The HDMI output for both HD and SD video is very good, and the range of supported file formats is as extensive as ever. I did notice that DivX was omitted from the spec sheet on WD’s web site, but the DivX test files I downloaded played without problems.
Controllable from an iPhone
There’s one final tab that provides access to a number of Internet services, such as the obligatory FaceBook and YouTube. However UK users don’t get access to the Netflix and Blockbuster video rentals that are available in the US. Western Digital says that it is working on adding local European services, such as the BBC iPlayer, but the on-line side of things is a bit of a let-down for UK users. In fact, the most interesting Internet feature is the rather neat ability to control the Live Hub from a web browser on a computer or smartphone on your network.
On-line viewing options could be more UK-friendly
The poor documentation and dodgy firmware are only minor blemishes on an otherwise efficient and attractive media player. The AppleTV might still hold the award for best interface, but the Live Hub’s support for a wider range of file formats makes it much more versatile than the Mac maker’s media machine. Some people might prefer to stick with the cheaper diskless model, but the WD TV Live Hub still gets my vote as the most front-room-friendly media player currently available. ®
More AV Gear Reviews…
Western Digital WD TV Live Hub
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:
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
Personally never had any issue with the old one, but do agree that the new one looks nicer!