7 expert reviews - 0 user reviews
We have collected 7 reviews of the Western Digital WD TV Live Hub. Experts rate Western Digital WD TV Live Hub 8.5/10. Reviewsor.com helps you find reviews, best prices, user reviews of the Western Digital WD TV Live Hub and Western Digital Multimedia hard drive.
Digg DiggFor most people their TV is the center of entertainment in the living room. You watch cable television on it, you play your video game consoles on it and you watch DVD and Blu-ray movies on it. We all know there are devices for that, but what about all of the media you have on your PC? All the videos you have taken, shows you have downloaded and even the photos you have. No one wants to sit around a small computer screen and watch these. This is where the Western Digital TV Live Hub comes in. It is a HD media player that supports pretty much any file type and has a 1TB hard drive for all of your media. Let’s take a look an see what Western Digital has brought to the table in the HD media player market! The WD TV Live Hub comes in a nice retail package. On the front there is a photo of the unit and one of the interface, which looks much more refined than other HD media players that we have looked at. On the back there is some information about the unit itself. On the side there is a list of supported formats, which we do have listed above. Opening up the box everything is nicely packed inside. Getting it all out you have the WD TV Live Hub, remote, power adapter, batteries and a user’s guide. On thing that was missing was any sort of video cables.
One day while sitting in an office going over TPS reports, someone over at Western Digital heard a voice. It whispered, "If you stream it, they will come." After hearing this, he marched into the board room and pitched his idea for a streaming media player, and thus the WD TV series was born. Now whether or not it actually played out like this is irrelevant (it didn't); what matters is that Western Digital did build a line of streaming set-top boxes, and the customers have certainly shown up. Western Digital's WD TV Live Hub, which is what we're looking at today, is the company's fourth generation media streamer, and it's the most fully functional to date. Unlike the previous generation WD TV Live Plus, as well those that came out before it, this latest iteration adds several welcome additions, including a built-in 1TB hard drive, a built-in media server to stream content to multiple rooms, and more apps than before, including the ability to download movies and TV shows from Blockbuster On Demand. The idea here is simple.
Western Digital's latest, the WD TV Live Hub, may be slimmer than its predecessors, but it leaves a far more impressive footprint. Despite being only twice the size of an Apple TV, it includes a 1TB hard drive and multiple other extras. With USB ports on the front and rear, this unit can stream in 1080p from DLNA/ UPnP PCs, has a 3D-ready HDMI 1.4 output, can act as a NAS drive or UPnP/ DLNA client in its own right, and is even accessible via a web browser. Insert a USB stick and it offers to transfer files, which appear automatically in iTunes. The Mochi interface takes a while to learn, but we soon got the hang of the four function buttons on the chubby but tactile remote. They seem to have random features assigned to them, and although it's possible to re-jig their functions and assign commands to the numbered buttons, Western Digital should have made a better first attempt. The remote lacks shortcuts for video and music, and would benefit from a dedicated input changer. We threw many files at the WD TV Live, and it played everything from DivX HD to AVC HD in excellent quality. Video can be scanned through at up to 16x speeds, and music and videos can be added to a queue.
In the digital-media box market, it seems like Apple and Roku have been getting the most attention lately, but companies like Seagate and Western Digital are trying to differentiate their boxes from the rest by offering tie-ins to their companies' portable hard drives. However, in the case of the WD TV Live Hub, Western Digital has taken things a step further and built a networked 1TB hard drive right into the unit itself. With that embedded hard drive, this box is bigger than the Apple TV and the latest crop of Roku players, but it is still relatively compact, measuring 1.25 inches tall by 7.8 inches wide by 5.9 inches deep. It's also attractively styled, with a glossy black finish and simple, understated looks. Included in the box are a remote control and a set of composite (red, white, yellow) AV cables. You get outputs for component video, but most people who own an HDTV with HDMI inputs will choose to buy an optional HDMI cable to hook this guy up. An optical audio output is available for those who want to use component video cables and run digital audio out to an AV receiver. The first thing you'll notice when you fire up the WD TV Live Hub is the simple, elegant onscreen interface that offers pretty zippy performance.
The media-streamer hits keep coming from Western Digital. Hot on the heels of the capable WD TV Live Plus (which streams media from the Internet, your local network, and a connected USB drive), the WD TV Live Hub adds a 1TB internal hard drive that can double as network storage and a media server; support for more Web streaming media services; a major user interface overhaul; and improved search and filtering features. While a tad pricey at $200 (price as of December 5, 2010), its strong feature set and first-rate user interface should appeal to people who have a lot of their own high-def media to stream to multiple rooms--and who also want easy access to top commercial Web services. The WD TV Live Hub has a bigger footprint than its smallish, square, and boxy predecessors (it's about the size of a small Wi-Fi router), but is also a lot thinner. It offers the same outputs as its predecessors: HDMI, component and composite video plus digital audio (for use with a home-theater audio system when you're using either component or composite video, whichsupport only plain-vanilla stereo). You once again get a USB port for hooking up a flash or external hard drive, plus a gigabit ethernet port to put the Live Hub on your home network.
Media centres that have a strong suit in video playback, a technically and visually successful interface and quality Internet services are not as common as all that. Nevertheless Western Digital has definitely scored one over the competition with the WD TV Live Hub, which is stuffed with quality features. All the details follow in the review below. Hardware: an impressive interface The WD TV Live Hub is a nice piece of equipment. The casing is in very good quality plastic with a pretty brushed effect on top. It comes with a hard drive: a 2.5-inch, 1 TB model. Other versions may be marketed later. There's a fan to keep the different components cool. It's very discreet and won't disturb you or anyone else in the room. There's no control screen at the front so you do have to turn your TV on when you want to use it to listen to music. A large remote is supplied to help you navigate the media centre. It handles very naturally and is nice to use. All the buttons are well positioned but unfortunately there's no backlighting or phosphorescent coating. Lastly, we would also have liked to see one button dedicated to volume control. For this you'll need to use the remote for the TV or the amp. We're now getting to the major strength of this media centre: its excellent navigation interface.
A few months ago, Western Digital released the WD TV HD Plus ($129.99, 3 stars), a set-top box designed to play nearly any media file from a USB drive. It could play movies or songs in nearly any format, but a blunt, awkward user interface held it back. Now, the company has given its WD TV Live series a significant upgrade with the WD TV Live Hub ($199.99 direct). With a roomy 1-terabyte hard drive and a drastically improved interface, the Live Hub earns our Editors' Choice for media hubs with integrated storage. Its design and features make the Live Hub somewhat similar to the previous generation of the Apple TV ($99 direct, 4 stars); while Apple removed the hard drive from its new set-top box, Western Digital added massive storage. The Live Hub is much larger and flatter than previous WD TV boxes. With its flat, featureless surface and rounded corners, the 1.3-by-7.8-by-6-inch (HWD) box looks like a black version of the last-gen Apple TV. The front of the device features only a power switch, a USB port, and a Western Digital logo that lights up when it's powered on. The back of the device offers one each of HDMI, optical audio, component video, composite video, USB, and Ethernet connections, plus the power adapter port.