The only real way to test a device such as this was to play around with it for a few days and write up my experiences, so that’s exactly what I’ve done. During the testing I watched a few movies, used several of the internet and social applications, and transferred a lot of my media to the Western Digital TV Live media player.
Apart from the fact that I still don’t see a TV episodes section – but at least the main section is labelled videos, not movies – I didn’t really have any issues while using this little media player. Videos are of high quality, they load fast and the fact that so many different file types are supported, you can watch, listen or view pretty much whatever you want.
I also really like how wireless conectivity works right off the bat. You don’t need to plug in any sort of adapter or anything, which saves the two USB 2.0 ports for a wireless keyboard/mouse combo and a flash storage drive. Perfect.
Part of me would have liked to see a component connector option, but the fact that you already have an HDMI and composite bundled onto this little unit, adding anything else would look silly and seem crowded.
The apps were a real hit on this device. I’ve had media players in the past where the applications felt tacked on and unfinished, but these were all really well put together. They work great, navigation is easy – if occasionally a little slow if I’m penickety – and there was a wide range of ones I havn’t seen on other players. I was especially pleased by the inclusion of Spotify and the iPlayer.
The fact that the WD Live includes games is also pretty impressive. None of them are mindblowing, but if you’re in your lounge and fancy a quick game then there you go.
The only really missing thing at this point is a full on browser, but I hear those will become more common place in the coming year. Apart from that, this little unit gives you a real smart TV without the inflated price tag.
One of the few complaints I had was with the remote. It’s compact and backed with soft rubber which makes it very comfortable to hold. However, it does lack a volume control. In-fact the entire unit itself can’t be independently controlled. This isn’t the end of the world, but is a bit of volume boost too much to ask for?
Surprisingly, considering the size and cost, this is one of, if not the best media player I’ve ever tested. It’s a really clean cut, well put together package that covers almost every base extremely well. It lacks internal storage and perhaps some of the more advanced connectors of the bigger players, but its fast, has applications, games, plays HD files, has built in Wi-Fi and more.
This is a solid little player that turns any TV set into a smart TV, adding functionality as well as being easy to use. Western Digital have surpassed expectations with this one and produced a product I’d be more than happy to buy in my own right.
Fast and intuitive, nice unique looking OS
Built in wireless, HDMI, composite
Apps and games work great
No volume control built in
Remote has some uneeded functions
No internal storage
No component out