• The WD TV Live offers a great assortment of Web services, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vudu, Pandora, Spotify, CinemaNow, Facebook, and more.
• Wired and wireless network connections are available.
• The box supports a 1080p resolution. In addition to HDMI output, you get an optical digital audio output and an A/V jack (with supplied breakout cable) for compatibility with older TVs.
• The WD TV Live supports a wide range of file formats for playback of personal media files, via either USB or DLNA streaming.
• iOS/Android control apps are available, with a keyboard option for easier text entry. You can also connect a USB keyboard.
• The interface is clean and generally easy to navigate.
• The SlingPlayer app lets you stream live/recorded TV content from your Slingbox.
• The IR remote lacks a full keyboard for easier text input.
• Western Digital does not offer an apps store to expand and customize the list of Web services.
• The service does not currently include Amazon Instant Video.
Competition and Comparison
You can compare the WD TV Live with its competition by checking out our reviews of the Netgear NeoTV, Roku 3, D-Link Boxee Box, and Sony SMP-N200 --as well as the Apple TV.
The WD TV Live sells for about $100, pitting it directly against the Apple TV and top-of-the-line Roku 2 XS. The WD TV Live has more functionality than either of those boxes, in its combination of Web services and outstanding file support. Its features compare with the more expensive Boxee Box, including the new Live TV service that's a major selling point for anyone who owns or is thinking about buying a Slingbox. Quite simply, you can't beat the WD TV Live's features for a sub-$100 player. That said, if your focus is primarily on Web services and you don't plan to access personal media files or purchase a Slingbox, then Roku and Netgear offer lower-priced players with comparable Web services.
Some reports indicate that Western Digital will soon release a new media streamer, dubbed the WD TV Play, that will have fewer connections but more gaming options. You can get early details here.
• Read more media server reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com's staff
• Compare the WD TV Live to the Roku 3 at HomeTheaterReview.com
• Find out which streaming player is right for you