Pros Ethernet Networkable, 2 USBs for any external hard drive make/model, HDMI 1080p up-convert, component, and RCA connection. Its small and fits anywhere. It has a cool interface and sets up very fast (I had zero problems!)
Cons Although it can access the internet, it does not let you surf. It only gives you access to YouTube, Flickr and a couple of other web media content sites (some free)
Summary After having looked at the HP media center, xBox, PS3, media extenders like Popcorn Hour, Sligbox, etc, the WD TV Live HD Media Player was all I really needed and the price was still decent.
Who's kidding who, the ideal solution is one that is scalable and has an easy to setup interface that can be tweaked by those who want/need to, and has the most positive advantages over competitors. I didn't care for Blue-ray, so I was ok walking away from the PS3.
This unit played all the formats I gave it like mpeg, avi, DVD's video_ts files, mp4, mp3, etc). I set mine up on a network with 1 external hard drive plugged into 1 of the 2 USB-2 ports, an ethernet connection to my D-Link router, which connects to my PC which also and its own external hard drive. I played movies and looked at pictures from all locations with ease.
I like that the unit can have its firmware upgraded, and more so via the ethernet connection and a menu option too! If WD uses firmwares to improve the unit's features more in addition to whatever bugs happen, then that would add more reason for people to buy it. I like units that have a longer shelf life then having to trade up all the time. Only makes people like me look at competition. I'd be willing to pay a small price for upgrades that improve functionality.
I didn't care so much for the internet media content providers. Its evident in their user guide how much attention was put into how to use their services that you wonder if WD is making money off these program's usage when the account is a paid account.
What would make this baby the Mercedes in my opinion is a few things:
(a) Allow true internet surfing via your networked connection. A decent browser would make this experience awesome (firefox, opera, etc).
(b) Add a keyboard and maybe even a mouse support for the surfing.
(c) Improve the file display, allowing greater file selection display in some modes (like 30 files instead 10).
(d) Add a notation in their handbook or user guide for how to use other remotes other then the native remote which btw is still nice.
Overall, I give this unit a 2 thumbs up.
Pros I never really got to use it for the purpose it was intended, however it was easy to connect to my HDTV and turn it on.
Cons Product packaging is misleading re. compatibility with USB storage devices, as is the Mfg. product overview comments at their website. .
Summary <p>After connecting the device to my HDTV and powering on, the device menu screen quickly appeared on screen. I then connected my WD10 internal hd, which is in an Acomdata external enclosure, & the WD device would not recognize it. I then connected another WD hd (WD64) also in a like enclosure, and had the same result. Then I began to do research.</p>
<p>When you go to the knowledge base at WD for this device & look at the USB compatible storage device list, that list is very small, mainly containing WD's own portable hard drives. I called customer support suspecting that perhaps there was a problem with enclosure compatibility, which was confirmed. In addition I was advised that this device does not support connection with any external enclosure for any internal hd, even including WD's own internal hard drives.</p>
<p>Of course you can work around that with a network connection, but that is beside the point. The way the product is marketed (re. USB storage devices) vs. what you actually get are two different things. It seems like WD wants buyers that don't have compatible devices to buy one of their portable hd's, which is what was suggested to me by customer support.</p>
<p>Compare this WD device to the Netgear Digital Entertainer Live which has no compatibility issues (per their customer support) at all with external enclosures for internal hd's. To me that's a basic issue. It doesn't matter how well this WD device performs with content onscreen, if it isn't first compatible with many usb storage devices. </p>
I'm returning mine to the place of purchase and getting the Netgear device, which also costs $40.00 less.
Pros Recognizes most media files to include Mpeg-4 & M2TS(Blu-Ray). DTS and DD also supported. Definitely offers a cheaper alternative to cable/sat company administered DVR's with a larger HD attached. A must for Home Theater enthusiasts.
Cons Unless you have a LAN bandwidth extender attached, you cannot stream HD, Internet or even DVD without issues. I had to add a powerline wireless extender in order to wireless stream files successfully! Mini remote is not too efficient!
Summary All in all a great value for Blu-Ray pirates who need a disc-less folder system capable of backing up large numbers of HD movies(30 or more with a 1.5TB HD attached).
WDHD Live..$119 + $120 for a decent sized HD, definitely a cheaper alternative to insanely priced standalone Blu-Ray players/Recorders.
Pros Decent feature set and codec set. Was a good device eclipsed by competition
Cons -- Networking issues. WD says they will try and address in upcoming firmware but they have had firmware nightmares and no progress.
-- Can't play DVD file features such as chapters and menus which competion can do.
Summary I think WD is being caught with its pants down. Competing products can playback DVD files on hard drive or network with chapter movement and menus and the WD can not. Asus can, Syabas Popcorn and Popbox can, Seagate can and almost all the rest can. For me watching DVD type files is half to 3/4 of my use and so that is a significant drawback.
There are also network drops. I am not talking about network configuration issues, but the WD dropping connections when everything is properly configured. If your read WD own forums you see people who really know their networks, at a professional level, are finding the WD unit tends to drop connections to the home network, and I can say this has happened regularly both of my NAS and my WHS.
This WAS a good a good device in the fall, but the competition has moved way beyond it.
"Bad design"on by dnnguyen
Pros Many useful features in network storage and internet access
Cons Lack of next/prev chapter functions is the worst thing in any video device. That put the device back to the VCR days. This is really bad design.
Summary You can view video from various sources. However, it is like a VCR. Unless WD releases a firmware upgrade with the next/prev functions to support track/chapter skipping, it's not worth buying.