback:
- Easy to setup either way. You can automatically "Get Info" on your films (make sure you name them correctly), which adds images, synopses, trailers and so on automatically. It works with every format you can think of, and is the only player that seems perfect in this regard.
- LAN playback for me is imperfect with 1080p files. For lower resolution video it's fine. This is both Windows, Mac and Linux compatible.
- NAS friendly.

Streaming:
- A range of services are preinstalled and you can't add any more. The main ones are Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Spotify, YouTube and WD's own cloud sync.
- Netflix works flawlessly. It automatically optimises quality up to their "Super HD" format and where available, surround sound will be used.
- BBC iPlayer works perfectly, with the HD option, but it's quite clunky.
- Spotify works but it's clunky and you can't choose to force HQ playback.
- YouTube works very well, and you can automatically connect your mobile device (i.e. choose video on phone and play on TV) if you're on the same network.

Video:
- Full HD works perfectly, with maximum 1080p 60Hz output.

Audio:
- DTS and Dolby Digital, etc. surround sound friendly.
- Has an optical socket. Make sure you select it from Setup if you use it.
- Plays most audio formats, including MP3, AAC, MP4, FLAC. Not the nicest interface though.

Interface:
- Basic and intuitive. No navigation problems. Can be customized (colours, background, etc.)
- You can change the view settings of your films. So you can have a list or detailed pages with stills and synopses. This looks really good.
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on 16 August 2012
I have had one of these for about a month now, and I am quite pleased with it. There are some ways in which it struggles, however. I have some high-definition movie files, and these will not play over Wi-Fi without stopping and starting. This did not surprise me. I have connected a 2 TB external hard disk to the unit through the unit's USB2 port and now I can watch all my movies with no problem. The WD TV does struggle to manage the hard disk, however. Sometimes the WD TV gets into difficulties and reboots itself and then says the hard disk is not connected, even though the system has not been touched. I then disconnect both WD TV and the hard disk from the power and reconnect them, and when the system comes up again the WD TV can again see the hard disk. All this is a lot of irksome hassle. If I delete a film from the hard disk using the WD TV's functionality to do this, it takes about five minutes for the system to recover and to reread the hard drive, so there is no way that I would tackle deleting several films because it would simply take too long. I do feel that the USB2 interface is just too slow for this unit and it is a shame that a faster interface has not been provided, such as USB3, FireWire or thunderbolt, for example. The WD TV has never failed to read the diverse video files that I have, including .VOB folders and ISOs. I have a Flickr account and the WD TV has a Flickr app, but the app is not capable of logging into an account, so it is pretty useless. The WD TV is amazingly good at getting a film's ratio correct without any intervention from me. I am using it with a 42 inch Panasonic plasma TV.

Edit (12th May 2014): I have registered with Netflicks and I'm using the Netflicks app in the WD TV Live to watch Breaking Bad. Typically, when I want to watch something on Netflicks it takes about ten minutes before I'm settled and watching the item, and I feel as though I've been through an assault course to make it work. Initially it took three tries to get a BB episode to load. On the first two tries the WD TV Live rebooted itself. The next problem is that an episode starts without the sound. To cure this I walk across my sitting room and pull the power plug out of the WD TV Live and wait for it to restart. This has happened four times. The next problem is that an episode starts with a pink cast, or wash, across the image. This has happened twice. So yes, that's three types of problem encountered so far (in about a fortnight). Everything the WD TV does is so S-L-O-W. When I have to reboot it (often!), or when it reboots itself, I wait until its home screen appears on the TV, and then it says 'Connecting to the network'. Just that takes about 30 second. Then, at the top of the screen I see that it is re-cataloging the attached hard disk. I'm now amazed that the WD development guys judged that this device was fit to be released to go into production. If Apple's motto is "It just works", Western Digital's motto must be "It can be made to work." It just takes patience, patience, patience.... I'm now wondering what device to buy to watch Netflicks without hassle.
22 comments37 of 39 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 September 2012
I bought the device to work alongside the slingbox solo which the device's recent software update supports compatibility for. The slingbox is a location-less video streamer; effectivly allowing me to stream and control our sky+ box on my desktop, laptop, mobile (and now TV) via the internet.

For use with the slingbox there has been some problems. Firstly I have found that it can be a bit fragile. Although it works flawlessly 95% of the time, other times (for no apparent reason) it will crash or freeze for 5-10 seconds. I dont get this problem once a channel is there and running, or even when changing the channel, its normally when it first connects and is adjusting picture quality. The other issue is that of the IR remote. I was hoping I would be able to use this as effectively a replacement of the sky remote. Although it does give quick keys for tv guide, channel numbers, up, down, left and right arrow keys, thats the limit. You can do channel up and down buttons by navigating a software menu which is so lame. The other solution is to use the free android WD live app which gives access to an inout keyboard. As I have a desire Z with full qwerty hard-keyboard this is really useful. The picture quality isnt as perfect as using the sky+ box in its original room, but the quality on my same network (on another subnet) is amazing, almost (but not quite) flawless. I would give it 4/5 stars because of the remote lets it down a bit, and the crashing/freezing, which can be annoying.

I also used the box alongside the pogoplug to stream a hard drive accross the network as a NAS. This works fairly well, but what lets it down is the pogoplug more than anything. I also have a network desktop acting as a NAS, network share and http/ftp server which works absolutly flawlessly and instantly with the WDTV live. If you're wanting a box for this purpose its perfect. Easy to use menus, very fast - even when fast-forwarding and rewinding. Imagine it connected to a hard drive - its that fast. Maximum of a 2 second delay in buffering accross the network. Seriously impressed. 5/5 stars for network streaming.

Using the drive to stream of usb connected hard disk was shocking. I mean, really REALLY bad. It made the device so slow it was almost unusable. Having owned the previous version of the WD tv-connected box I was really shocked as just how crap it was. If you want to buy it for this reason I really couldnt recommend it, buy the previous version that just has USB connectivity. I'd give it 1/5 stars for just USB connectivity.

As a product overview I'd give it 3/5 stars as it is good, but I'd imagine the hard drive access is its primary function and it fails big time.
For my needs and purposes Id give it 4/5 stars. I would give it 4.5 really, but Im not rounding it up to 5/5 stars as there are some quite annoying bugs and things.
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on 15 January 2014
I got this because the family needed a simple way to access Netflix, and it has an optical audio out (useful as my amp is old and has no HDMI inputs). For this, it does the job very well. The only issues we've had is that it sometimes "forgets" settings and also it has frozen a couple of times (marked down a star for this). It will double as a media centre for media stored on an external drive / NAS, and for this it is simple but effective. It won't replace my MediaPortal box, but it will work at a pinch. Plays every format under the sun in 1080p. As a cheap Netflix / iPlayer solution, it's excellent & recommended.
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on 13 June 2012
Excellent item! Works really well so far. I had one of these previously and it kept dropping out but this has been great so far.

I still have the issue where iPlayer cuts off before the end (running the latest 1.9 firmware) but apart from that it's good. Thisis quite annoying, esp as it's been an issue since 1.5 or 1.6 and notified WD to get a blank response from them. But Amazon have been great.

Also a big thumbs up because I ordered at 7.40pm on Monday and it was delivered the next day by DPD. They text me to let me know with an hour where they expected to be there and they were! The complete opposite of CityLink who delivered 3 days late, no card when it was left with a neighbour, no response on their website (submitted an enquiry on Saturday which stated 24h response time and still waiting!!!). Previously they have left stuff in the rain, also once parcel was literally thrown over a fence. Please stop using CityLink and use DPD - a much better customer experience!!!
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on 30 December 2011
I've had this little fellow for a few weeks now and so far I'm quite impressed. It does exactly what I bought it for: It plays every file type I have in my media library such as MKVs, AVIs, MP4s, WMVs, MP3s, M4As, WMAs - with a range of different video and audio codecs.

However, the fly in the ointment is the slightly inconsistent and confusing interface. On the plus side you can hook up to your media source(s) via DLNA, SMB or NFS to aggregate all your media from different locations using the player's "My Media Library" feature. But the problem - and it's not a particularly big problem - that comes with this is the device doesn't make it particularly easy to browse and view your media and its metadata. You get several different views of your media depending on the content type but none of these views provides a clean, consistent route to what you want to watch. Also, small glitches such as the thumbnails for the first episode of each TV series not showing up sours what would otherwise be a great experience.

The firmware updates do come thick and fast though so these bugs may be ironed out before so very long. As of writing the firmware version is 1.05.18.

Overall a 90% satisfied customer!!
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on 2 September 2013
I have been using this for about a month now. I purchased it to play media, mainly recorded HD content, stored on a Synology NAS on my home network as well as stream YouTube videos. Prior to this, I used a PS3, which works fine except it plays some HD recordings without sound and its fan is noisy.

Pros:

**Easy and quick setup. I am using a wired network and HDMI plugged into an AV receiver.
**Played every format that I have tried. Good picture and sound. Easy to navigate (with the smartphone apps).
**Quiet operation.

Cons:
**The remote control supplied is very slow. The iOS / android app remote work better.
**YouTube streaming is unstable, the device very often crashes when going from one video to the next in a playlist - and I am on the latest firmwire. I have had to revert to the PS3 for YouTube viewing which is a shame.

Hopefully a future firmwide update will fix these issues.
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on 8 May 2014
Before I bought this I checked the manufacturer’s description, read the user manual as well as many reviews that I could find. Some elements within the manual and various descriptions are misleading.
These were the key points that got me to buy, and below is what I actually found:
1. WIRELESS – It had proper wireless (not needing a dongle)
2. CONNECTION – It could connect to my DLNA Synology NAS drive.
3. FILES – It could read many different file formats (Particularly AC3 – Dolby)
4. QUEUING – It offered queuing of tracks, rather than playing only one at a time manually.

What I have experienced:
1. WIRELESS – Description is correct. It has good wireless connectivity and it found and connected to my home network with no problem. *****
2. CONNECTION – Connected to my Synology NAS drive and found the files. *****
3. FILES – Now it gets ‘muddy’. If you stream your music/videos from a NAS server, as I do, the list of playable files are suddenly reduced. I have not created every possible file to test, but Audio AC3 do not play – it just skips over them.
The following do play when streamed - MP3,AIFF,FLAC,M4A,OGG,WAV and WMA
Using a USB device all of the above play AND also AC3 (in Dolby surround) ***
4. QUEUING – The unit cannot queue at all when streaming data from my NAS, but it is possible if you store your files on a USB device plugged into the USB port – HOWEVER, it is a tortuous process and is not simply a question of selecting your track and clicking a button to add it to the queue. I won’t go into the long list of actions here, that’s required just to add one track to the queue. *
5. HOT -This unit seems to get very hot when in use. Even in standby mode the power is always on, and stays warm to hot. I have great misgivings about anything electrical that gets this hot. Firstly I don’t believe that electronics kept continually at this temperature will have a long life, and secondly, I would be very nervous about leaving this unit on unattended for too long. *
6. FIRMWARE – While updating firmware, it had a glitch and I had to complete it by downloading the files from the WD site onto a USB stick. Not really a problem. ****

SUMMARY – If you are just interested in playing videos and basic audio formats like MP3, FLAC etc., this will do the job when streaming from a wireless media source. If you intend attaching a USB device as your storage, then you will get more functionality from this box, although I doubt if many will bother with the queuing option. ***
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on 1 April 2014
UPDATE:

5 stars to 1!

This recently started to lock up all the time, requiring a restart. Even then it would continue to freeze, making it impossible to watch anything. Such a shame as this was one of the best products I've ever bought. Assumed it was just worn out and overheating.

I never actually used the second one I bought (mentioned below) so dug it out of the cupboard, upgraded the firmware, and plugged it in. Almost instantly it began doing exactly the same thing. Because this one has literally never been used till now, I can only assume the latest version of the firmware is defective. My brothers have a couple of these too and they've all got the same problem. There's not been an update in ages, hence my change of review. As I say, such a shame!

OLD REVIEW:

I've recently bought my second one of these, for the bedroom, after owning the first for the past couple of years.

It plays any format (codec/container) you can throw at it absolutely flawlessly. If you're looking to play media files over a network or from a USB stick/USB HDD then this is the product for you. Both my brothers have recently purchased one each in favour of their AppleTV devices.

If you're after something that has every possible online streaming service available, then there are more suitable products out there (but they don't stream files from your local network like this does).

This has BBC iPlayer, Netflix, YouTube etc but there's no other UK on-demand services or Amazon Prime Video which is a real shame. I believe other devices have third-party apps so things are constantly added/updated but this is all closed source code so you'll only get added functionality/integration if Western Digital decide to provide it in a future firmware upgrade.

That said, there's nothing in this price-range that can touch it for how well it streams quality HD video across a network or from a local storage device.
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