Western Digital WD TV Live Hub


The WD Elements Play media player we reviewed last month fulfilled the basic premise of media players, which is to render digital media and stream it to a home TV. This is what the Elements Play – and most media players out there – do. It’s a very useful and entertaining device, effectively harnessing all the digital media we surround ourselves with: photos, music, videos. We thought it was hard to improve on that gadget.

However, the WD TV Live Hub we’re evaluating now does the same thing but with 2 important additions – the Internet and networking. Whereas the WD Elements Play was already a hero among couch potatoes everywhere, the WD TV Live Hub has the potential to be their next American Idol.

With Internet capability and networking functions, the Live Hub opens up new vistas for enjoying digital media. Simply hook up your Internet connection to the Live Hub via an Ethernet connection, connect the Live Hub to your LCD TV via HDMI or Composite A/V, and click Services on the Live Hub’s menu. Several online websites will appear, and you will recognize most of them.

There’s AccuWeather, Facebook, Flickr, Live365.com, Mediafly, Pandora, and YouTube. Before you get your hopes of surfing using your 32-inch LCD up, here’s the lowdown. Most of these services work. AccuWeather, Facebook, Flickr, Live365, and Mediafly will let you see your News Feeds, look at your photos, listen to Internet radio, and watch online videos from the comfort of your couch.

Facebook is especially entertaining because of its huge size on your TV, and photos on the site are hi-res for some reason. But good luck browsing through Facebook. To log on, you have to use the virtual keyboard, and that’s a pain to use. Once you’re logged in, it’s a tedious process of scrolling through your friends and wall posts. It’s a novelty that will make you yearn for your laptop if you’re a heavy social-network user.

Pandora and YouTube simply do not work. A few attempts at watching YouTube videos elicited a response that said TV connection viewing wasn’t allowed. Pandora said we’re in the wrong country. Well, American recording industry, you leave us no choice then…

The networking feature is beyond useful. The WD Elements Play acted like a hard drive that could play media. The higher-end Live Hub can gather media through several methods. First, you can plug in your portable hard drive and it will read from that. Or once it’s connected to your home network, you can copy files to it from your laptop to its own 1-terabyte drive. And best of all, if you have a home media server, the Live Hub can access that and stream your movies from there.

The Live Hub seems to use its own software to navigate through the functions. In effect, it seems like a basic computer already, which is the illusion that capable media servers give off. But the software can lag sometimes, and we experienced one instance of hanging and rebooting. Once you’re watching your latest Glee episode, though, these concerns fade into the background. The Live Hub does its job nicely.

As expected, the popular media formats are supported, so TV and movie marathons have never been easier. Now the only feature missing is the ability to make popcorn. No, that wasn't a pun.

See also

 

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WD TV Live Hub (1)

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Performance
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Value
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Overall
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+

  • Effortless installation
  • Network connectivity
  • Supports popular file formats
  • Smooth media playback
  • Dramatic Facebook experience
-
  • Some Internet services are not available here
  • Device lags sometimes when being used
Bottom Line
  • If you inhale digital media and your home network is up and running, this is your key to media nirvana
Editor's Pick No
Price P9,900
Tech Specs
  • Media formats
    • MP3, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA, AAC, FLAC, MKA, AIF/AIFF, OGG, Dolby Digital, DTS
    • JPEG, GIF, TIF/TIFF, BMP, PNG
    • AVI (Xvid, AVC, MPEG1/2/4), MPG/MPEG, VOB, MKV (h.264, x.264, AVC, MPEG1/2/4, VC-1), TS/TP/M2T (MPEG1/2/4, AVC, VC-1), MP4/MOV (MPEG4, h.264), M2TS, WMV9, FLV (h.264)
  • Connections
    • USB 2.0
    • HDMI
    • RCA
    • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Memory
    • 1-terabyte
  • Size
    • 198 X 154 X 31.75 mm


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COMMENTS
  • Guest March 16, 2020; 11:38 am Report Abuse
    There's no Bluetooth or WIFI function?
  • Guest April 10, 2020; 11:50 pm Report Abuse
    usb wifi adapter connected to usb port of this device
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