Gone are the days where you would need to burn a video or audio file to a DVD or CD in order to play it on a TV or theatre system. With the WDTV Live media player, one only needs to connect the device via a network connection or USB to play almost any media file. This media player plays full 1080p HD video and also has a YouTube app built into it so that you can stream YouTube videos straight to your TV. I wouldn’t see it as hard to argue that media players, in general, have taken a bite out of the Blu-ray market. These devices have probably increased the amount of downloading of movies and TV shows as it becomes so easy to play whatever you have on your PC to your TV.
The WDTV Live comes with a small remote that enables one to interact with the user interface. The user interface itself is quite easy to navigate as it presents icons of videos, music, and pictures that you can simply play by pressing the enter button on the remote. A USB keyboard can also be attached to aid in typing of search strings for YouTube videos.
There are two USB ports, an Ethernet adapter, a HDMI connection, and composite connectors as well. The device can be made to connect to a wireless network with the purchase of a separate wireless adapter that is compatible with the device. The list of compatible wireless adapters can be found from the WD website.
There are a number of issues that can arise in terms of operability. One of the most annoying problems is the network connection issue. Workgroup computers are sometimes not detected, or funny connection errors come on the screen when trying to connect to a PC. Even though there have been a number of firmware updates, WD still hasn’t been able to resolve many of the network problems that plague the WDTV Live.
There are also issues with playback of certain media file types. Encodings of HD video sometimes result in jittery playback, where the media player is unable to smoothly play the HD video. This is not always the case, although it happens more frequently to 1080p videos than 720p videos.
If you can see past the glitches that come with this device, it will provide you with one of the most unique entertainment experiences found today. The ease of playing audio, pictures, and videos from any network PC or USB is what makes this device applicable to tech enthusiasts and people interested in multimedia entertainment.