Tech Review: Western Digital HD Media Player

WD TV

The Western Digital HD Media Player (WD TV) is a device that connects your harddrive to a Television. This media device plays music, video, and displays pictures.

WD TV is really easy to set up. Simply plugin the device via RGB cables (included) or an HDMI cord (not included) to your TV and then plugin the external harddrive via USB. Within a few seconds the WD TV will recognize the harddrive and sync with the content.

WD TV comes with a remote to navigate through all the items. The menu system is laid out similar to that of the Playstation 3.

PS3 Menu

WD TV Menu

Once you select an option to view Music, Pictures, or Video, you can search for a specific item by its title or find it by going through the harddrive’s folders.

Playback is quick and responsive. Watching video at 1080p on a large HDTV sure beats watching it on a smaller computer monitor. The device is compact and light weight. With its design and black color it will nicely blend into any home entertainment center.

Some audio and videos did not play, most likely do to incompatible codecs. The WD TV can play the following media formats:
Music – MP3, WMA, OGG, WAV/PCM/LPCM, AAC, FLAC, Dolby Digital, AIF/AIFF, MKA
Graphics – JPEG, GIF, TIF/TIFF, BMP, PNG
Video -MPEG1/2/4, WMV9, AVI (MPEG4, Xvid, AVC), H.264, MKV, MOV (MPEG4, H.264)
Playlist – PLS, M3U, WPL Subtitle -SRT (UTF-8)

I can see this device being useful for the average consumer that wants to quickly and easily show off their home videos to family and/or guests. It essentially eliminates the process of people burning DVDs and CDs to play their data collections on TVs.

However, for hardcore techies the WD TV is slightly useless. It does not feature WiFi or ethernet ports, so you cannot connect the device to computers for wireless streaming.

Ultimately, the WD TV is a device that works, but it will quickly become outdated in the competitive set top box marketplace.

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