WD TV part two on its way
New series of Western Digital media boxes
Western Digital appears to be working on a networked version of its WD TV streaming media package.
The first version is an adapter that depends upon a USB-attached external drive, onto which streaming media files are loaded. The idea is that customers will have backed up media files into an external hard drive already, so will use the adapter to stream them to an attached TV using an HDMI interface.
A poster on a tech website called the AVS Forum has posted pictures of a gen 2 version and listed some tech specs. There is an Ethernet port to "enable streaming from networked drives," or devices such as PCs. The location where the pictures were taken is not provided.
It says the new box adds DTS decoding - that's surround sound - with the current version having DTS pass-through. There is also component output for older SD displays. The box is said to support more media formats too.
By adding Ethernet support, WD is loosening the encouragement for buyers to twin the device with its own external hard drives.
There are currently no details available about price and availability. WD doesn't comment on unannounced products. ®
Still a gap in the market
I'm quite interested in this device, but it's still not what it should be. No manufacturer has made anything in my opinion that's worth having. The cheaper devices - like the version 1 of this - lack features and the more expensive media streamers can be too expensive or limited in playback support.
Any device like this must have a network connection - if it's wired Ethernet with no wireless then I'm fine with that - so long as that's reflected in the price. It should play most common formats out of the box without need for modification (sorry Appletv) and crucially it should offer SOME storage, even if a very limited amount. If this device had a small in-built hard disk (even say 80 Gb) then it would be great because you could download content over Ethernet then leave your PC switched off. The idea of having to have 2 devices powered on (e.g. PC/external HDD and the streamer) seems a bit silly to me.
Also - especially for the UK market - these devices should offer some support for older TV's, e.g. scart/component/composite output rather than just HDMI. If anyone makes a device like that at a very reasonable price (e.g. under £150) then they'll be on to a winner, in my opinion.
Ethernet for the Win
Would have bought one of the V1's to stream from my server ages ago were it not limited to USB.
Might consider getting one of these if it can connect to my network and stream from NFS or samba shares.
A happy WDTV v1 owner.
Bought one when it first came out. Immediately jumped on the AVS Forum sub-group dedicated to modding it (it runs Linux) and soon had an Ethernet USB adapter plugged in running off a 7-port USB hub, along with 4x1Tb external HDDs. And if you're *really* that interested you can also add an external DVD player to the mix. (and wifi, and streaming, and web-page controls, and...etc)
Most of my media resides on the HDDs, and the Ethernet connection is for updating the contents (not stream) and I am a happy munchkin with my box. The DTS might be nice (although I believe there is missing hardware in the WDTV v1, so a firmware update might not be enough) and if I had a complaint it would be that the subtitling system it uses is rather primitive in its capabilities compared to (say) FFMPEG and its derivative packages.
Still, I use the box almost daily, am currently ripping my DVD/CD collection to it (hanece the large number of HDDs), and now that I have upgraded the signal path to HDMI, the picture looks great.
very, VERY happy. (damn, I sound like a marketroid)
So v2 will need to bring more to the table than an integrated ethernet port and possible DTS to make me upgrade.