A New Media Streamer

I recently purchased a WD TV Live media streamer: a little box that connects video files stored on the network to the TV.

Another black box
For the past couple of years I had been using an HDX1000 to do the same job but its age was showing and, in particular, it struggled to handshake with other, newer components over HDMI.

The WD TV Live performs flawlessly. With built-in WiFi-N it can easily stream videos - even high definition videos - stored on hard drives across the network. It produces bright, sharp pictures which it happily upscales to 1080p with good results. HDMI handshaking is virtually instantaneous and connecting to network file locations is also simple. You can also play files stored locally on an external hard drive or flash drive connecting through one of the USB ports (one on the back, one on the front).

A nice touch is that, based on the file name of a video, it fetches an image of the DVD cover artwork and places it on the menu alongside the name. It sometimes gets this wrong but you can also add artwork manually by placing an image file in the folder containing the videos.

I've only talked about videos because this is my main interest for this device. But the WD TV Live will also display photos and play music - again, streaming file contents from locations anywhere on the network. Photo display is again clear and crisp and there are various transition effects to choose from. I haven't tried playing music as I prefer to use a Squeezebox to perform this function with true hi-fi results.

Things have certainly moved on in the past couple of years. The WD TV Live is refined, smooth and simple to use. It produces excellent results and for £60 it has to be something of a no-brainer.