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Streaming Videos from YouTube

For me, one of the coolest features on the Western Digital WD TV Live is the ability to stream content over the Internet. As mentioned, we got to see some of this on the Seagate FreeAgent Theater+, but that player left a lot to be desired. For example, the Seagate offering couldn’t do YouTube. The WD one can.

Western Digital WD TV Live HD Media Player Review

You can browse through the most recent videos, featured videos, and so on. There is also a search utility if you’re looking for something in particular. One sticking point that seems like it could still use some work is the ability to log into your own YouTube account.

When you log in, you can see your own videos, but there is no direct access to your subscriptions. I like having a personalized version of YouTube and the WDTV Live doesn’t let me do that. I can use my account, however, to rate videos and to add them to my favorites. Performance, especially with HD content, is quite good though.

Photostreams from Flickr

Western Digital WD TV Live HD Media Player Review

The Flickr functionality mirrors that of the YouTube one, except you cannot log into your Flickr account at all. In fact, I couldn’t even find my Flickr account using the search utility, nor could I look up my contacts and their photostreams.┬áThis is most unfortunate, because I don’t go to Flickr to browse around on the most recent uploads from everyone. I want a personalized portal, just like what I want with the YouTube connection.

Internet Radio with Pandora and Live365

Western Digital WD TV Live HD Media Player Review

Finishing off the trifecta of online content, the WD TV Live can stream audio from Internet radio as well. If you have a Pandora account, you can use that. Since I don’t, I used the Live365 feature to stream some music through to my TV.

I can look at recommended stations or search for my favorites. After choosing a station, you can also see the title and artist of the current track. You can give the thumbs up or thumbs down to the song too. The quality is about what you’d expect from Internet radio: decent, but far from stellar.

Final Thoughts

The Western Digital WD TV Live has made substantial improvements over the version that was released earlier this year. The file support is a lot better, easily handling just about any video file that I threw at it. The video quality is just as good as it has always been too, especially since I took advantage of the HDMI option.┬áThe user interface is still visually attractive and the remote is simple enough for even beginners to use. It’s too bad that there is no internal hard drive bay, but there are two USB ports to accept your external hard drives and USB flash drives.

The biggest upgrade has to be the inclusion of online streaming media. It’s great being able to view pictures from Flickr, listen to music from Live365, and stream videos from YouTube. The functionality isn’t quite as robust as I had hoped, like the lack of ability to see my subscriptions on YouTube, but I hope that WD can fix this with a firmware update.

Pros

  • Streaming video from YouTube
  • Visually appealing user interface
  • Easy to understand and use
  • Wide range of file format support
  • Support for USB Wi-Fi adapters

Cons

  • Inability to view YouTube subscriptions
  • Lack of Flickr account access
  • No front-mounted USB port
  • Can get quite warm with extended use
  • No integrated Wi-Fi connectivity

Overall Rating: 9.0/10.0

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