Get video, music and internet services on your TV
The WD TV Live is the latest model in Western Digital's range of media players, designed to stream video, photos and audio from any computer on your home network to a TV.
It also connects to the Internet, allowing the TV to screen services such as Facebook and Youtube.
It is about half the size of a paperback book and controlled by a TV-style remote control. There are two USB ports into which can be plugged a camera, a USB memory key, or hard disk, which is then made accessible by any computer on the network. There's an optical sound output for connecting to amplifier or speakers, and a network socket for a wired link to the household router, though it also supports wireless network connections. It can be connected by HDMI or composite cable to the TV, though the former is much better.
New to this model, which confusingly has the same name as its predecessors, is support for the £10-a-month Spotify online jukebox service which plays virtually any music track you are likely to want (the ad-sponsored free version is not supported).
The WDTV Live is also worth considering as a cheaper and more versatile alternative to an internet radio, as it can use the Tunein online service to receive stations. A big TV screen is a better way to navigate stations than the tiny screens on most internet radios.
The interface has been revamped: its response was crisp and the control screens well designed but they cannot alter the fact that a remote control and TV screen, viewed from across a room, are not the easiest way navigate the thousands of music and image files many people have on their hard disks. Nor are people likely to be able to post long messages to Facebook using the awkward on-screen keyboard or the remote-control keypad.
It can be controlled using a computer but only through an on-screen rendering of the remote control which means users cannot use their PC keyboards to enter login details for the various services, or messages, which is a missed opportunity.
Nevertheless, the new WD TV Live is a good media streamer.
Read more reviews
A low-cost, versatile way to pipe media to your TV, but the interface cannot overcome the limitations of the remote control
Relatively fast; setup process was problem-free
Would not play a couple of tracks that PCs had no trouble reading; no keyboard support in browser interface
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