Originally Posted by WDFan1970
The hardware is different (different chipset and more memory).
The O/S is entirely different. It's the same UI used on the Hub, but vastly improved over the original Live / Live+:
* ... Support for online apps is much larger. There's somewhere near 2-dozen online services.
* ... Supports NFS connectivity.
* ... Supports NAS Media Library compilation.
* ... Themes / Skins / UI Customization are officially supported. (Though not terribly well documented.)
* ... USB Hubs are supported.
etc. etc. etc. .. given the amount of inbuilt support, there's really no point in "hacks..."
But that's a religious debate.
There's really no similarities between the 1st Generation & 2nd Generation of WD players other than that they're both WD Media Players...
I've been a WDTV Live owner for just over two years. I have utilized WDLXTV firmware from the beginning because it offered significantly more features (that I actually use) when compared with the stock firmware. I like and use these features from the custom firmware (that are not present in the stock WD firmware):
Vastly improved stability
DVD and BD full menu and ISO support
Fixes to WD's broken autores
Subtitle position & size changes
NFS & network shares fixes
USB optical drive support
Vastly greater filetype support
USB hub support (powered and passive)
Wireless keyboard support
Webserver for remote access & manipulation
Additional file/folder view options
IRC (eggdrop and cached dircproxy-like functionality)
Youtube HD (though rarely, mostly only for 1080p movie trailers...)
Drive encryption (with additional work done by the user)
Customizable themes and widgets/apps (through app.bin, WDTVext, and others)
Vastly improved (and much more stable) NAS streaming & content scraping support
Full power-down option (not just standby)
Ability to stream from one WDLXTV device to another!
Lower memory usage than stock, making the menu functions more responsive
The point is, I utilized a ton of the functionality of the WDLXTV software. I even donated $25 to the cause. However, I am not at all married to it. If I could get better functionality with another product or firmware, I'd do it. I really don't do a lot of internet meme chasing or streaming. But I have a lot of local content that I want to be able to access off the main device's multiple usb hub-connected WD 2TB Green drives.
Anyway, I was looking to upgrade to a MLB.TV capable device, and saw a decent deal for a new Live Streaming for $80 after tax a couple of weeks ago. I thought, hrm, with all the new built-in functionality, no need for an external wireless USB device, perhaps I won't miss the fact that the entire firmware (not just paid content's routines) is encrypted. Well, I received the device and have been playing with it, and I'm sorry to say it's not at all right for me.
The first thing I did was update the firmware to 1.07.15 or whatever the latest is. That was a fairly seamless process, and took about 20 minutes from start to finish.
While updating the firmware, I tried to reprogram my Harmony remote to the WDTV Live Streaming's new remote. Much to my chagrin, the Live Streaming is not in the Harmony database, and the 6 months of Harmony & WD community forum posts asking for support have gone unanswered. There's enough difference in the Live and Live Streaming devices' remotes that it's not something you want to be without. This becomes especially important when searching for content, as the new device's remote has a number pad keyboard. Trying to program this into the Harmony remote (even though it has the same keyboard, everything has to be remapped to match the Live Streaming remote's frequencies) was terrible, and I finally gave up after 45 minutes.
After resigning myself to using the WDTV's remote, I moved on to playback of some content. The WDTV Live Streaming couldn't understand that I already had XML files, folder.jpg, and moviesheets setup on the locally-attached USB HDDs. It took 114 minutes to scrape my drives for video content (almost exclusively movies, and not that many of them) the first time I tried to access the "Video" tab. The device couldn't be used during that time, as it claimed there was no media content in that folder, or some such. I could live with that, though, as I had other stuff to do.
When it did become usable, I went straight to Scubasteve's demo discs, from which I've taken the m2ts files. I tried playing the Pearl Harbor demo, and the device promptly froze. After waiting five minutes, I had to pull the power plug from the back to get it to shutdown - the remote's "long power press" did nothing. After waiting a full 30 seconds, I plugged it back in. Once powered back on, I went back to the Videos tab and, strangely, the device no longer recognized my USB drives. It claimed there was no content on "local storage" and actually removed that from the list of content options... So, I power cycled the device with the remote, and chose the Videos tab again. Still no local drives.
I navigated to the Music tab, and it started scraping the local drives that it claimed it couldn't see for Video content... I waited another 67 minutes for the device to find all of the content. Again, it didn't seem to understand my folder.jpg or cover.jpg in each album's folder. Here, though, was a worse problem - the display options for browsing music content does not allow me to go through folder hierarchies. In my music collection, I have one folder full of singles, and I have another folder with entire albums, each in their own folder. Plus, I have various other folders for test tones and other things. Anyway, instead of allowing me to navigate these folders as in a typical OS environment, the WDTV Live Streaming media scraper dumped ALL of the music into "one easy-to-view menu," and no manipulation of the system options or the view options allowed me to navigate like you would on a typical Linux filesystem.
Whatever, I'm sure I could get used to this...maybe. I went to play some DTS 5.1 Wav files, and the player once again locked up. I had to go through the same routine as before with the m2ts file lockup. Once I got back to the WDTV menu, the device again had forgotten my USB-connected drives in the Music content options, but had found it again in the Video tab... At this point I was pretty frustrated.
I went on, over the course of the next several days, to try the DVD and BD menu and iso support. The player locked up several times, again on filetypes that the WDTV Live Gen 1 device could handle just fine, and was unable to change the position of subtitles, and intermittently unable to change the audio track, from the menus of direct-ripped DVDs and BDs. Further, there are multiple filetypes it simply won't play. RMVB videos (an extremely common filetype for non-copyrighted anime) are one example.
I tried some of the streaming options but really found that I simply don't use most of the stuff that wasn't already capable with the WDLXTV firmware, and I'm not going to pay to access that content which is new. I just generally don't do a whole lot of streaming external content, although I do stream from one WDTV Live to another...which I couldn't do with the WDTV Live Streaming and a separate WDTV Live (with WDLXTV). Also, the Live Streaming does not do Youtube HD...
The last straw for me, however, was the limitation of the WDTV Live Streaming to Samba network transfers. WD uses a very old version of Samba that is exceedingly slow. Compared to FTP transfers on the WDTV Live, the Streaming Samba transfers of the same files are 6-7 times slower across my Wireless N network. We're talking about a maximum of 1MB/s via Samba, as compared with 6-7MB/s transfers via FTP in WDLXTV. When considering 25GB+ BD isos, this is a dealbreaker.
I did speak with the WD technical support about these issues on four separate occasions, with no resolution. They do not think it is an issue with my player alone - most of these problems they verified are firmware-specific and unresolved. Many of these issues are things that have been requested of WD to fix for going on four years, since the first WDTV player was released. One of these issues is passing DTS-MA to the receiver. Though not a deal-breaker, the WDTV family cannot do it, while other (cheaper) devices based on the same Sigma chipset can - thus, we know it's not a licensing issue as WD claims.
All things considered, the new WDTV Live Streaming is buggy, slow, and uncustomizable enough to prevent me from keeping it. It is a significant downgrade compared to the WDTV Live and Live+ with WDLXTV, unless you have to have Hulu and other streaming services support. Those streaming options don't do anything for me, aside from the MLB.TV support. The myriad of additional features of the WDLXTV-capable WDTV Live and Live+ are things I came to rely upon, and I just can't see living without them. Why WD didn't keep the non-subscription portions of the Live Streaming firmware unencrypted, allowing modding, is unknown to me. The fact that six months after release and there's no Harmony database support for the remote is very troubling, too.
I'll be returning this Live Streaming device and paying $30 less for a refurbished (which is always like-new, in my experience) Live+. I can continue to watch MLB.TV on my portable devices, most of which I can connect to the TV through HDMI anyway if I want to watch them on the big screen!