There are 3 things that will complete a couch potato's night in front of the telly: a huge bowl of popcorn, a great media player, and awesome picture quality. While the beloved dibidi still enjoys brisk sales, many people are now turning to HD media players to help them settle in and vegetate for hours. The WD TV Live is Western Digital's contribution to those who want to liberate their HD content from their PCs, and we at the Techie test lab immediately parked our butts on the couch and got to work.
These days, everything is made cute and portable; the WD TV Live doesn't stray from that aesthetic formula and comes in a size that's slightly larger than a smartphone, with a weight to match. Users can plug in the AC adapter and their HDMI, USB 2.0, and component/composite cables from the unit's backside, and those who want to use LAN and optical cables have these respective options as well. Another USB 2.0 port is on the WD TV Live's left side, just in case one isn't enough for your viewing needs. Five minutes is all you need to plug everything in; even a Luddite would be pleased.
We went for the HDMI-component video-USB trio to see our media upscaled to 1080p. With a 22-inch LCD TV (the Samsung LA22B350F2) and a 1TB Western Digital MyBook Elite external drive serving as the WD TV Live's partners-in-crime, we were all set. You can also use Wi-Fi to access content from YouTube and Flickr, as well as retrieve and play files from any computer in your local network.
Speed seems to be this media player's middle name; we never had to wait for more than a second or 2 after each press of the controller's buttons, and the user-friendly interface got us to our videos and photos in record time. Besides the quick response, this media player supports a wide range of file formats, so you don't have to worry about converting anything.
The WD TV Live performed as expected, playing our media with great quality and no hassles. We especially liked that the unit provided a preview pane on the right side for our videos, very handy for those who have too many media files and aren't that good with file organization and naming.
This player also sorts your media by date and type, so there's no way you'll “misplace” your files. Even non-HD videos were rendered nicely, but don't consider the WD TV Live a miracle worker; the quality of your files and your TV set will help you see the limitations. It will also remember where you left off if you stop a video midway, and allow you to copy, delete, and transfer files between external devices and USB drives.
For a media player as good as this one, we had only 2 minor niggles about it: HD newbies would have to spring for their own HDMI or optical cable, and the unit becomes warm during use, especially underneath. But if you think about it, a product that boasts (and truly provides) simplicity and offers users an easy way to go HD should be grabbed as soon as possible. The WD TV Live is yours for P6,200, a reasonable price considering the way it can amp up your movie nights.
Click here to see the Western Digital WD TV Live in the Buyer's Guide.