Besides supporting portable devices (smartphones, digital camera, and USB drives), the WD TV Live HD media player has network capability, which enables users to stream or transfer movies from PC and Mac computers. Another storage method supported, though less common, are network-attached storage devices (such as WD ShareSpace network drives). One more source that the new device supports is internet-based content, such as YouTube, Flickr, and Pandora.
Control over this rich variety is made using onscreen menus, which gathers all the available media in an elegant and simple-to-navigate interface. Since the average consumer has 123 GB of videos, photos, and music, and projections are that it will grow to 1,300 GB by 2013 (according to research firm Parks Associates), Western Digital’s concept merely tries to fill the need for a main console that manages media.
According to specifications, the new media player has a HDMI 1.3 port, composite video and component video output, and SPDIF digital output that sends digital signals to users’ AV receiver. These should create seamless data transfer; assuming users have high-end output devices (speakers and TV screen), the result is home-theater with enriched content.
“The media enthusiast community has embraced the first WD TV HD media player and given us tremendous feedback,” said Dale Pistilli, vice president of marketing for WD’s branded products group. “With the new WD TV Live media player we’re giving them what they asked for – network connectivity and internet-content streaming capabilities – and offering them a simple way to enjoy all of their digital media and enjoy it on their HD TVs.”
All benefits considered, this new product brings users solutions to an existing need; and though some claim there’s no urgency on the matter of arranging one’s digital content, it will surely become more significant in the near future.
Currently, WD sells the TV Live HD Media Player for a reasonable $150; however, a major drawback is the absence of a Wi-Fi adapter (sold separately), which makes the network features unavailable.
TFOT has also covered the world’s first 2-terabyte hard drive, also made by Western Digital, and the VistaCurve CinemaScope Screen, a curved home-theater display made by Screen Excellence. Other related TFOT stories include a piece about the TV Point Anywhere, a universal remote control that provides better control over media-playing devices, and the Nero LiquidTV, software which offers TiVo-like capabilities on a PC.
For more information about Western Digital’s TV Live HD Media Player, see WD’s website.