"Does everything you want and need"4.5 starson by pocketneo
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.