Feeds
85%
WD WD TV Live

Western Digital WD TV Live

HDD media player revamped with networking

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Remote control for virtualized desktops

The WD TV's menu system isn't at all bad, and a darn sight more attractive than some of the media players to have come out of storage companies, though it's not a smooth nor as smart as the one on the Apple TV, or other gadgets used as media players, such as the Xbox 360 and PS3.

WD WD TV Live

The UI owes more than a little to Sony's XMB

When you highlight a menu entry, there's a half-a-second pause while the WD TV changes the monochrome 'not selected' icon to a different, colour 'selected' one. It's a small pause, sure, but it's very noticeable. The WD TV's progress graphic animates slowly and slightly jerkily, again giving the impression there's not enough CPU horsepower for the UI. There must be, as the unit plays HD video perfectly well, but the effect is nonetheless to make the box feel less consumer electronics smooth than it should be.

It's quirky too. You navigate around the main menu and its sub-options using the remote's four arrow keys, with the left key taking you back a step. But once you're looking at content listings, you used the Back key to return to previous screens. This switch is necessary because the WD TV presents content not as a top-to-bottom list, iPod-style, but as a grid, which necessitates left-to-right movement as well as up and down. You often find yourself wanting to move through the menu system but not doing so because you're pressing the wrong button.

It also makes the UI less attractive than it might be. We put a two-dozen videos on a hard drive and all we got in the menu was a grid of generic disc icons. Fortunately, there are List and Preview options in the Settings that, respectively, drop the picture and show a clip from the video instead. The Music and Photo sections were better, the WD TV ably pulling thumbnails from the pictures and album art from the track files - though oddly not when you sort by Album, Artist or Genre even though is does when you navigate through the drive's directories to a single-album folder.

However, the WD TV does a good job of presenting a unified music, movie or photo collection if you have parts on multiple drives and shares. It will list, say, all your tracks on the one screen irrespective of where they're located.

WD WD TV Live

Album art is supported in some views, but not others

Well, almost. WD TV makes a distinction between local storage and remote, so you have to know that the song, film or shot you want is one one or t'other in order to locate it. Pressing Enter on the main menu's Video icon, for example, presents a second list of options: 'Local Drives', 'Media Servers', Network shares' and 'YouTube'. The latter makes sense as a separate item, but should you really have to remember where and how your content is stored in order to access it?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Next page: Verdict

More from The Register

next story
Hi-torque tank engines: EXTREME car hacking with The Register
Bentley found in a hedge gets WW2 lump insertion
What's MISSING on Amazon Fire Phone... and why it WON'T set the world alight
You fought hard and you saved and earned. But all of it's going to burn...
Trousers down for six of the best affordable Androids
Stylish Googlephones for not-so-deep pockets
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.