WD TV Live Hub

It is WD TV’s third generation device, and offers many more online services

WD TV Live Hub media centre is a full-HD 1080 p media player, with a 1 terabyte (TB) built-in network hard disc drive. It gives users the freedom to play virtually anything they want on any screen at home. Before you write this off as another one of those boxes that bring YouTube and Flickr to your TV, and let you watch all this on a big screen, you need to look at this box closely. The Live Hub ensures that it is compatible with every TV in the world, by providing not only the latest HDMI 1.4 interface—for today’s LED TVs—but also a ‘composite / component’ interface for the old, box-type TVs.

This is the third generation of the WD TV. It has now added a 1 TB, 2.5 inch internal hard disc drive, a gigabit Ethernet interface, media server capabilities and a new user interface. The WD TV also supports almost any USB or wireless keyboard, to help you search Netflix or YouTube with greater ease, without too much reliance on the remote handset.

The main unit itself is light and a bit smaller than a DVD player.

For connectivity, it has USB 2.0, to which you can connect a Wi-Fi module and link it to your home wireless network. The wireless module has to be bought separately. There are also various TV connectors and an optical S/PDIF output port, if you want to hook it up to your home theatre.

Though it lacks a card reader, the WD TV can be linked with a PC to synchronise the device with your mobile phone or cameras with unsupported interfaces. This WD TV also includes online services such as Netflix (not available in India), YouTube, Pandora, Media Fly and Live 365.

However, the included hard disc does not caché content from any of these services, so you can’t record them to watch later. Additional content includes local and international weather forecasts from AccuWeather.com and daily video podcasts from CNN, NBC, MTV and ESPN.

On the flipside, the 1 TB hard disc cannot be upgraded. If you try to put in your own disc, you risk losing the warranty. What I also found slightly nagging about the unit is that its fan is noisy. But you will hear it only if you stand next to it, and I think you’ll get used to it. That it comes with a two year warranty is a bonus.

The above article appeared in the Open Magazine, Issue Dated 14-20 December, 2010, Issue 37, Volume 2