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on 27 December 2008
I was very wary of this with it having a 'Western Digital' badge on it. I had the 'LG' thing in mind - they were once great when they made just televisions, but then they branched out and slap their name on all sorts of rubbish. Absolutely not so with the WD TV though - this thing is every bit as good as WD drives are reliable... Not just that, but this device fills a small gap that I had been waiting for.

I got myself a 40" Samsung 1080P back in October, but for a few weeks it was going to waste on standard def TV, so I decided to invest in a media player, and with the price and features of this, it was a clear winner - at least on paper. Having used it for a month or two now, I cannot praise it enough, especially after the recent firmware update which appears to solve pretty much every bug it used to have, as well as introduce some new features and codec support, so it's good to see WD are keen to support this wonder device of theirs.

Now, onto the important stuff... Has played every single DivX and XviD file I have thrown at it - 100% success. Has played about 90-95% of all 1080P MKV x264's that I have fed it too. Now, the biggest downfall of this device is the fact that it does not support DTS audio which is a pretty common format for 1080P x264's that you'll find on various 'sources'. If you connect the WD TV to a home cinema with a DTS decoder then you'll be fine, otherwise you'll need to transcode the DTS audio into AC3, which will play fine. The process should take about 15min to an hour on a modern computer with free software... The bundled conversion software that WD give you may do the job too, but I religiously dont touch anything developed by Arcsoft so could not say for sure.

Video quality is absolutely fantastic though... Obviously though if you feed this thing standard def DivX's, you wont notice much difference because the WD TV does not 'upscale' it to make it appear of higher quality by filling in 'blanks', so to get the full potential you need to play 720 or 1080P files, and trust me one again - the quality you will get on a full HD TV is absolutely superb - way better than streaming WMV's from PC to Xbox 360.

Besides the DTS support, the only negative things I can say about WD TV is the remote is very basic - but it does the job so it's really just a minor niggle I have. The other thing is the menu/GUI is a little sluggish (not painfully so, but enough to be a slight annoyance). The other thing about the GUI is it seems to be optimised for standard definition or 720P displays, as it seems a bit low quality and pixelated on my full hd display... But your going to spend your time watching movies - not the menus, so again this is a very minor flaw.
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on 15 April 2009
This item does not work with Philips lcd TV's with Ambilight. The Amblight gives out infrared that affects the remote control for the unit and also afects the unit by randomly scrolling menu's with no control whatsoever. I have contacted Western Digital who know of the problem with Philips and Samsung TV's but have as yet no answers at all and that it will be a long time before they do find one - if at all. I also contacted Philips who say they also know of there is a problem, but offer no answers. In the instruction book for my Phillips 9706 TV is does say that "Caution - To avoid bad infrared remote control reception, place your device out of sight of Ambilight."
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on 30 November 2008
I personally did not know products like this even existed until a little less than 2 weeks ago.

After reading some information regarding this product I didn't know what to expect really, because there are products on the market that end up being more hassle than they are worth with all the variations of codecs and containers used these days for media. And with media converter software included in the package I had my suspicions that this would be one of those products to avoid buying, but I was wrong.

My previous device for playback before this was a PS3 and XBOX 360 console, which had huge limitations on what they accepted for playback.

I ended up having to convert some media simply for it to be recognized to playback through these systems. So naturally when I came across this device I looked into it with great interest and searched for some early reviews, I was pleasantly surprised by peoples analysis of this product. They tested a range of media, at different resolutions, bitrates, codecs and the media player ended up playing them all back flawlessly. This then was a selling point for me, so I then placed an order.

I received my product and it was very simple to setup, literally within 5 minutes of unpacking the contents I had it setup, configured to my liking and was playing back my media on my home theater system. Lucky for me I had a few HDMI cables lying around, which in my opinion should be supplied in the package, but unfortunately isn't.

Now if you are like me and you store almost all of your media on external storage then this will be something you should look into purchasing. As I have a couple of 1TB external storage devices packed to the brim with media, this product even works well with an apple iPod with disk use enabled, played back 720p trailers no problem so great for on the move without taking bulky hard drives with you, media ranges on my storage from photo albums, music archives, movie and game trailers, TV shows to movie backups and some HD mkv content. And upon plugging these devices into this media player, I was pleased to see that the WD TV Media Player recognized my drives using an HFS+ filing system and FAT32 on my iPod, and the device played back almost everything I had stored on them.

Now depending on how large the capacity your external storage devices have, and how full they are, the archiving prcoess when you first start this device up may take a while. The first thing I noticed when I started browsing my media was the horrible thumbnail view mode, which in my case had no thumbnail images to any media, so the first thing I did was go and change some system settings to list all media as they are stored on the drives, in the corresponding folders, which I recommend everyone does.

Now there are some good points and bad points with this device, good points being it plays back almost everything, it is very small and easily concealed within your home theater system setup. It has a simple sleek design and interface, runs quietly and the included remote is very handy, it has a resume feature and it is portable for on the move.

Some bad points being, it seems to be doing some unnecessary processing / adjusting on the way to the TV, the device does sometimes get very warm, to on the verge of hot. It doesn't have any chapter features, thus you have to resort to fast forward and rewind which I personally found it had difficulty doing at high rates (x16) mainly, so hopefully you do not have a lot of very lenghty content to get through.

So overall it is an affordable media solution, it isn't the best on the market, but it does the job it was built for with little effort, for a whole range of different media you have stored away. Enjoy.
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on 28 November 2008
I've only this unit for 1 day, so this review should be read as initial impressions only.

The first thing that struck me about the WDTV is how tiny it is. It is small, sleek and shiny black plastic, with two reasonably bright white status lights at the front of the unit (power and USB access).

Setting the unit up is unbelievably simple - plug it in, plug in a USB hard drive loaded with media, and connect it to your tv (by HDMI or composite). It has optical out for those with AV recievers.

The menus are similar to the PS3's media browser. They are a bit sluggish and awkward but they get the job done. I recommend using the 'Video Folders' option to browse your media. I have a few hundred videos, all sorted into folders so this makes finding what I want easier.

This little unit played everything I've thrown at it, flawlessly. I've tried MP4's, Xvid, and 720p MKV's so far. It's also rumored to play ISOs and Video_TS files (albeit without menus).

- Plug and Play setup
- Small footprint
- silent operation
- Very easy to use
- Plays almost anything

- Gets warm (not hot, but warm)
- No network facilities (not a con for me, but for some people it is)
- Menu is sluggish
- Will not play subtitles from VOB files (rumored to be fixed in the next firmware update)
- Does not power down attached hard drives when switched off (again rumored to be fixed soon)
- No menus for ripped dvds
- Apparently has difficulty with some 1080 MKV files. I can't confirm this as I have a 720p tv :)

All of these cons aren't really a disappointment for me. I wouldn't use the network facilities, and rarely play things with subtitles. All of my ripped dvds are mp4's or Xvids to save space so I don't need menus. As for the power down issue - i just eject the hard drive and switch both units off at the wall. I don't like having things on standby.

Tips -
- Mac users: make sure your harddrives are formatted as HFS but without Journaling. Also make sure they use the Apple Partition System rather than the newer GUID. Note the included software is windows only.

- If your MKV's have embedded subtitles, you'll need to rip them out and save them as their own SRT files. Name them the same as the MKV file and they'll play just fine.

In conclusion - this unit is perfect for many people who don't want the hassle of setting up networks to stream media. Some people want to do that, and for them this unit may not be ideal for their situation. I think this should be rated 4 1/2 stars, as I really can't find any critical flaws. Whether it becomes a 5 star product depends on how well Western Digital update the firmware and continue to support the device.
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on 17 August 2009
First up i don't usually whinge on amazon. I buy quite a lot of stuff from the site and have generally been happy. But this product, work as it does, could have been so much better. Perhaps a firmware update would fix some of them. So listen up Western Digital:

It won't play back any of my .avi files.

When playing .vob files (they're the files you get when you back your DVDs up to your hard drive) it stops after each one, so annoyingly in the middle of a film you have to stop and select the next one. They work, but it would have been nice if it could detect them and play them in order.

The actual interface takes quite a while to load individual folders. It works but it's not particularly fast.

Also it's very hard to jump to chapters in films, there's only a fast forward option or a next movie option, so that can be frustrating.

Also it takes a few minutes to read my external hard drive each time i turn it on.

If anyone can help me out with any of these problems i'd be very grateful.
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on 17 June 2017
Bought in 2007 and still using in 2017
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on 5 December 2008
The Good :
-user interface

The Bad :
- no chapter skipping, so if you watch 3hr movies like me then you have to fast forward or rewind and it ain't fast
- no DVD menus from ISO files, it's like buying a car that can only go forward or backwards
- sluggish menus eg choosing between movies, music and photo is a slow laborious process.

The Ugly :
beware Western Digital support for this product is non-existant, so don't expect any love... it really is shocking I spent time emailing them without any response, it's been over a week.
I purchased the Popcorn Hour A-110 and would highly recommend it.
It is a product that is very well supported.
You get what you pay for.
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on 20 July 2016
Used this for many years. Now smart TV's have taken over and do most of the functionality of this box.
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on 18 August 2016
V good
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on 14 January 2016
Looks good, prompt delivery, all OK.
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