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Western Digital WD TV Live Plus

Last Updated
August 12, 2010

Editor's Rating
3.5 Out of 5

Pros
  • Internet streaming from online services
  • Small & silent
  • HD & many outputs

Cons
  • No built-in Wi-Fi
  • No included HDMI cable
  • Interface bugs

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Review

The Western Digital WD TV Live Plus brings 1080p resolution streaming from home network sources and streaming from Netflix, Pandora and support for Windows 7 Play To. It's a pretty small box that can easily fit in a home entertainment system and provides solid, multimedia options.

The Western Digital WD TV Live Plus is just a small, gray box that has a rounded body that can easily fit anywhere in your home entertainment system. The front just has a few LED lights, but on the back, there's a USB port, HDMI out, digital audio out, two 3.5mm audio out ports (one component and one composite), and an Ethernet connection.

We really liked that the WD TV Live Plus comes with all sorts of cables, including component and composite cables, but it lacks an HDMI cable, which is required for 1080p high-definition video. The included remote is fairly compact and small, but provides the necessary features, and even includes batteries.

Setting up the WD TV Live Plus is very easy and straightforward. Just plug it all in and it works without a hitch. It doesn't have wireless connectivity built-in, so you'll need to connect it via Ethernet cable, or you can purchase an optional adapter for wireless connectivity.

Network streaming from a computer on your network requires the computer to be running a uPnP server, but Windows Media Player 12 does that right from the start when media streaming is enabled. The WD TV will also able to stream media from other devices, like an Xbox 360. Media formats supported include XviD, VOB, H.264, MPEG, and others. Online streaming from Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, Mediafly, and more is also supported.

Windows 7's Play To feature lets users play content right from their computer running Windows Media Player 12 and it will play via the WD TV without even doing anything on the unit's remote.

The WD TV's interface is very simple and easy to navigate. When you turn it on, you're presented with five options: Music, Photos, Video, Internet Media, and Settings. The placement of the media services, however, is rather strange. For example, Netflix isn't under "Internet Media" but rather Videos. Using the remote to enter information via the on-screen keyboard can be rather daunting and time consuming.

There are a few things that don't work as well as they should, like the Netflix application, which doesn't allow users to search the library of titles by name, which is an issue that plagues other Netflix streaming units.


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