From all of the media players I have seen in the past year the Western Digital TV Live Hub is one of the best. The first thing that stands out is the user interface. Every other media player we have looked at has some crap basic interface. They are hard to navigate, they look ugly and the features are just not there. With the WD Live TV Hub the interface is just gorgeous and extremely easy to navigate. This interface makes you feel like you are actually using a real piece of AV equipment. I’ve had people who know nothing about computers start using the device with ease. Just like with the iPhone, UI is everything and Western Digital did a great job with the WD TV Live Hub.
Another thing that sets the WD TV Live Hub apart from other HD media players is that it comes with internal storage standard. Other HD media players have room for internal hard drives, but they are not included. No one wants to spend the extra money on a drive and have to open istall it as well. The 1TB internal hard drive is more than enough room for all of your media. Besides the internal 1TB hard drive you can also connect a USB hard drive to one of the 2 USB ports on the device. The one on the front of the device makes it very convenient for you to just plug a flash drive right in.
Playback of media is very good on the WD TV Live Hub. It played pretty much all media we threw at it. I was mainly using my Xbox 360 to play media on my TV, but now that has been replaced with the WD TV Live Hub because it can play more files and more importantly can play HD content. The online services that are included are a great addition although for some reason the most important ones were missing on our unit. Even after we reset the unit and updated the firmware to the latest version Netflix, Pandora, CinemaNow and Blockbuster On Demand were still not on our unit. This is completely unacceptable since many people would use the WD TV Live Hub as a device for those services.
Another thing that was missing from the WD TV Live Hub was any sort of AV cables, I guess this is a trade off for the internal hard drive, but if you are purchasing this unit you will also need to purchase a HDMI cable or component cables.
When you connect this device to your network you now have the ability to stream content not only from other computers on your network, but also from the WD TV Live Hub itself. Also you can easily transfer content to and from the unit. If you do not have a wired connection close the WD TV Live Hub supports USB wireless dongles, you just plug one in to either USB port and you are good to go.
As I said this is one of the best HD media players on the market. The interface is amazing, it plays pretty much everything and the online services are a nice addition. I am not sure why we had the issue with the online services, but from every other review I have seen no one else had the problem. So with that aside this is probably the most complete HD media player in the under $200 segment. Right now you can pick it up Western Digital Live TV Hub for $199 at my favorite online retailer. Overall ThinkComputers gives the Western Digital Live TV Hub a 9 out of 10 score and our Recommended Award!
– Small compact design
– 1TB hard drive included
– Beautiful user interface
– Easy to use
– Plays pretty much any type of media
– Included online services
– No AV cables included
– Weird online service issue on our unit