WD Elements Play


5 years ago, it was difficult to believe that the ubiquitous dibidi could be usurped from its place as king of affordable media content. Costing as little as 2 cans of soda per disc, the bane of movie companies everywhere made it easy and accessible for anyone to enjoy high-quality (depending on the original source) digital cinema. Now a shift is happening. The dibidi is slowly being replaced by something more inexpensive and more convenient – the digital file. So as memory and storage became cheaper, thumb drives were passed around, portable hard drives were loaded up, and people began to use purely digital media more and more. This is what led to the creation of digital media players, and this unit we’re playing with is the mid-level entry of popular hard-drive maker Western Digital.

They call it the WD Elements Play, a combination of a media decoder and a hard drive. Our test unit has 2TB of storage, although a quick survey of electronic stores revealed that the units on sale are only 1TB (P7,950) for now.

Installation and operation of the Elements Play is simplicity itself. If you’ve ever operated a powered hard drive, you can make this device work in a matter of minutes. Simply connect the Elements Play to your laptop or desktop computer via USB (USB 2.0 for now), plug the supplied power brick to a socket, and the media player’s hard drive will appear as a typical drive on your computer.

After you’ve loaded the media player with files, transfer it near your TV and connect it using either RCA cables (ensuring backward compatibility) or HDMI. The Elements Play can actually be loaded with files while still connected to the TV, but you have to use a longer USB cable, as the one supplied with the box is very short.

It’s best to use HDMI for this player because it can support full 1080P HD video. Other file formats supported are MKV, H264, and RVMB files, as well as popular MP3 and AAC audio file formats. For picture files, only JPEGs are supported. Once the Elements Play is linked to the TV, operating the player is a breeze.

A set of menu commands appear on the TV screen: video, music, photos, file management, and settings. For the most popular video resolutions, the so-called DVD rips and TV episodes, the Elements Play renders the video flawlessly. There is absolutely no lag. But be prepared for old-school fast forward and rewind, though, albeit up to speeds of 32x.

However, we encountered a snag when we tested the player using a very high-resolution video file – a  Blu-ray-sourced video. There was no sound, but the video was still lag-free. Pass-through-only audio perhaps?

According to Western Digital’s estimates, this 2TB player can hold up to 150 hours worth of videos, or roughly 75 movies. In reality, even the commercially available 1TB player seems capable of holding a year’s worth of movies and TV episodes for everyone but the most hard-core torrent freak.

And if your drive gets full, just transfer your files back to your computer and archive them via DVD. Small, convenient, and cheap blank DVD discs. What do you know? The DVD may have won after all.

Click here to see the WD Elements Play in the Buyer's Guide.

See also

 

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Western Digital Elements Play 01

Western Digital Elements Play
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Performance
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Value
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Overall
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+
  • Effortless installation
  • Supports popular file formats
  • Large hard drive
  • Smooth media playback
-
  • No sound with some videos
  • Fast forward and rewind (although this is common in media players)
Bottom Line
  • If you’ve invested in a decent LCD TV and you download plenty of media, this is the missing part of your life
Editor's Pick No
Price P9,700
Tech Specs
  • Media formats
    • AAC, MP3, WMA, FLAC
    • JPEG, GIF, TIFF, BMP, PNG
    • AVI, MPEG, VOB, MP4, Real Media, HDMI, H.264, MKV, FLV
  • Connections
    • USB 2.0
    • HDMI
    • RCA
  • Memory
    • 2-terabyte
  • Size
    • 225 X 149 X 41 mm


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COMMENTS
  • joboy February 1, 2020; 6:32 pm Report Abuse
    Are you guys sure the file with no audio is 100% compatible with the media player? I think the codec used in the video is not supported by this WD device kaya nawala yung sound. Video files, even if they are under the same format use a variety of audio codecs kasi.
    Last modified 6 months ago
  • humberto February 17, 2020; 2:28 pm Report Abuse
    saan stores na ba available yung 2TB version o kahit yung 1TB?
    Last modified 6 months ago
  • uther April 10, 2020; 11:42 pm Report Abuse
    if the source media files audio is dts, this player cant bring you audio. i have one at the house connected to 32" lcd. i was pissed of when i play mp4 file with h264 codec. the video has some kind of lag. and lastly this doesnt support divx movie. go to wd tv hub. this will bring a 100% satisfaction to you. im disappointed on this one. :(
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