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WD TV Live Hub Media Center Review

By on December 22, 2010
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Beautiful interface and simple to use.

Good: Gorgeous User Interface, Simple to setup, Plays all kinds of videos
Bad: No built-in Wi-Fi, no HDMI cable included
Price: AED 899
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

While the hardware receives a good refresh compared to the old version of Western Digital’s TV Media Player, it’s the software and user interface that is even more impressive. The default Mochi theme of WD TV Live Hub is simple, beautiful and extremely functional. The following video from YouTube shows off the interface quite nicely.

As you can see, your main menu has an awesome amount of space for your background image with weather and time shown on top. The menus are divided between videos, music, photos, files and services along with any firmware update notifications and setup. For videos, music and photos, you can define the locations where your data is stored and WD TV Live Hub gathers meta data from the Internet. For example, for all your videos, if it finds a match, it displays info such as synopsis, actors, director and poster.

Services is an interesting area where you can define online services to stream information from. You have facebook and flickr plugins that allows you to not only see photos and info but also post to your wall. Sadly background notifications are not supported at the moment so for example, you will have to visit the facebook app to see if there are any updates.

Other than Facebook and Flickr, you have YouTube and MediaFly available for watching the latest home made videos or listening to podcasts. Audio related content can be backgrounded, so for example, while listening to a podcast or your music, you can switch to photos and expect the audio to continue. US users can also enjoy Netflix and BlockBuster on their devices- the rest of us will need a VPN ;)

Obviously, the most important thing for a Media Center is to playback your files and the WD TV Live Hub passes this test with flying colours. I tried a bunch of different formats- from avi to wmv and mkv in standard def, 720p and 1080p and every file played perfectly without any sync issues. With firmware upgrades any new format that pops up in the upcoming future could also be supported by it.

Overall, the WD TV Live Hub is an extremely easy to use media center than is reasonably powerful. It might not have the tweaking that a power user requires, but that is probably not the target market for WD. It’s 1TB internal storage should also prove to be sufficient for most of its users and its sharing abilities make it a nice little networked storage box.

Priced at AED 899, we think the WD TV Live Hub is an excellent addition for someone looking to watch their data on their big screen with a gorgeous interface and minimal setup.

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About

Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of tbreak.com and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

Comments
  • Rehan

    Would have been better to include support for surround sound instead of plain old stereo. I imagine only way to get that for now is through a HTPC.

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