Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming Media

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Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming Media

Postby Apoptosis » Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:01 am

Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming Media Player Review

WD today introduced the next generation of its WD TV Live streaming media player! This updated version has Wi-Fi now built-in and is the very first media player on the market to deliver the Spotify music service. You can also stream Netflix, Hulu Plus, Blockbuster, CinemaNow, Pandora, YouTube, Facebook and many other content offerings with this little $99 device!

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Today, Western Digital is launching their new WD TV Live Streaming Media Player. The first thing you notice with this new generation is that Western Digital has changed the form factor rather dramatically making the new player more sleek than the original WD TV. Along with the form factor chance, Western Digital has integrated Wi-Fi directly into the box. With the built in wireless-N, you no longer have to worry about getting a compatible dongle or placing the player near access to an Ethernet cable.


Article Title: Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming Media Player Review
Article URL: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1738/1/
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Re: Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming M

Postby Kaos Kid » Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:58 am

hmmmmm getting closer and closer to turning in my HTPC, once we start getting hitch-free 1080 streaming I'll have to seriously consider something like this.
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Re: Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming M

Postby gwolfman » Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:13 am

I think I might swap out my HTPC as well. Too bad they can't include an RDP/VNC client on these to connect to a PC if desired; that would be sweet!

Btw, I'm seriously considering getting this. What software (DLNA, uPnP, etc.), if any, do I need on my Win 7 "server" to get the WD TV Live to access my DVD/Blu-ray .iso backups and .mp3/.flac music files?

Also, did you or can you try multichannel .flac/.wav to see if they play correctly? I think I'll add it to my Christmas list as soon as I get the answers to my questions above. Thanks for the review!

Edit: Oh, did you have any trouble with FastEthernet w/ Blu-ray backups (since they axed GigE)?
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Re: Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming M

Postby Digital Puppy » Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:40 am

Kaos Kid wrote:hmmmmm getting closer and closer to turning in my HTPC, once we start getting hitch-free 1080 streaming I'll have to seriously consider something like this.

When you say "hitch-free" are you talking about the ability to play 1080p without hiccups or stuttering? or are you talking about the ease.

For the WD TV Live, 1080 plays with no problems at all when wired (Ethernet or USB). The only time there is some issue is when you play the 1080 media over wireless. And even then, YMMV depending on your home setup and bitrate of your multimedia file.
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Re: Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming M

Postby Digital Puppy » Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:57 am

gwolfman wrote:I think I might swap out my HTPC as well. Too bad they can't include an RDP/VNC client on these to connect to a PC if desired; that would be sweet!

Btw, I'm seriously considering getting this. What software (DLNA, uPnP, etc.), if any, do I need on my Win 7 "server" to get the WD TV Live to access my DVD/Blu-ray .iso backups and .mp3/.flac music files?

Also, did you or can you try multichannel .flac/.wav to see if they play correctly? I think I'll add it to my Christmas list as soon as I get the answers to my questions above. Thanks for the review!

Edit: Oh, did you have any trouble with FastEthernet w/ Blu-ray backups (since they axed GigE)?

I have a number of different ways to serve up media: PC, Bittorrent PC, NAS's, etc. The setup for W7 is fairly simple. You can use Windows Media Player to stream...just turn on "Media Streaming". After that, just set up your shared libraries that you want the set-top box to access and your are good to go.

If you aren't running W7 or just don't like WMP, you can use a bunch of different programs (our favorite is PS3 Media Server) to setup a DLNA compliant UPnP server.

It's really pretty easy. If you files are shared on your network, the media players will usually pick them up with hardly any configuration at all.

---

I didn't try multichannel FLAC/WAV because I don't have any. If you have one to send for me test I can let you know if it works.

We had absolutely no problem playing anything over Ethernet. I was really trying too. The load time for BD-ISOs was the slowest, but it was hardly noticeable and played perfect.

(edit- BD-ISO Menus are not supported - typo in my chart)
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Re: Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming M

Postby gwolfman » Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:20 pm

Digital Puppy wrote:You can use Windows Media Player to stream...just turn on "Media Streaming".

If you aren't running W7 or just don't like WMP, you can use a bunch of different programs (our favorite is PS3 Media Server) to setup a DLNA compliant UPnP server.

I didn't try multichannel FLAC/WAV because I don't have any. If you have one to send for me test I can let you know if it works.

Thanks for getting back to me! Does WMP share the .iso files correctly? I assume WMP does not transcode, correct?

I presume PS3 Media Server shares .iso files correctly; is this the download location?
Code: Select all
http://code.google.com/p/ps3mediaserver/

I can up a multichannel FLAC later today, which hosting site do you prefer? If I don't hear back form you I'll assume megaupload. Should I send the link via PM?
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Re: Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming M

Postby Digital Puppy » Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:22 pm

gwolfman wrote:
Digital Puppy wrote:You can use Windows Media Player to stream...just turn on "Media Streaming".

If you aren't running W7 or just don't like WMP, you can use a bunch of different programs (our favorite is PS3 Media Server) to setup a DLNA compliant UPnP server.

I didn't try multichannel FLAC/WAV because I don't have any. If you have one to send for me test I can let you know if it works.

Thanks for getting back to me! Does WMP share the .iso files correctly? I assume WMP does not transcode, correct?

I presume PS3 Media Server shares .iso files correctly; is this the download location?
Code: Select all
http://code.google.com/p/ps3mediaserver/

I can up a multichannel FLAC later today, which hosting site do you prefer? If I don't hear back form you I'll assume megaupload. Should I send the link via PM?

WMP does do some transcoding, but I don't think it handles all MKVs.

...of course if your network shares are working, the WD TV can grab the file from that as well. :)
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Re: Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming M

Postby Kaos Kid » Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:52 pm

Digital Puppy wrote:
Kaos Kid wrote:hmmmmm getting closer and closer to turning in my HTPC, once we start getting hitch-free 1080 streaming I'll have to seriously consider something like this.

When you say "hitch-free" are you talking about the ability to play 1080p without hiccups or stuttering? or are you talking about the ease.

For the WD TV Live, 1080 plays with no problems at all when wired (Ethernet or USB). The only time there is some issue is when you play the 1080 media over wireless. And even then, YMMV depending on your home setup and bitrate of your multimedia file.


I guess I would mean over wireless. My wi-fi router is in the basement so all 4 computers upstairs are on wireless connections. I watch mainly 10GB + .mkv 1080 rips on the HTPC with varying encoding sources so I haven't yet found a commercial media box that can handle all the different sources that I accumulate, that is why right now it is just easier to maintain an HTPC with KLite codecs and MPC-HC. I am doing this archaically by transferring the rips from my surfer to my HTPC via a "Tornado" transfer cable rather than trying to stream from a NAS, I can seldom get the connection to stay solid for that large of a file transfer from the basement to upstairs over wireless--perhaps that is my routers fault though.
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Re: Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming M

Postby Digital Puppy » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:28 am

Kaos Kid wrote:
Digital Puppy wrote:
Kaos Kid wrote:hmmmmm getting closer and closer to turning in my HTPC, once we start getting hitch-free 1080 streaming I'll have to seriously consider something like this.

When you say "hitch-free" are you talking about the ability to play 1080p without hiccups or stuttering? or are you talking about the ease.

For the WD TV Live, 1080 plays with no problems at all when wired (Ethernet or USB). The only time there is some issue is when you play the 1080 media over wireless. And even then, YMMV depending on your home setup and bitrate of your multimedia file.


I guess I would mean over wireless. My wi-fi router is in the basement so all 4 computers upstairs are on wireless connections. I watch mainly 10GB + .mkv 1080 rips on the HTPC with varying encoding sources so I haven't yet found a commercial media box that can handle all the different sources that I accumulate, that is why right now it is just easier to maintain an HTPC with KLite codecs and MPC-HC. I am doing this archaically by transferring the rips from my surfer to my HTPC via a "Tornado" transfer cable rather than trying to stream from a NAS, I can seldom get the connection to stay solid for that large of a file transfer from the basement to upstairs over wireless--perhaps that is my routers fault though.


Sounds like you might want to try a Power-line Adapter. You can get fairly good speeds with them depending on the brand/model.

Another idea is to use the WD TV Live HUB with on-board storage can sync to any folder or drive on your network. You can download/rip a BD-ISO and drop it in a directory and the WDTV Live Hub would 'sync' it. When you get ready to watch your movie, it will be on the set-top box negating the need to stream.

Just a thought.
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Re: Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming M

Postby gwolfman » Sat Oct 08, 2011 1:18 pm

Here's the multichannel FLAC file, I'm sure you'll recognize the song. I'll PM you the password.
Code: Select all
http://www.multiupload.com/ZMN8I4QACC

There's a tag in the file (seen below) which specifies which channels are present (in this case 5.1). Can you try to see if plays correctly with and without the tag (I use Foobar2000 to edit tags).
Code: Select all
WAVEFORMATEXTENSIBLE_CHANNEL_MASK : 0x003F
Thanks! Waiting anxiously for the results.
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Re: Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming M

Postby Digital Puppy » Sat Oct 08, 2011 3:13 pm

gwolfman wrote:Here's the multichannel FLAC file, I'm sure you'll recognize the song. I'll PM you the password.
Code: Select all
http://www.multiupload.com/ZMN8I4QACC

There's a tag in the file (seen below) which specifies which channels are present (in this case 5.1). Can you try to see if plays correctly with and without the tag (I use Foobar2000 to edit tags).
Code: Select all
WAVEFORMATEXTENSIBLE_CHANNEL_MASK : 0x003F
Thanks! Waiting anxiously for the results.

Took the tag out (with some help!) and the file played with no problems!

Let me know if there are any other files you want me to check. If you don't mind, I'd like to leave those files in our "Multimedia Test Folder" for future reviews.
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Re: Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming M

Postby gwolfman » Sat Oct 08, 2011 3:21 pm

Digital Puppy wrote:Took the tag out (with some help!) and the file played with no problems!

Let me know if there are any other files you want me to check. If you don't mind, I'd like to leave those files in our "Multimedia Test Folder" for future reviews.
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Re: Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming M

Postby Digital Puppy » Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:17 pm

The WD TV settings were on "Pass Thru" and I was getting sound from all speakers. It would be great if your flac was like my other test audio where it literally "calls out" the channel: "Left!" ... "Center!" ... "Rear Surround!"

The other hard thing for me is that I normally don't listen to music in "surround" mode. For me it's all about L/R/S.

Thanks again for helping us out with the review and giving me a new media format to play around with.
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Re: Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming M

Postby gwolfman » Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:57 pm

Digital Puppy wrote:The WD TV settings were on "Pass Thru" and I was getting sound from all speakers. It would be great if your flac was like my other test audio where it literally "calls out" the channel: "Left!" ... "Center!" ... "Rear Surround!"

The other hard thing for me is that I normally don't listen to music in "surround" mode. For me it's all about L/R/S.

Thanks again for helping us out with the review and giving me a new media format to play around with.
I might have one of those. Let me take a look and I'll PM you if I find it. Thanks again.
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Re: Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming M

Postby gwolfman » Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:48 pm

gwolfman wrote:
Digital Puppy wrote:The WD TV settings were on "Pass Thru" and I was getting sound from all speakers. It would be great if your flac was like my other test audio where it literally "calls out" the channel: "Left!" ... "Center!" ... "Rear Surround!"

The other hard thing for me is that I normally don't listen to music in "surround" mode. For me it's all about L/R/S.

Thanks again for helping us out with the review and giving me a new media format to play around with.
I might have one of those. Let me take a look and I'll PM you if I find it. Thanks again.

I believe these are the files you're looking for, all but one were obtained on Microsoft's servers and are free and open to the public:
Code: Select all
http://www.multiupload.com/XHMSOWIT6Y
I am currently rearranging my living room so I only have the front speakers (L,R,C,LFE) hooked up so I can't tell if the other channels are mapped properly. I was able to encode the 6 channel (5.1) audio to FLAC, but FLAC currently has a known bug with 8ch (7.1) audio, so those are not converted to FLAC. Included are 3 x 5.1 test files (FLAC,WAV,WMA), and 3 x 7.1 test files (WAV,WAV,WMA). The difference between the two 7.1 test files is that one is improperly marked with the 5.1 channel mask (0x003F) and the other (v2) is mark with the proper channel mask (0x063F). Please include these in future reviews, thanks!
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Re: Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming M

Postby gwolfman » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:52 pm

Were you able to try the last audio test files I uploaded?

I have two more FLAC files I would like you to try if you still have the (review) unit. One in particular is a stereo 24-bit/192kHz; my guess is the device's chipset can't handle 192kHz. The second is also 24-bit but of an unusual/rare sampling rate: 88.2kHz. Let me know if you're up for the test. Thanks again!
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Re: Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming M

Postby Digital Puppy » Sun Oct 16, 2011 9:20 am

gwolfman wrote:Were you able to try the last audio test files I uploaded?

I have two more FLAC files I would like you to try if you still have the (review) unit. One in particular is a stereo 24-bit/192kHz; my guess is the device's chipset can't handle 192kHz. The second is also 24-bit but of an unusual/rare sampling rate: 88.2kHz. Let me know if you're up for the test. Thanks again!

I did try the last file that you posted...I'm kind of scratching my head because when played, they didn't come across as "discrete"...the sound played, but not out of the individual channels. When I played a test video (DTS encode), i could clearly hear discrete audio. I don't think that the audio settings/rules would change for Audio and Video playback...

Shoot me the new files, and I can at least tell if (and how) they play.
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Re: Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming M

Postby gwolfman » Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:21 pm

Digital Puppy wrote:
gwolfman wrote:Were you able to try the last audio test files I uploaded?

I have two more FLAC files I would like you to try if you still have the (review) unit. One in particular is a stereo 24-bit/192kHz; my guess is the device's chipset can't handle 192kHz. The second is also 24-bit but of an unusual/rare sampling rate: 88.2kHz. Let me know if you're up for the test. Thanks again!

I did try the last file that you posted...I'm kind of scratching my head because when played, they didn't come across as "discrete"...the sound played, but not out of the individual channels. When I played a test video (DTS encode), i could clearly hear discrete audio. I don't think that the audio settings/rules would change for Audio and Video playback...

Shoot me the new files, and I can at least tell if (and how) they play.
Sorry I haven't had a chance to up the files yet, hopefully I'll have some time to do that tomorrow. In reference to the audio test not playing as discrete channels, do you think it's the media player? Was your audio settings on your receiver set to play surround mode (I know mine has many settings, some of which have each channel play a combination of all channels, other which play each channel discretely). Just thinking here.
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Re: Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming M

Postby gwolfman » Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:26 am

Never got around to uploading the audio files, sorry.

However, if you remember testing this or if you happen to still have the device, I was wondering if you tested any videos with multiple audio tracks (i.e., an .mkv with both a DTS and AAC (Dolby Digital) audio stream, or an .mkv with an English track and another in a foreign language)? Are you able to select the audio track you want to listen to? Thanks!
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Re: Western Digital WD TV Live – Next Generation Streaming M

Postby Digital Puppy » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:15 pm

gwolfman wrote:Never got around to uploading the audio files, sorry.

However, if you remember testing this or if you happen to still have the device, I was wondering if you tested any videos with multiple audio tracks (i.e., an .mkv with both a DTS and AAC (Dolby Digital) audio stream, or an .mkv with an English track and another in a foreign language)? Are you able to select the audio track you want to listen to? Thanks!

We did look at MKVs with multiple audio (DTS/DD I think) and it worked. There is an "audio" button on the remote that you can toggle between the various selections of audio. I'll confirm it (and possibly take a picture) this evening.
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