A low-cost and simple media player solution.
There’s an awful lot to like about the WD TV Live. It’s widely available, is simple enough for your parents to use, doesn’t cost much and gets the job done. The WD TV live isn’t loaded with a massive amount of features. It has a simple remote, two USB ports and the ability to stream over SMB or UPnP. It even remembers SMB passwords, so you only need to enter them once.
It worked flawlessly with our TwonkyServer. It found the server quickly and had no problems playing any of the media we threw at it. It didn’t even stutter on the 1080p MKV video. The picture quality was smooth, and fast-forwarding and rewind were adequate.
The interface is quite simple -- just the way it should be. If you want to watch videos, regardless of where they’re stored, you scroll up or down to ‘Videos’. Listen to music? Go to the ‘Music’ area. The menu can get a little deep (especially for accessing SMB shares), and for complex shares it can be a little annoying to navigate, but anybody should be able to handle it.
The box includes apps for a set of popular online services: ABC iView, YouTube, Facebook, SHOUTcast, Picasa and a few others. Barring ABC’s iView (which is great), these are neither terribly quick nor useful (especially given how painful it is to “type” using the compact remote of the WD TV), but they can pass the time if you’re super-bored. The same is true of the onboard games.
If you’re looking for a simple, low-cost solution, the WD TV isn’t a bad bet at all. It doesn’t have the fancier features of a console or an Android player, but most people really don’t need them.
Pros : Easy to use, plays from USB, SMB and UPnP sources, cheap
Cons : The included apps aren’t very compelling.
Price: $135 | From: Western Digital | Verdict: 8 out of 10. Highly recommended