Beautiful interface and simple to use.
I’ve always been a big fan of Media Centers- largely due to my love of movies and television. Traditionally, I would build a Media Center PC to my exact needs but small and light boxes have become so powerful that it’s easier to simply buy one than build from scratch- especially if most of your media is distributed across your network computers and storage devices.
Recently, I looked at the Zotac Zbox BluRay which is more of a traditional PC in a small form factor. As much as I liked it, it still requires quite a bit of setup and definitely not one that you can give your parents as a gift. If you want something that works out of the box, you have a few other options such as Apple TV, the Boxee box and WD TV Live Hub which is the one we are looking at today.
Packaged in a nice little box, the WD TV Live Hub measures just 154x198x31.5mm which should fit quite nicely in a TV cabinet. There is no brick type of power adapter which is good as you don’t have to worry about hiding any power adapters. Along with the main unit, Western Digital includes a remote control and a quickstart guide. Sadly no cables required to connect the unit to the TV, such as HDMI or Component, are included.
The WD TV Live Hub is a very clean looking box with the front sporting the WD logo when turned on. A power switch and a USB port is present on the front of the unit along with the hidden iR receiver. Everything is extremely well concealed and all you end up seeing is a sleek and good looking box. The remote is also nice to hold but sadly the one bundled in our package was DOA. These things happen and we don’t blame WD for it. We used the Logitech Harmony Universal Remote for operating the WD TV Live Hub.
On the back side, you have a slew of connections. Starting from the left, there is a power connector, a TOSLink Optical Audio output port, an HDMI connector, a USB port, the Ethernet port and finally composite and component video outputs with two channel audio between them.
Internally, the WD TV Live Hub is powered by the Sigma Designs SMP 8654AD Video decoder which is fast enough for decoding 1080p movies. Gigabit Ethernet is also a great addition, however, Wi-Fi is lacking which I think should have been included for a box targeted towards the casual user. The unit comes equipped with a 1TB 2.5” drive connected through a SATA interface which is more than adequate space and a welcome change from the previous generation of WD TV that had no storage whatsoever.