Western Digital WD TV HDD-to-HDTV adaptor
Connect your telly to your USB HDD
Review 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 ‘multimedia hard disk’, drives equipped with video ports that allow you to connect them to a TV. Instead of streaming files across a network, you copy files from your computer to the hard disk and then plug the drive into the TV to play them. It's a simpler way of doing things, as you don’t have to keep the computer turned on all the time or worry about the networking side of things.
WD's WD TV: bridge between TVs and HDDs
At first glance, Western Digital’s WD TV looks like yet another multimedia hard disk, but in fact it’s a clever variation on the theme that's both technically efficient and cost-effective too. WD realised that anyone with a big collection of music and video files would probably have those files backed up already.
So instead of trying to sell people another expensive hard disk, it designed the WD TV as an adaptor that will allow you to connect any existing USB hard disk to your TV.
Setting up the WD TV is extremely straightforward. It’s a compact little black box measuring 12.5 x 10 x 4cm so it will sit neatly beside your TV. The WD TV doesn’t have any built-in storage at all, just two USB ports, which allow you to connect your hard drive or memory stick. You can use both USB ports at the same time, so you could have a permanent library of music and video files stored on a big fat hard drive connected to one port, while using the second port to plug in a friend’s memory stick to check out their holiday photos or home movies.
Ports for SD and HD TVs
An HDMI interface at the back of the unit allows you to connect the WD TV to an HD TV, and there’s composite-video output for use with older standard-definition sets too. Audio buffs also get a Toslink digital optical audio connector.
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.
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...)
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: http://www.wdc.com/en/products/wdtv/releasenotes/WDTVreleasenotes101.pdf)
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 http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=15342049#post15342049 , who has signed some messages as Scott Rader, product marketing manager at Western Digital)
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.
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.