back to article Western Digital WD TV HDD-to-HDTV adaptor

Streaming media players were all the rage a couple of years ago. They were a nice idea, allowing you to stream music and video files stored on your computer over your home network to a TV or music system. However, most of them were expensive and fiddly to set up, so they never really caught on. The next step was the ‘ …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    No DivX? Fail.

    These things should include divx and xvid support as standard, I'm not going to spend time cocking about with converting a library of video just so it'll work on one device, when I could buy another product that can handle them out of the box. Hell, even a cheap media player hard disk enclosure would probably be less hassle.

  2. Alex Walsh
    Thumb Down

    No Divx?

    Divx isn't just used by Bittorrenters you know. My Archos uses it, as does my xbox 360, and consequently, that was the format I ripped my entire DVD collection to.

    Oh well :(

    Any chance of Divx support via a firmware upgrade?

  3. The Jon


    ...whats the ui like? Does it support playlists? Will it do gapless playback? There appears to be a remote control, does it work well? Come on Reg, you've told us all about its features, but did you actually use it?

  4. Tim

    i'll stick with my ps3.

    its better..... though a tad pricier....

  5. Rob Beard


    So um... it doesn't support Makrosa then? One of the most popular video containers for HD freetards everywhere?

    Nice idea, I guess it could possibly be upgraded with firmware updates, I'm a bit disapointed though that it doesn't include at least an ethernet port.

    I think I'll give this one a miss.


  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think I'd rather pay the extra money and get a PS3 which will do all of this and play DVDs, BDs, DivX files, connects to the internet and to Media Server, oh and it plays games as well.

  7. Jamie S


    support would have been good also

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    iPod / Apple hardware issues

    "The iPod issue is disappointing..."

    So, don't get an iPod. It's not WD's fault that Apple use proprietary disk journaling systems on their internal storage and file indexing on their iPods. Apple does NOT dictate how the world should work. The consumer will be tricked into buying their rubbish, though, and it's those (few) in the know who suffer.

    If I used a TV for watching videos / TV (and not a huge monitor connceted to my PC) i'd be very tempted by this device. Very tempted indeed. Apart from the lack of reading VOB from ripped DVDs (but I guess it's my fault for using that format).

  9. David Gosnell

    Nice enough idea

    But a shame they (like many other manufacturers) assume that the large number of people still happy with SDTV are also happy with ZX Spectrum quality video connection. RGB SCART gives a brilliant display for typical SDTV sizes, but increasingly is no longer supported even on devices with easily enough space for the portage. Probably a combination of the HD agenda and the historic lack of global support for SCART in a market increasingly being US-led.

  10. Sam York

    A real shame

    That there's no Ethernet/WiFi connectivity....

    Otherwise I'd have ordered one already! WD missed a trick there I feel.

  11. Anonymous Coward


    By "ripped DVDs", you of course refer to legally backed-up films, I assume. :)

  12. Andy

    Google "MythTV"

    I bought a £25 pIII and turned it into a "media centre" using MythTV. It sounds like it would give this £100 job a run for it's money.

    Okay, it helps if you're a Linux nut. And a friend donated a freeview card (about £30). But I seem to remember that Linux will read Mac discs just fine...

  13. Dabooka
    Thumb Down

    No DivX?

    And all for a mere £100? Bargain.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No DivX?

    No DivX?????

    Had they planned on selling any of these things? Convert my films using ArcSoft MediaConverter™ 2.5? Get stuffed.

    This would have been ideal, especially with the MP3 player app, but I'm going to have to look for alternative products that are useful.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    What no VOB ?

    Looks an interesting idea but without VOB support and ideally ISO support it's no good to me.

  16. BenA
    Thumb Down

    Why did they bother

    As in the above comments they seem to have missed a trick or three.

    I'm happy with TVersity running in the background on a PC that picks up all media on my network. I then watch it on my xbox 360. Tversity converts files on the fly so format is never an issue.

  17. Tony Barnes

    Could be useful..

    This actually looks like it could be a useful replacement for my chipped mk1 xbox that I currently use as a media centre - it's major shortfall is it can't physically process the HD content, though it plays lower res stuff admirably. I still don't consider my 360 to be a media center at all - it refuses to connect to my PC, and it won't play a damn thing that I put on disc for it, crap in other words.

    Big questions/comments on this -

    1. will it hook up to a PC via USB to browse it's drives? (would save having an external being moved about)

    2. DivX seems to be omitted, but can be converted to, annoying extra step for a large chunk of files

    3. Why is there no LAN for firmware updates / connecting straight to PC (as per point 1!)?

    My old xbox is awesome for being able to play EVERYTHING you throw at it (bar the high res stuff) - if they update it to do the same, via LAN, then I would buy one in a flash

  18. Patrick

    doesn’t support DivX video - WASTE OF TIME

    This box is a waste of time. All my films are divx format and there's no way I'm going to

    spend hundreds of hours converting them.

    I've also got a Zyxel DMA-1000 - an ethernet based video streamer. It is a similar waste of time - claims to support avi/divx but only plays a small portion of them. The manufacturers claim it's a limitation of the hardware and they can't fix it.

    There is a big gap in the market for a device such as this. It's just strange the manufacturers specifically left out DivX support.

    And £100 is far too expensive when you can buy a £20 DVD/DivX player which happily all DivX/AVI files off a USB memory stick or DVD.

  19. Jon Brunson


    Grab yourself an old PC, and stick XBMC on it, much cheaper, and far superior.

  20. Dr_Spain
    IT Angle

    Divx Situation is grave and constant- or is it?

    Can someone other than me be bothered to double-check with WD that these things can't play Divx/Xvid/Makrosa files (Come on El'Reginald, contact WD and get the facts straight)

    This is a major issue for most of the potential buyers. i.e. me and a few of you and my brother and his mates and my mates and your mates, etc.

    Unless of course, this is actually aimed at mums and dads who just want to show what they did in Bournemouth with the new baby, etc, etc through a craply converted Windows Movie Maker effort. Listen, I am sure the kid is great but there's a point to be made when a device that doesn't include a cheap fan system that will fail after the warranty is bust is available to the market.

    Am I supposed to shell out another £230 for a TVix HD?

    P.S. Whoever made that comment about legitimately ripped DVDs achieved a perfect score if it was some mundane attempt at creepy-crawly big-brother love was absolutely right to remain anonymous. It was almost as pointless as me having a go at you about it.

  21. ralpharoo

    got one, it plays XviD just fine

    so I assume that DivX shouldn't be a problem either.

    I think the BitTorrent Brigade should be just fine.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll stick with my eva8000

    And cant wait till the eva9000 is out.

  23. Trevor Watt

    My Samsung Home Theater kit does all this and DivX

    My Samsung Home Theater kit does all this and DivX, but only with a FAT32 format. Oh well, you can't have everything....

  24. Jamie S
    Thumb Up

    re: Makrosa

    yes, i have used this supports MKV (Makrosa) files mate - smooth as you like too

  25. Arnold Lieberman
    Thumb Up


    Turned an original xbox into a media centre that even the family can use for the grand sum of nothing. Plays just about everything chucked at it apart from H.264 (which I don't care about as I've got a CRT), ISO files, zip files (unpacks media on the fly), FLAC etc. etc. And as a bonus it plays games.

    Before that we had a Pc doing media centre duties but I could never get it user-friendly enough to not need my constant assistance.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Complete waste of time

    As a previous poster already said do WD really WANT to sell these things?

    Look at the list, No Divx, Xvid, MKV, VOB or iso support.

    What about the music formats, no Flac or Ogg, (I assume, since you dont mention them).

    No network port, or stereo RCA jacks.

    Complete waste of time (especially if your Video and/or music is already ripped to

    a non supported format).

  27. Chris Walton

    May have DivX?

    Other reviews of this device (see Google) indicate that it does support DivX even though it is not listed in the supported formats. It would be nice to have a definitive answer to this. An ethernet port would also be very useful.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Popcorn Hour A-110

    The Good :

    -high quality AV output


    -user interface


    The Bad :

    - no chapter skipping, so if you watch 3hr movies like me then you have to fast forward or rewind and it ain't fast

    - no DVD menus from ISO files, it's like buying a car that can only go forward or backwards

    - sluggish menus eg choosing between movies, music and photo is a slow laborious process.

    I purchased the Popcorn Hour A-110 and would highly recommend it.

    It is a product that is very well supported.

    You get what you pay for.

  29. Alex Walsh

    @ AC

    By "ripped DVDs", you of course refer to legally backed-up films, I assume. :)

    Nope, I actually mean the 7 archive boxes of DVD's up in the loft :)

    The biggest pain is ripping series but its eminently doable.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Should support xvid/divx and Matroska

    I don't own one, so I can't comment from experience, but at least on WDs website ( it says that the device _does_ indeed support xvid and Matroska (mkv).

  31. Dr_Spain

    actuial WD specs

    File Formats Supported

    Music - MP3, WMA, OGG, WAV/PCM/LPCM, AAC, FLAC, Dolby Digital, AIF/AIFF, MKA


    Video -MPEG1/2/4, WMV9, AVI (MPEG4, Xvid, AVC), H.264, MKV, MOV (MPEG4, H.264)

    Playlist - PLS, M3U, WPL

    Subtitle -SRT (UTF-8)


    - MPEG2/4, H.264, and WMV9 supports up to 1920x1080p 24fps, 1920x1080i 30fps, 1280x720p 60fps resolution

    - An audio receiver is required for surround sound output. AAC/Dolby Digital decodes in 2 channel output only

    - JPEG does not support CMYK or loss less.

    - BMP supports uncompressed format only.

    - TIF/TIFF supports single layer only.

    File Formats Not Supported

    Does not support protected premium content such as movies or music from the iTunes® Store, Cinema Now, Movielink®, Amazon Unbox™, and Vongo®

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Completely NOT TRUE

    I bought one of these last month and I can say it DOES play MKV (H264) up to 1080p. It also plays XVID and VOBs. The only thing it won't play is a DTS soundtrack, but the digital out copes with that through an amp. Haven't tried ISOs as I burn these to a disk instead.

  33. David
    Thumb Down

    No Surround Either :(

    Website claims that Dolby surround output is 2 channel only....

    Great idea, but missing too many tricks.

  34. Paul Hanley
    Jobs Halo

    Popcorn Hour A-110

    Ok twice the price but silent and plays all of the above formats that you are all moaning about (apart from Apple DRM'ed files obviously).

    On the ability to play files bought from iTunes, why do reviewers always get disappointed by the fact that you can't play iTunes DRM protected files on anything other than Apple hardware? Has there been some big announcement from Apple (or anybody else for that matter) saying that they have opened up Apple DRM to other hardware manufacturers? No of course there hasn't and it isn't going to change because WD or anybody else bring out a piece of hardware that will sell 0.00001% of what the iPod does. Lets get real and deal with reality here regardless of if it is right or wrong.

  35. Bad Beaver

    @ David Gosnell

    The idea is to make you WISH you had a HD set so you go BUY one.

  36. Mike A

    It does support divx!

    This most certainly supports DivX (every version I've tried so far) - and .mkv and every non drm'd video format you can imagine. I have one and, after about a month, I can't find any video file that it won't run. Do you seriously think a major player would release a media player without divx support? This little thing has been extremely stable and picture quality with decent res files is extremely good. I watched an .mkv of No Country For Old Men last week on it and it was practically indistinguishable from the blu ray copy I have.

  37. Mike A

    .ISO, .VOB Support

    Sorry, forgot to say that it also supports .vob and .iso - with .iso it will simply play the main movie - no access to the menu.

  38. A J Stiles

    Wot no SCART?

    It's a shame about the absence of a SCART socket. On any TV of 50cm. or larger, the difference between a composite signal and an RGB signal is obvious. If I didn't know better, I'd suspect this was a deliberate attempt to persuade people that the old-fashioned, low-definition 625-line system (which was once described as high-definition, back in the 405-line days) is no good.

    I'm also sure many people *haven't* got blisteringly-fast multi-core boxes (with painstakingly-tweaked kernels omitting all unnecessary drivers) on which to run ffmpeg and so convert their video files to supported formats :)

  39. Paul Adamson

    Plays Xvid, and MKV

    Well it does play XviD and does play MKV container stuff..


  40. John Roberts
    Dead Vulture

    Did you test DIvx?

    Any actually tested divx? (or did you review the spec sheet? Divx and xvid are variants of MPEG4, therefore likely supported...

  41. Graham Jordan

    Twonky / U share

    Nothing Twonky / ushare / media ctr won't do really then is it.

    Though having said that I was tempted with one myself, advertise it with mkv support which lets be honest, if you download, the chances are you download mkv's.

    Nope, i'll stick to NAS with Twonky on thanks. Does the job for me.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Damn it!

    I was so excited..

    but No divx = nojoy

    and no Network/Wireless is the killer.

    Please try harder.

  43. andy gibson

    £99 buys you

    A half decent media player hard drive with full multi-format support from Maplin, PC World or Scan.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: "It does support divx!" by Mike A

    Hurrah! This might be on the Christmas list, then....

  45. Ian Entwistle
    Paris Hilton

    Blu ray player???

    So could we put a blu ray player in a USB caddy and have a useable player?

    Paris cause obviously she's no doubt already on blu ray...

  46. Eddie Johnson

    Nice try but

    no divx and no component video earn this product a FAIL.

    I'm eagerly awaiting the competing offerings though.

  47. Daniel Harris
    Thumb Up

    Sounds pretty good.

    Sounds like it does have DivX support from what people have said.

    I would be tempted to get one of these if it had WiFi and Ethernet and could act as a wireless/wired media server that a PS3/Xbox 360/PC could connect to from anywhere in the house and access the files on the HDD.

    Would be perfect if the PS3 (for example) just picked it up and used its usual PS3 interface, then on your actual TV that the WD is connected to elsewhere in the house you would use the WD menu that's built into the device.

    Another useful feature would be if it could pick up shared files from a wireless computer elsewhere in the house and play them directly on the TV.

    Would be an easy way of sharing files since it seems to support all the same formats as PC's / Mac's / Games Consoles.

  48. Pseudo-Ops
    Thumb Down

    Dosen't make the grade.

    I have seen an used one of these. There are many little niggles about this bit of kit from WD. I have at home a Popcorn Hour A110 HD and this virtually plays all video inc mkv + h.264 and audio files and has a lot higher spec inc Dolby 7.1. Which costs around £200. It completely blows the WD out of the water, sorry WD but it's just another product that dosen't make the grade.

  49. David Gosnell

    @ Bad Beaver

    Yep, that's what I meant by the "HD agenda". It's no different to Gilette (allegedly) actively lowering the quality of their older razor cartridges to persuade you you really do need 15 micro-oscillating quantum blades with Aloe Vera Duckworth 'n all. A J Stiles has it dead right above.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    surround sound :)

    No Surround Either :(

    David • Thursday 18th December 2008 12:17 GMT

    Thumb Down

    Website claims that Dolby surround output is 2 channel only....

    Great idea, but missing too many tricks.

    Dobly DIGITAL is 2 channel output, if you switch it to optical output, you can get the full surround sound but you need an amp...

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DivX/Xvid playback

    Of course it plays DivX/Xvid videos, though I haven't tried *.divx files - sometimes called Ultra DivX. Even then I guess it'd play them if renamed to *.avi, you'd just lose the chapters etc. that Ultra DivX can do.

    It sometimes has trouble playing early WMV files (I'm guessing old wmv1 and wmv2 encodes).

    Biggest disappointment for me is the lack of component output

  52. Neil Daniels

    Just out of interest...

    How many of this type of unit *do* support MKV and h264? It seems to be the one thing that is almost non-existent - if this does indeed support everything it may just be awesome. Network port would be even better however. HTPC for £100? Yes please.

    (although I do like having a full HTPC and WMC)

  53. Steve
    Thumb Down


    Oh it's not April, well why would they announce this?

  54. fred

    So many errors in story and comments! Does DivX, XviD, mkv, ISO, VOB...

    I'm so shocked at the poor information in this article, and the outburst of misguided comments ("no divx!?"), that I decided to register to post a comment.

    I have one of these, and I know it *DOES* mpeg4 (xvid, divx, ...) in AVI container as I've tested it. Also does .srt subtitles in separate file (same basename in same folder). I also tested a ripped DVD in .iso, which plays the main video (but doesn't show the menu). From the forums that I followed on this player, others play MKV (720p, 1080p ...), MP4, OGG, FLAC, AC3, etc

    Admittedly, this toy has issues - some of which (*) WD promised will be addressed by firmware updates. Others are simply out of scope (no Wifi, no DRM formats like Apple's). And sure, you can buy another device (Popcorn) at double+ the price.

    But before shooting it down, people should really look at price AND features.

    You want a full featured media player... sure, take your pick... but pay the higher price.

    You're looking for a nicely priced media player that DOESN'T break the bank and plays a wide range of formats without getting too networky-complicated, and plays the new formats like MKV and does hi-def (through HDMI without HDCP encryption)? Then look closely at the WDTV.

    For me, it hit the right balance.

    (*) some of the current flaws: no support for more exotic charsets in subtitles (greek, polish, ...); some missing power features (doesn't power down the attached bus-powered HDD, when it's off); can't flip through DVD chapters or play DVD menu (but can do DVD subtitles);

  55. Abstract8
    Thumb Down

    ... audio sync problem

    It works as advertised including MKV files (had to pick stereo audio/not digital).

    However, out of 5 one-hour files, all start to obviously lose audio sync 5-10 minutes into the video.

    This may be because I'm using a Cosair Voyager thumb drive. I haven't spooled a hard drive to it yet, but I bought it for thumb drive use.

  56. Timo
    Thumb Down

    why bother

    I have been eyeing a Philips DVD player at Costco, (this week on sale for $40) that has a USB input, and can read USB hard drives (not just thumbdrives) AND it can play DivX. AND it upscales ordinary DVD discs to 1080p if you want AND has HDMI outputs. The forums say that it works as advertised. I'd attach the link or at least the model number but the Philips site seems especially braindead right now.

    So WD gives you much less for a lot more money. Maybe they will knock the price down once it hits the clearance bin. But it would have to be like $20. Not likely. FAIL

  57. Neoc
    Thumb Down

    Review is bogus.

    Any review that mentions AVI (file encapsulation protocol) in the same breath with DIVX (a data compression protocol) deserves to be sneered at.

    Let's get our nomenclature straight:

    1) There are *codec* (COmpression/DECompression) formats such as DIVX, H264, MPG etc... these are use to take the video data and reduce it to a manageable size (there are also audio codecs, such as AAC, MP3, etc...); and

    2) There are *file* formats such as AVI, MP4, MKV, MOV, etc... these are use to take video and audio (and in some cases, subtitling) data and hold them in a single file.

    BTW: MKV stands for *Matrovska*.

    Thus, and contrary to what MS would have you believe, it is perfectly possible to have an AVI file containing H264 video and AAC audio data. And (out-of-the-box) Windows Media Player would have a fit because while it understands the AVI *file format* it does not have the bits required to deal with the *codecs*.

    Some people have stated the device will handle MKV and H264... I'll believe when I see it. More important to me is the lack of network connectivity (wired or wi-fi, I don't care: I's got blue cables in my walls at home as well as a wi-fi router for the laptop and Wii); lack of non-ascii subtitle fonts; and, from the sound of it, lack of support for dynamic soft subtitles.

    Note: if you have no idea what I'm talking about, DSS are subtitles which are kept on a separate stream in the file (in other word, they are not embedded in the video stream) which also contain details for subtitle placements, colour, movement, etc... used very much by the better anime fansubbers to provide english translation for signs *next to the sign* as opposed to the default bottom-of-the-screen.

    I'll stick with my Mozart HTPC running Media Player Classic and the CCCP codec pack for the moment, thank you very much.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    NO Ethernet =No fun

    are they serious, £100 for a 2008 HD content player without Ethernet in todays LAN connected world, crazy, and more so that people here think this units good....

    at least it seems it does play the AVC codec.

    you mention containers but very little about the supported codecs, they are not the same thing......

    YOU PEOPLE DO Know you can get an MS arcade360 that can network stream AVC/H.264 HD and connects to your HDTV/SDTV in several ways for £129 right? and you get to play games when your not streaming your video content.

  59. vincent himpe

    eh ...

    How is not being able to play Apple DRM crippled files a problem ? Simply boycott DRM crippled stuff.

    And if you want a serious mediaplayer : buy a Tvix6500 or one of the other devices made by Dvico.

    Lots of players claim they can handle 1080. Sure they will output in 1080 , but has anyone fed them a true 1080 stream ? Like an M2T stream containing HDV video data ? Most of these small box media players roll over and die if they have to play that , simply because they don't have the horsepower nor the memory needed to tackle it.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Containter vs Codec

    "Video -MPEG1/2/4, WMV9, AVI (MPEG4, Xvid, AVC), H.264, MKV, MOV (MPEG4, H.264)"

    So it can play Xvid in AVI but not Xvid in MKV? 264 on its own or in MOV...

    Slightly poorly formatted "video" list there.

  61. Paul Charters

    I don't get it...

    The first and most important thing I don't quite understand:

    Why would the company that produced hard disks that (through their software) would not allow you to copy music and video files onto them produce a player that plays music and videos from a hard disk? It's completely hypocritical!

    The things that I've pieced together through skimming the comments:

    .iso rips of DVDs don't work properly - playing the main movie only seems unlikely - surely it plays all the legal warnings and everything, otherwise WD would have a massive legal fight on it's hands...

    I don't see support for rips of blu-ray discs, so that's out.

    I haven't seen any mention of being able to update/add any codecs - I know this isn't a generally available thing on media players - but surely it's past time that it is?

    No ethernet - by now media players should be putting Gb network cards in these players.

    I'm not particularly interested in a new player until I see something that can play my blu-ray collection rips (ok, the blu-rays I will start buying once I can rip and play them from images).

    Too many media players seem designed to play downloaded rips of poor-quality movie files, or just poor-quality rips of owned DVDs, or poor-quality recorded videos recorded off TV. Personally, I want quality.

  62. fred
    Thumb Up

    new firmware released. WD keeps its promise to support this device

    Western Digital has released today a first firmware upgrade.... with a significant list of improvements. (pdf link: release notes:

    they've also stated that further upgrades are forthcoming, and have pledged to support this product for some time to come (as posted by user "ScottWD" on , who has signed some messages as Scott Rader, product marketing manager at Western Digital)

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It looks like there is now a good, and pretty cheap 1080p media player which plays lots of formats (that we want, xvid, mkv/x264 etc).

    And now all people can moan about it.

    ITS GOT NO ETHERNET (if it did, and then moan it doesnt have smb or something (which I would prefer of course)

    ITS GOT NO HDD (its got 2x USB ports, stfu)

    Isn't this something that could be brought out on newer versions, internal hdd, ethernet, wireless(for 1080p, have fun)

    This is the first WD hardware I have seen (I think), and if thats the case, it looks like they are onto a winner from the start.

    Support Ext2/3 in the future would be nice. More people should start supporting this to remove the evil of NTFS (Search IFS Ext2 everyone...)

  64. Greg Eden

    Audio Sync


    I use an external 2.5" HDD and have played two hour programs in xvid format with no audio sync problems.

    Your thumb drive is not up to supplying the speed or the files are encoded at very high bit rates.

    So far my only problem is losing hdmi setup and having to redo and the HDD not powering down when the unit is switched off. I hope a firmware update will address these minor niggles. I did have to reformat my USB HDD from ext3 to fat32, but that was no big deal.

    I think it is a great device and the video quality at 1080p is superb even when playing back content encoded at lower resolutions.

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