WD TV HD Media Player Review

Over the years, I’ve tried quite a few devices that allow you to watch and listen to your digital media through your television set. Some of these devices have included WiFi, some included hard drives, some required that you stream the content from a computer to the player and some required that you convert the content to a format that the player could handle. For one reason or another, I stopped using all of those devices except for the AppleTV. I really like the AppleTV’s user interface, but have never really liked the fact that I have to convert the files and then ‘send’ them from my desktop computer to the AppleTV in the living room. I’m all about simplicity, and while the AppleTV comes close, it doesn’t quite get there. I think I’ve found a device that does get there tho. It’s the WD TV HD Media Player from Western Digital.

WD TV HD Media Player Package

The WD TV doesn’t include YouTube or allow you to rent movies, but it does play the video, audio and image content that you already have, and does so in a really user friendly way.

Hardware Specifications

File Formats Supported:
Music – MP3, WMA, OGG, WAV/PCM/LPCM, AAC, FLAC, Dolby Digital, AIF/AIFF, MKA
Playlist – PLS, M3U, WPL
Photo – JPEG, GIF, TIF/TIFF, BMP, PNG
Video -MPEG1/2/4, WMV9, AVI (MPEG4, Xvid, AVC), H.264, MKV, MOV (MPEG4, H.264)
MPEG2/4, H.264, and WMV9 supports up to 1920x1080p 24fps, 1920x1080i 30fps, 1280x720p 60fps resolution
Subtitle -SRT (UTF-8)
USB 2.0 ports: 2
External Drive Formats Supported: FAT32, NTFS, HFS+ (no journaling)
Video Interface: HDMI, Composite A/V
Physical Dimensions: 1.57 x 3.94 x 4.94 Inches
Weight: 0.67 Pounds

WD TV HD Media Player Contents

Package Contents

WD TV Player
Remote Control
2 AA Batteries
AC Adapter
Composite A/V cable
Passport USB Drive stand
Instructions
The WD TV unit is small, allowing it to fit into even the most cramped areas of your entertainment center.

WD TV HD Media Player Front View

It’s made of shiny Black plastic and lacks buttons, dials and switches.

WD TV HD Media Player Side View

On the Left side, you will find a USB port and a reset switch.

WD TV HD Media Player Back View

On the back side, you’ll find an AC power connector, another USB port, an HDMI connector, TOSlink Optical audio port, and composite A/V connectors.

WD TV HD Media Player Remote Control

A small remote control with real buttons is also included along with the batteries to power it.

WD TV HD Media Player Two USB Ports

The WD TV doesn’t include its own hard drive like some players (AppleTV, MVIX). Instead, it has two USB ports in which you can plug in thumb drives or even WD’s own USB Passport drive.

WD TV HD Media Player Remote with Passport

There’s a little stand included specifically for the Passport drive, so that you can set it next to the player.

I tested the WD TV with my 32GB Kingston flash drive and a WD Passport drive. The cool thing is that you don’t have to specify which USB drive you want to view content from. The software in the WD TV reads both drives and creates one list of all the content.

Setting up the WD TV with your TV is a snap. A composite A/V cable is included in the package, that you can use to connect to your TV. While this works fine, you can get MUCH better video quality by using an HDMI cable (if your TV has that capability). The only bad thing is that you’ll have to go out and buy your own HDMI cable. Tip: Don’t go to Walmart, Target, Best Buy or other local stores to buy an HDMI cable. They will charge you $25-$30 for one, which is robbery when you can buy the same thing from NewEgg for less than $10.

WD TV HD Media Player Main menu

After you connect the WD TV to your television and power it on with the remote, you’ll be presented with a simple user interface. You can scroll up and down to choose the main function (Photos, Video, Music, Settings) and then side to side to pick options for that specific mode.

WD TV HD Media Player Photo thumbnails

In Photo mode, you can view images on the attached USB devices by thumbnails or a list of file names.

WD TV HD Media Player Photo

You can click on an image to see it in full screen. You can also rotate, pan and zoom. You can view the images in slide show mode and even have music playing in the background.

WD TV HD Media Player Music

In Music mode, you can easily play your tunes. Even the album art will display on the screen while music is playing. You can choose music based on Artist, Genre and Album.

WD TV HD Media Player Video list

Photo and music modes are nice additions, but my main use for a device like this is to easily view my video content on my TV. I have to say that I think the WD TV does this easier than any device I’ve tried so far. Save your videos on a USB device, plug it into the WD TV, scroll through the list of files, press play on the remote and away you go. The best part for me is that no time consuming file conversions are needed. This is something I had to do all the time with the AppleTV in order to play video that I’d downloaded from the internets. I much prefer downloading the file, copying it to a USB stick, plugging the stick in the WD TV, sitting down and watching it. Easy!

WD TV HD Media Player Video

Video quality using HDMI is great to my eyes. Of course it will really depend on the video itself. If you have low resolution video, it won’t look the best on a large TV.

The WD TV impressed me after I had downloaded an AVI video that wouldn’t play on my MSI Wind and wouldn’t play on my iMac using VLC, without VLC having to reindex it. I thought for sure it wouldn’t play on the WD TV either, but I was wrong. It worked just fine. The only video file that would not play for me was a really old .WMV file that I had created using Movie Maker on a Windows PC. The WD TV comes with some software that you can use to convert files if necessary. I didn’t try it, but I bet it would have fixed that file for me.

One nice feature is that you can resume playing a video if you stop it and want to go start it again later. The player will automatically remember where you left off.

While watching video, you can rewind and fast forward at four speeds (2x, 4x, 8x, 16x). I wish there was a feature to skip ahead so many minutes or to go to the end of a video. Just nit picking here though…

WD TV HD Media Player LEDs

I really like the WD TV HD Media Player from Western Digital. Its small size and ease of use has me sold. It’s definitely going to stay in my entertainment center until something better comes along.

 

Product Information

Price:129.99
Manufacturer:Western Digital
Pros:
  • Easy user interface
  • 2 USB ports
  • Plays music, video and shows photo slideshows
Cons:
  • HDMI cable not included
Posted in: Audio, Video, TV Gear, Computer Gear

670 comments… add one

  • Nick May 29, 2010, 11:24 am

    Does anyone know if you can use a universal type remote controller with the WDTV as I’ve recently moved house and lost the dammed remote so my WDTV is just sitting there teasing me!
    Any help greatly apprieciated

    Thanks

  • millertimewest May 30, 2010, 2:23 am

    Nick,

    Not a problem. I use a Logitech remote myself as it replaces about 6 other remotes. You’ll need to buy a remote that has the WD key mapping available on line or you’ll need to borrow someone elses remote to get the mapping into your remote.

  • Nick May 30, 2010, 6:08 am

    Hi all
    need help regarding the remote moved house and lost remote so my wdtv just sits there staring at me!
    does anyone know of a universal remote that works with the WDTV
    any help greatly appreciated
    Nick

  • Nick May 30, 2010, 6:17 am

    please disregard last post
    many thanks millertimewest will look for a Logitech at my local store is there a particular model I should go for and where do you go online for the mapping is it available on the WD site itself
    many thanks
    Nick

  • Millertimewest May 31, 2010, 2:52 am

    Nick….the model escapes me at the moment, but there are a bunch of models available and I’m sure they all run from the same platform. The mapping is actually from Logitech….you’ll program all your compenents into the remote online and it will grab the functions from their data base. You can also let the logitech remote learn functions, but you’re S.O.L there since you don’t have the original.

    The other options is to simply purchase a WD unit from a big box electronics store that allows 30 day returns. Just use the remote to program your Logitech and then return the WD.

    Cheers

  • Eric May 31, 2010, 8:03 pm

    Hi everybody,

    i’ve been using the WD HD media player for quite some time now. It’s quite an impressive thing for such a (relatively) low price. I have one problem though: i have one problem though: i have to connect the device to my tv with the composite cable as an HDMI cable connection doesn’t seem to work. I’ve already tried to connect it by composite and hdmi at the same time and then switch to HDMI in the menu and plug out the composite cable, but then it doesn’t work anymore…
    Anybody some advice? I don’t know if it’s the device itself ( which works fine, except for the damn remote control which requires you to really aim on that small thing), the HDMI cable or the TV (might be the tv as it has no direct HDMI ports, they’re all integrated in the foot, difficult to explain:p but our digirecorder isn’t directly connected to the TV either: http://www.shoponsite.be/shops/robberechts/product_detail.php?pid=21278)

    BTW, i don’t know if it’s really a problem that i have no HDMI connection as i only watch dvd ripped movies( 700mb) and the standard size for tv shows ( 175/350mb) so no HD or blue ray
    Thx in advance guys!

  • Anant Anand Gupta June 6, 2010, 3:02 am

    Hi all,

    I am going to by WDHD Live very soon … thanks for your review and comments. i tho have a few questions?
    1. Does it support other makes of USB HDDs other than WD passport? In either case what is the max size of HDD it can read.
    2. Can it read the shared files from my computer on the network.
    3. I understand that it requires and additional device for the WiFi connection, can anyone tell me what are the supported devices.

    i will be really appreciating your feedback on above.

  • Steve June 9, 2010, 2:34 am

    anyone know when another firmware upgrade comes out.

  • schalk June 18, 2010, 8:05 am

    I bought the very basic WD TV Mini and wrote all my DVDs to .ISO files. When you click on the file it plays as if you just inserted the DVD (irritating trailers and all), but exactly how I wanted it – easy for kids to use and I have all the subtitles and DVD navigation available. The only slight issue I have is that every so often the video jerks for quarter of a second – but I guess it must be the WD drive (1.5TB) that has a delay so I cannot blame the device.

    I would really like the artwork (DVD cover) to show as I browse the available movies. Does anyone know how to do this?

  • Brian June 21, 2010, 3:40 pm

    I have a question for anyone who has this device.

    Does this device allow you to load on, say, 10 different video files and then have them play in a continuous loop? I’m looking for a device that does that.

    Thanks very much,
    Brian

  • Steve June 22, 2010, 11:38 pm

    Hi Brian

    Yes this devise does play videos ina continuous loop. All the files need to be in the same fold though to acheive this. Press the op[tion button on the remote and move across to the last icon (i think). It looks like a little arrow repeating on itself. Press that and it should repeat all files in the folder. I use this for watching tv series so I don’t have to start the next epsiode. Works a treat.

  • Bart June 29, 2010, 9:21 am

    As many of the posters here in this forum I like my WD enormously. One downside though : it does not seem to be able to handle “chapters”. When I play an ISO of a series, it plays the first episode flawlessly, with the correct subtitles and all. But I cannot get to the second or third episode. The “Chapter”-icon through the OPTION-button is greyed out, so that ‘s not an option either.
    Anybody any ideas ? Was the ISO maybe badly ripped ?

  • bonerdirect July 4, 2010, 4:38 am

    WD HD TV Rocks! The best I’ve ever seen in the same product line. I’ve had this product for almost a year and this thing still amaze me. Not to mention the cool interface that they had created. No other product has the same features as this.!

  • Anamorphic July 23, 2010, 11:45 am

    Hey guys ..
    i have a simple question : when playing a list of files , say apple trailers what do you get on screen between the files, i want it to be just black and not show anything else like the filename or anything else like ‘loading’ etc . Also , how quickly does it load the next file ? .thanks in advance.

  • Ken David August 10, 2010, 3:53 am

    First thanks to Juan for the 10 min skip (FF+ Next) also to Steve for the play mode info.

    Trying to figure out how to make movie play list. Thus far putting movies in same folder works. My video play list has same audio music listed as they audio play list. Have only had it a couple days (daughter got it for my bday) and still learning the devices functionality.

    As for those like Curt calling this device an overrated piece of junk that’s only feasible for low quality downloads you’re clueless. Today I watched an mkv Avatar blu ray rip and the picture was amazing even my dvd rips look slightly better using this device. There are some functions I wish it would do for they are to my liking but because they aren’t there doesn’t make the device crap.

    Overall I’m enjoying the device and glad my daughter didn’t try for cloths again this year. Have no plans of returning this gift.

  • Brett November 12, 2010, 3:07 am

    I’m going to agree with Ken David, people bashing this device either aren’t encoding their videos properly or perhaps using crappy drives? Not sure but I encode all my own content at very high resolutions, in MKV formats and this thing performs beautifully.

  • Deisel December 31, 2010, 3:25 pm

    Just got my WD HD player because SONY decided that we cannot watch dowwnloads on the PS3 anymore via CINAVIA.I am letting “The Social Network” run all the way through just in case that horrible watermark rears its ugly head , so far so good.My problem is when I turn on the WD , I get the logo when it boots but then its like my TV loses connection with the WDHD.I have somehow sorted it but not sure how I did it , but when I turn it off I will be spending time using trial and error.Any ideas?

  • smaa January 2, 2011, 8:34 am

    hi
    i have a Q
    this WD TV HD Media Player support RMVB/RM and all Avi and bluray????

  • jason May 15, 2011, 11:26 am

    Will a usb hub work on the wd media player, as I have three usb external drives to connect

  • Sats June 14, 2011, 9:41 am

    I am still in confusion which one to buy from these two. Please help me.

    Western Digital WD TV Live Plus 1080p HD Media Player

    or
    Micca MPLAY-HD Net 1080p Full-HD Digital Media Player and Network Streamer With UPnP Client and Internet Radio

    thanks a lot

  • Shabbir October 6, 2011, 11:37 pm

    Hi,

    I have a blu-ray rip of a movie but for some reason I cannot get sound. When I play the same file in my PC it is fine. I am using the HDMI cable. Any answer?

  • Tyler P October 16, 2011, 12:45 am

    I have both the WD HD 1st Gen and the WD HD LIVE Plus.

    My 1st gen is still working great coming close to 2 years now. As you get more and more content, the unit does start to lag alot as many have posted. The new HD Live plus runs alot smoother and includes some extras.

    Both players did not play some .avi files I got before. Reencoding the files will work. RMVB DOES NOT work. (as per my experience only). I simply reencode these to .MKV (.264+MP3) and all is good. 1st gen does NOT play .flv, the new Live one does.

    FYI: I use ANY Video Converter to convert files. Program is free and works nicely and quite quick too. I reencoded a 1hr RMVB to MKV in about 5 mins.

    Overall very happy with these units. I have recommended these guys to some people and everyone was very pleased with it. The real key in these units is that they play .MKV perfectly. Nowadays this format is extremely popular due to smaller files size, multiple audio, and multiple subtitle all in one file.

  • Tom November 15, 2011, 4:07 am

    Hey, have been using my media player with a 1TB hard drive, which became quite full so
    I purchased a 2.5TB hard drive. Transferred everything over to it and plugged it into the media player and it said that it will not support over 2TB at this time, have read through instructions and box and there was nothing written about this.
    Is there something I can do to get it to play?

  • ska November 18, 2011, 11:59 am

    Please let me know how to open .srt files of subtitles while playing avi files (both files in the same folder)

  • tyler P November 18, 2011, 8:20 pm

    SKA:
    To open .srt. Put the both files in the same folder. Both files must have the exact same name.

    ex. The new movie.avi / The new movie.srt

  • Johnny Deigh November 19, 2011, 1:03 am

    @Tom, there are limits to what size hard drive these things will play. I was wondering myself, so thanks for the info because I was wondering if it would support a 1 TB or larger HD.

    @Ska, play your video, then hit the “option” button, a menu should appear at the top of the screen. One of those is the option to turn on or off the subtitles.

    There is also an option in the setup menu to have subtitles automatically load (you can press the “home” button to get to the main menu).

  • Johnny Deigh November 19, 2011, 1:11 am

    @Shabbir – your video file might have DTS audio which this player, I think, doesn’t support.

  • tyler P November 24, 2011, 11:19 pm

    @ Johnny D. – When I had this first generation one, we had a 1.5TB hard drive plugged in and it was fine. Now I have the WD Live Plus with a 2 TB hard drive plugged in and this too is ok.

    1st Gen player does not support DTS. You will have to reencode the file. The new live and live plus models support DTS.

  • paul March 27, 2014, 3:18 pm

    Is the WD tv HD WiFi compatable

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