WD TV Live Review

By on January 12, 2012
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All your entertainment needs in one tiny box.

Good: Small size, Passive cooling, Easy setup, Can play virtually any file format video and audio
Bad: Navigating menus isn't instantaneous, Browsing through radio stations and YouTube videos is laggy
Price: AED 550
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

The first thing I did once I started up the WD TV Live is hook it up to my WiFi connection. Using the onscreen keyboard is painfully slow, but that’s the nature of all such data entry methods without keyboards. Once that is done, it was time for some firmware updates, which is mildly annoying. Of course, one can start using the WD TV Live straight out of the box, but knowing that there’s a latest firmware which improves system performance is too much to ignore.

Once everything is updated, it’s easy to connect the WD TV Live to any existing storage that’s on the home WiFi network. This is the point where you can start streaming pretty much any type of video or audio file on your hard drives.

I streamed an 8GB video file encoded at a bitrate of 8MB at a resolution of 720p. The WD TV Live streamed flawlessly over my network, with not a single hiccup during playback. Obviously there was a 5 to 8 second delay when I played the movie for the first time and when I paused and resumed playback in the middle, but those are delays I can live with.

As for streaming videos directly from the internet is concerned, in the UAE we only get to have publicly uploaded videos on YouTube and Vimeo. And while normal SD videos ran almost instantaneously on the WD TV Live, loading up HD videos on both YouTube and Vimeo took a good 8 to 12 seconds to start on my 8MB Du connection at home. After that, though, it was smooth sailing with not a single buffer or loading required in the middle of the HD video stream.

Radio stations took some time to navigate through, although I’m not sure whether it was the hardware that’s slow or the latency caused by my Du home connection. Still, once selected, a radio station would load up in 5 to 6 seconds.

Outside of streaming, let’s not forget that the WD TV Live is capable of playing media directly from USBs and portable hard drives. Once plugged in through the USB, all the media on that storage device is accessible instantly. Playback of literally any file type, not matter how large (or encoded with high bitrate), the WD TV Live played it back immediately.

So if you’re planning to have a local media hub which allows you to playback practically any audio and video file you have stored, on local storage or streamed off your network, look no further than the WD TV Live. It’s a small and very affordable solution to watching everything on your big screen TV without the mess of multiple wires.


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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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  • Guest

    Hi, is the product available now, and with which retailers?

    • Taimoor Hafeez

      It should be available at Sharaf DG, Carrefour, Plug-Ins, and all other major electronic outlets.

  • Derek

    I own a WDTV Live, despite its great features, the biggest draw back for me is the fact that it cannot create play lists on the fly, which when having a nice music collection should be pretty standard. The only way to get play lists going is to create them ‘offline’ on your pc and play the file on the WDTV Live. That means everytime I’d like to spice my mix, I need to run for the nearest pc with my hdd in hand… silly really :(

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