WD TV or ATV1 for Local Video Playback - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-29-2013, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been browsing this forum and a few others for a little while now reading about devices like the Apple TV and I'm having some trouble deciding which one would be best for me. If anyone here could help me in my decision it would be greatly appreciated.

I've pretty much narrowed it down to the Apple TV (first gen) or the WD TV. I've chosen these two because they both have the ability to play my files from an external HD. I currently have a PS3 and am using it to play most of the movies I have saved to my computer. I've been transferring them to a thumb drive and playing them that way. The issue with this is that the PS3 can only read hard drives in the FAT32 format which has a 4GB limit. I've been using streaming programs like TVersity and PS3 Media Server to play larger files, but I'm not satisfied with the playback. I much prefer the connivence of local playback. So, I'm looking for something that l can hook a HD up to and play movies of any size and, preferably, any format.

I'm currently leaning towards purchasing a used first gen Apple TV and jailbreaking it. As I understand it this will allow me to put most file types on its local HD or hook my own up to it and play them that way. I can also install a Broadcom Crystal HD card as well and play 1080P videos. I was leaning towards this over the WD TV because I thought the user interface looked a little nicer and seemed to operate smoother from what I'd read. It's certainly a lot more work, but I was thinking it would be worth it. Has anyone tried both these devices and can give me some opinions on the pros and cons of each? Which would be better to accomplish what I've described? Is there another device I should be looking into?

I've also looked a little bit at the LaCie LaCinema, but there isn't a ton of information available on them and the $200 price tag has me shying away. For 2TB of storage I think it's a fair price, but it might be cumbersome to upload files to it and that's a considerably larger amount of storage than I realistically need.

Any advice would really be appreciated. I've been weighing my choices for about a month or so and have almost fully committed to the ATV, but thought I should get some opinions first.

Thanks
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-30-2013, 12:51 AM
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ATV can only play up to 720p. I've never use an ATV due to the lack of video and audio format support unless you jailbreak them. However, if you are familiar with the iOS ecosystem, and you know it is going to work for you then I would suggest to go for it. I've used the WDTV before, and it isn't a bad unit. However, the UI is slow. The WDTV has been getting slow from its last 2 updates, but it does play DVD ISO's, M2TS, MKV files that I've got in my server. It doesn't play Dolby True HD, but I think it can play DTSMA.

I would suggest to take a look as Mede8er media players. They are probably the best inexpensive media player out there. There are others that are cheaper, but Mede8er have excellent support. However, they do cost more than $100 dollars.

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post #3 of 6 Old 01-30-2013, 02:48 AM
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The ATV1 is way out of date, if your looking for something that runs XBMC the Pivos XIOS DS box is what your after and is similar to an AppleTV running XBMC except it doesn't need any hacks or hardware mods, it also has better media support than the ATV.

If your looking for something with an internal HDD the WDTV Live Hub is worth a look or the Mede8er players but they don't run XBMC.
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post #4 of 6 Old 01-30-2013, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. I hadn't really heard of the Mede8er players before so I'm checking those out now. It might be more than I want to spend, but if I really like what I hear about them I wouldn't have a problem spending the extra money on a nicer item. However, I was leaning towards something fairly simplistic. I'm just looking to store a few movies and be able to easily navigate them from a HD and play them on my TV. So, some of the extra features available on those may be wasted on me.

Is the WD TV's slow interface enough to make the ATV worth the extra effort of jailbreaking and potentially installing an HD card in? I have an iPhone and a couple Mac computers, but I store all my media on a PC. I'm not determined to buy something within the Apple ecosystem because I don't think it would really be of any benefit to me since I'm just looking for local playback. I am familiar with a few of their products though, which is why I'm thinking I may prefer its UI to other devices. If the WD TV's interface won't become frustrating I'd probably be just as happy with it.
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post #5 of 6 Old 01-30-2013, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jef costello View Post

Thanks for the replies. I hadn't really heard of the Mede8er players before so I'm checking those out now. It might be more than I want to spend, but if I really like what I hear about them I wouldn't have a problem spending the extra money on a nicer item. However, I was leaning towards something fairly simplistic. I'm just looking to store a few movies and be able to easily navigate them from a HD and play them on my TV. So, some of the extra features available on those may be wasted on me.

Is the WD TV's slow interface enough to make the ATV worth the extra effort of jailbreaking and potentially installing an HD card in? I have an iPhone and a couple Mac computers, but I store all my media on a PC. I'm not determined to buy something within the Apple ecosystem because I don't think it would really be of any benefit to me since I'm just looking for local playback. I am familiar with a few of their products though, which is why I'm thinking I may prefer its UI to other devices. If the WD TV's interface won't become frustrating I'd probably be just as happy with it.

To me it is frustrating since I am comparing it to Dune and PCH. However, I gave it to my parents and they don't really mind. They like it because they can use netflix, Pandora, and if they come over and want to borrow a movie or two I can load them on a flash drive for them so they can watch it at their house. So, for $90 dollars it isn't a bad media player.

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post #6 of 6 Old 02-01-2013, 04:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jef costello View Post

Thanks for the replies. I hadn't really heard of the Mede8er players before so I'm checking those out now. It might be more than I want to spend, but if I really like what I hear about them I wouldn't have a problem spending the extra money on a nicer item. However, I was leaning towards something fairly simplistic. I'm just looking to store a few movies and be able to easily navigate them from a HD and play them on my TV. So, some of the extra features available on those may be wasted on me.

Is the WD TV's slow interface enough to make the ATV worth the extra effort of jailbreaking and potentially installing an HD card in? I have an iPhone and a couple Mac computers, but I store all my media on a PC. I'm not determined to buy something within the Apple ecosystem because I don't think it would really be of any benefit to me since I'm just looking for local playback. I am familiar with a few of their products though, which is why I'm thinking I may prefer its UI to other devices. If the WD TV's interface won't become frustrating I'd probably be just as happy with it.

The Pivos XIOS running XBMC with Quartz (ATV style skin) will effectively give you something like an AppleTV but able to play the media an ATV cannot. Also the Quartz skin runs at 60fps on the XIOS so it's very responsive and not at all slow.

You will however have to use a USB hard drive with the XIOS or use a network source, there is some work underway to get file sharing operational on USB drives attached the XIOS but nothing thats easy for regular users to get going so far. To get XBMC on the XIOS you simply install the linux/xbmc firmware on the box, however this is still beta so you can run into issues for example wmv is broken at the moment but it is being worked on. You also get to talk to the developers directly unlike many other devices, if you have an issue they usually respond.
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