WD TV Live Plus Review (With Device and Interface Photos)

For the last few years I have been leaning towards watching video content through streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, etc... as well as downloading movies and watching them through mediums such as VLC Media Player.

That said, I wanted to have this same functionality but in a smaller package compared to using my PC; so I picked up a WD TV Live Plus.



It is a nice little Media Player that allows you to play virtually any current video format available as well as has streaming capabilities to services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, and more.

What I like about this device is it has firmware updates so you are guaranteed to get updates for both the system and applications loaded on this device. When I first bought the device, it already had 4 firmware updates before I even started to use it.

It has 2 USB ports so you can plug in 2 USB hard drives if you'd like. However, a USB Wireless N Dongle is occupying one of the USB ports so I can stream wirelessly.

The fact it doesn't have internal wireless built-in is somewhat of a negative to me; but what was nice is that after buying a dongle (Rosewill RNX-EasyN1 Wireless-N 4.0 Dongle) off the recommended device list for this product, all I had to do was plug the USB dongle in and enter my wireless network credentials and I was all set.

I use Netflix as my primary streaming service and prior to purchasing this product I was using my Nintendo Wii for Netflix. I will have to say that while impressed with the Netflix interface on the WD TV Live Plus, the Wii version outperforms it as it is less sluggish when traversing through movies and searching. However, the Wii does not have HD capability so the WD TV Live Plus naturally has better picture quality for newer titles especially. Please note, that only the interface feels a bit sluggish, playback has been fine on the device.

When it comes to accessing my USB Hard Disk; the WD TV Live Plus detects the hard drive fairly quickly and I can navigate through the folders on the hard drive easily and get to my videos without a problem. The same goes for music as well.

Lastly, it has network streaming capabilities and you can connect to your local network and/or media server so that is a huge plus.

The picture quality on video playback is superb; as you will see in the photos below.

As for when I power up the device, I notice my Vizio LED TV detects a video signal, then goes to a "No Signal" message for a couple of seconds before the device boots up. At first I thought something was wrong with the device or my HD cable; but it just turns out that is how the device initializes. Not a huge con, but just a heads up to you if you pick one up.

The price is reasonable but would make me feel better if wireless capability was included, I paid $89.99 for it at a local retailer. I went to Fry's which is a local store in my town (Las Vegas) and they were selling it for $99.99, I told them about Newegg's advertised price of $89.99 with Free Shipping and they matched me. However, I have seen the price fluctuate recently for this product between $55-$120.

Overall, I am very happy with the device and I recommend it for those who want a small media device for Internet streaming and for playing digital music and videos. On a scale of 1-5, I would give this product a 3.5; knocking points off for the lack of built-in wireless and slightly sluggish interface.

(Photos Below)




My apologies for the thumb prints, the flash on my camera shows all!


Photo of a 720P quality movie playing off my USB hard drive. The TV is a 32" Vizio LED TV.


Front-top view of the device with a USB dongle.



Rear view of the device, it has optical in for audio, ethernet port, and inputs for Composite or Component cables.
The 2 occupied ports have a HD cable and USB hard drive plugged in.




Netflix interface



Internet Streaming Media Interface



Folder system interface


Music folder interface

Keywords: wd tv live plus review, with photos


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Comments

Jay

Posted on: Nov 22, 2011 4:27 pm

Thanks for the detailed review. Thinking of picking this up on Black Friday.

JEEVO

Posted on: Sep 30, 2011 2:57 am

The WD TV Live gets even better with the free ZappoTV app for iPad and iPhone!