WDTV LIve Hub Review:Summary:
I own multiple WDTVs (Live, 2.0 and Live+). I've also owned the Patriot Box office and the Asus Oplay Live. To sum it up: They are all crap compared to this player. The Hub has a dramatically improved software interface (Mochi), the remote is way better and customizable, It includes a 1tb internal drive for $200, it has a power switch, it can play header compressed dts audio files out of the box, it has a gigabit ethernet port, it has higher quality analog audio connections, it boots way faster, Metadata comes from themoviedb.org and it has a customizable background and screensaver. It can stream TrueHD enabled MKVs but not DTS HD MA. I'll bet user modified firmware with fully enabled bitstreaming will be in development VERY soon. On the other hand the Boxee Box and the Neotv 550 both look stellar. The Boxee in particular has an incredible amount of flexibility.Interface:
The old WDTVs/oplay/patriot interfaces had issues with speed. The menu system was not as responsive as it should have been. Accessing media via network shares often resulted in long waits to even access the drives. The Live Hub is extremely responsive. There are no long waits to access network shares on either of my routers. The customizable screen saver and backgrounds are terrific. The built-in network sharing and Itunes interface are ideal. The remotes interaction with the new interface is dramatically improved but it takes a little bit to get used to the new button placements. I really can't say enough about the new UI, it's worth the extra money even if you don't need the hard drive. It's actually making me hate the previous generation of devices.Hardware:
Where do I start? It looks way better than the old WDTV. It has a power button but I haven't seen it freeze once yet which is a feat in and of itself. It has 3 usb ports. THe gigabit network jack is largely useless at this point. I get 5MBps on 10/100 and those of you with Gigabit are only reporting 10MBps. The chipset isn't perfect but none of them are.New Competitors:
I am also looking forward to the Dlink Boxee Box and the Realtek NeoTV 550. I'll buy a Boxee Box for testing, it has me curious. With Boxee you have a single location for all streamed and local media but I live in Canada so streamed media is probably a couple of old Simpsons episodes. When you have hundreds of albums, dvds, blurays and photos it's just not a good idea. I heard Boxee is working on a fix for that so users can better manage their collections. No matter how good the Boxee is, it doesn't come with a terabyte in it. THe Realtek looks terrific from this early review but it's not out yet. http://havetheknowhow.com/Hardware-r...iew-page6.htmlConclusion:
The WDTV Live hub is ideal for the wives. Sure it may not bitstream but they don't give a **** about that anyway. It's easy to use and more reliable than anything else I've tried. For those of you that travel I think this may be the best portable high def porn collection a man could ever hope for. Just think: You can delete your bestiality porn collection from the work laptop! Bonus!Quick note to defend WD Development and support teams:
I'm tired of people blaming WD for changes in MKV encoding apps that result in no audio in DTS encoded MKV files. I am referring to DTS encoded files with header compression enabled. For the last 4 months the release groups have been using header compression and this caused issues with almost every streaming device out there (All wdtvs, PS3, xbox, oplay, patriot and I'm sure Popcorn hour too). WD has finally found a solid fix for this (2 days ago) and ALL network enabled WDTVs should be prompting you for the firmware update by now.
WDTV LIve 1.03.49:
What's in this update?
Release 1.03.49 (11/16/10)
Resolved HDMI negotiation issue found in previous firmware release.
Resolved HDMI auto resolution selection issue.
Resolved HDMI Video Output - 24Hz and 50Hz modes not working.
Resolved HDMI screen flicker issue.
Resolved playback issues related to mkvmerge. (Header Compressed MKVs + DTS)
Improved thumbnail caching.
Resolved MP4 problems with seeking and audio stopping.
Resolved MP4 poor frame-rate and audio out of sync.
Resolved File Share group name – No longer requires all group names to be the same. (Reset to factory defaults required)
Resolved various user interface translation issues.
Added Mediafly application.
Added DVD Navigation support.
Added .MOV chapter support.
Added wireless adaptor support for ASUS USB-N13.
Added security when mounting a network share on password protected local drives.
Resolved aspect ratio issues.
Resolved subtitle encoding for Big 5.
Resolved resume remembering previous audio selection.
Resolved IDX +_SUB positioning issue causing video freeze.
Resolved PGS subtitle becoming frozen while using the delay function.
Resolved Network share intermittent detection issue.
Resolved undetectable 4TB My Book.
Resolved large capacity video file (.ts) unable to play issue.
Resolved DVR-MS video stops when fast forward at 6x.
Resolved Buffalo G300N not enumerating.