back to article Western Digital WD TV Live Hub

Western Digital’s WD TV has always been one of the better streaming media players. It has an attractive graphical interface, supports an extensive range of audio and video file formats, and – with no internal hard disk – proved much cheaper than disk-based rivals such as the AppleTV. WDTV Live Hub Local store: Western …


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  1. jolly


    Will it play ripped DVDs from a folder? I realise it will play VOBs but what about a ripped DVD where there are multiple VOBs/IFOs, etc?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I've got a WD TV HD Mini and that does no problems.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Yes, no problem. I use free software to convert my DVD folder to ISO and it works just as good.

  2. Scott Mckenzie


    The ripped DVD's question above - the standard WDTV does, though the folder view gets a bit messy.

    One other question from me though, a consistent gripe with these is the lack of on board DTS support. Is that still the same? It works great if you can connect via HDMI or Optical to an amp that can decode DTS, but if just connect to a TV or hifi amp (which lets be honest, given the cost many will) then anything with DTS audio blares out complete silence - which is bloody irritating!!!

    1. Michael C

      no issue here

      HDMI to TV, Optical audio from TV to rack stereo. TV does not support DTS, but it passes through just fine...

  3. gyre

    how does this compare to a A-110 or better popcornhour?

    As the owner of 2 A-110 popcornhours from e-bay, I wonder how this WD device compares.


    -- gyre --

  4. Scott Mckenzie

    Popcorn Hour

    The popcorn does decode DTS on board, but i've never had a single issue with any of the WDTV devices i've tried (the Mini only does 1080i so haven't tried that) they'll play anything you can throw at them - silly high bitrate video can make them stutter, but that turned out to be an issue with a 32Gb MKV rip and it was the external HDD i was using.

    Not used the one in this test, but i'd imagine it just improves on the older models as it's all built in.... when you can buy the WDTV Live for £80 from Amazon though, adding any USB drive may be cheaper, though less neat.... the GUI is less impressive but may come in an update.

    1. Disco-Legend-Zeke

      Putting A Hard Drive... a TV tuner/recorder/media player adds negative value, by the time a device makes it through the channel, the consumer can buy a hard drive for less money.

      On the other hand, some of the super high bitrate stuff might not pass from older hard drives.

  5. Paul Manzotti

    Firmware upgrade for diskless player?

    Has the new UI been ported over to the older diskless Live TV player? I think I'd get one if it has, given that the UI was the main gripe with the Reg review of that unit.

    1. Scott Mckenzie


      Personally never had any issue with the old one, but do agree that the new one looks nicer!

    2. cliff 2

      Firmware Upgrade

      I do believe that WD is working on a firmware update that would bring the new UI to previous WDTV models - although we don't have a release date for it.

  6. Dick Emery

    Styled subtitles

    Does this work with styled .ass subs with Truetype fonts in MKV yet?

  7. Chris Forzetting

    Album/Song Artwork

    iTunes populates album artwork through a link to the store, so if an album is no longer available, the artwork will go away - it's not truly embedded into the MP3 file. To get around that, you have to find the artwork yourself, save it as a jpg, then tell iTunes to use that file for the artwork for the song(s). The artwork will then be embedded and most media players can then see it.

  8. Michael C

    file formats...

    I wish this issue would just go away.

    Of the bulk of the file formats, most of them can simply be placed inside of an MPEG wrapper and require no conversion at all. If you have VOB files, convert them. BR is an MP4 file already and should not be converted to alternatives. Just about everything else can be pushed through handbrake quickly and easily as a batch process.

    You might have some "odd" formats, but why? just because that's the format it came in when you torrented it? CONVERT IT! Try a few samples, and you'll probably find many of them convert in seconds or minutes because its not actually trans-coding the contents, just the wrapper. The rest, you need to check the quality after conversion, but it's usually a non issue (and face it, if you cared that much, you would not want some arcane compressed format that has to be converted on the fly in firmware playback anyway, you'd have a near top quality direct DVD rips or MP4 files to begin with.

    Lets all drop the format wars. The ONLY time file format matters is when it;s either DRM (which few if any of these things are going to support anyway aside from a single format tops), or they can;t be converted and you simply go get a new file in a different format and delete the old.

    This "mine supports 40 formats and your supports 5" argument is moot. It needs to support essentially just the common standards, which DLNA carries (which is actually quite a small list). AVI, MPG, MP3, AAC,and that's about it. everything else can easily be converted to one of those, and as a simlpe batch run.

    1. Neoc

      What the heck?

      AVI, a format? Are you sure you are not confusing "format" with "container"?


      AVI, MKV, MP4 -> containers

      DivX, H.264, AAC -> formats

      1. Brian 6


        .........."and you'll probably find many of them convert in seconds or minutes because its not actually trans-coding the contents, just the wrapper. " He is not confusing anything, in fact it sound like he understands it a lot better than u do.

  9. Neoc


    Gigabit LAN - might make upgrading worthwhile. Especially if firmware hacks allow torrents to be loaded on the box itself.

    But what's the difference between HDMI1.3 and 1.4?

    1. jolly
      Thumb Down

      Gigabit from a WD network drive?

      The last WD network device I bought about 3 years ago was supposed to be 100 megabit LAN. Unfortunately it could only serve about 1/4 of this due to the limited power of its CPU. So I wouldn't hold your breath if you expect gigabit transfer rates - it might connect at 1000mbps but that's where the excitement will probably end.

    2. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

      HDMI 1.4....

      1.4 give increased resolutions, and adds an Audio Return channel and 3D support, amongst other stuff:


  10. juice
    Thumb Up

    The WD TV Live series is great

    I picked up my WD TV Live from PC World about four months ago and I've been happy as larry ever since: It Just Works and it cost around £88, thanks to a "buy online, collect instore" discount. We've come a long way from when I used to have a PC sat under the TV: the little box is silent, tiny, accesses my samba network shares (die die die uPNP) and handles pretty much everything I've thrown at it.

    This new one looks interesting, but I don't think it's worth upgrading to - while the new form factor is much nicer (wide+short = better for sticking under the TV), I've no interest in the internal storage (and you can plug USB storage into the older models anyway). OTOH, the new UI looks quite shiny; here's to hoping they backport it to the older model!

    Two more things: WD recently released an updated firmware for all WD TV Live models which gives you access to several online services: Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Pandora, Flingo, Live365, Deezer, Mediafly, Accuweather

    Secondly, as the TV Live runs linux and WD have released the code under OSS, some nice bloke has released an "upgraded" firmware which turns it into a mini-server, able to run web-servers, download torrents and the like:

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Incorrect Review

    The writer of this article made one mistake in the review

    "and two USB 2.0 ports for adding extra storage or transferring files onto the internal hard disk.

    You cannot transfer files from an external USB disk to the internal drive of this unit. Files can only be transferred to the internal HDD via networking.

    So, if you plan on using the internal drive for storing media, this unit must be hooked up to the network.

    Please go to WD support site for confirmation on this.

    I own one of the earlier units that does not have an internal HDD, I use an external drive or USB stick for playing media, but I do not have a network to take advantage of other features. This unit is dependent on a network, otherwise, there is no use in purchasing this unit as apposed to having one of the cheaper alternatives.

    If someone has a network already setup in their home, there should be no problems, but these boxes do flake out every now and again and have to be rebooted via pulling the power plug. I don't know what kind of effect this would have on a network, shouldn't be any, could just another headache.

    I love mine, had it for a year and have had no problems playing ISOs or any other popular formats one would find on the web or used in current software.

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