Review: Western Digital TV Live Hub


By M.R. Gavin

Transferring files from the computer to the media center was a tedious process with the first-generation media players sold in the market a few years ago. We barely touched the media player my dad brought home because it was such a hassle to transfer files. We were all too contented with watching directly from the internet. But all that has changed with my encounter with the Western Digital TV Live hub.

I love the minimal design of the Western Digital TV Live Hub. Its rounded edges made it distinctly classy and masculine at the same time. Situated in the device’s front fascia are the on/off button and one USB port. The back is packed with all kinds of ports to answer your media connection needs. There are 3 ports for component and another 3 for composite A/V, an HDMI 1.4 port and a backup USB port.

Setting it up is as easy as 1-2-3. It’s just a matter of connecting it to the television and the Ethernet. Immediately after connecting it, I got access to the hub’s applications such as NetFlix, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Pandora, Live35, Mediafly, Blockbuster on demand and Accuweather. You really don’t need a manual to set this up. It is definitely user friendly that you can work your way through the whole entire setup process with nary a sweat.

Memory space won’t be a problem here as the WD TV Live hub can support 1TB of files. That is worth 200,000 photos or 76 hours of videos or even 250,000 songs!

You can transfer files from a USB, hard drive or directly through your home network. I downloaded an application from Western Digital to be able to connect my home network with the media center. I linked this via Ethernet because WiFi here remains slow and lagging, especially when transferring huge and multiple files. After having the application ready, it’s as easy as dragging and dropping the files from the home network to the Live hub.

The media player helps you categorize your files—whether it’s a movie, music or photo. When you connect a storage device to the Live Hub, it will ven automatically prompt you to sync the files. No worries about file format because the Live Hub supports almost all kinds of formats possible.

You can also connect your video or digital camera to transfer the files directly to the media center without having to install any driver. Connectivity is not a problem—you can connect the Live Hub to other devices such as your smartphone or tablet by downloading an app that can enable you to transfer files.

What I love most about this media player is that it has access to my favorite social networking sites. For those who just can’t get away from their Facebook friends, it’s nice to be able to access your account right in the comfort of your living room. Facebook lurking just got bigger, literally.

The WD TV Live hub should be your go-to media player. It can answer all your needs when it comes to media demands and the once crazy dream of having internet-enabled television just became a reality.

Video Support: AVI (Xvid, AVC, MPEG1/2/4), MPG/MPEG, VOB, MKV (h.264, x.264, AVC, MPEG1/2/4, VC-1), TS/TP/M2T (MPEG1/2/4, AVC, VC-1), MP4/MOV (MPEG4, h.264), M2TS, WMV9, FLV (h.264)
Image Support: JPEG, GIF, TIF/TIFF, BMP, PNG
Audio Support: MP3, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA, AAC, FLAC, MKA, AIF/AIFF, OGG, Dolby Digital, DTS
Playlist Support: PLS, M3U, WPL
Subtitle Support: SRT, ASS, SSA, SUB, SMI
Interface: Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0, HDMI, Composite A/V, Component video, Optical audio
Memory: 1TB
Dimensions: 32mm x 198mm x 154mm

What’s Hot:
 • 1TB memory
• Supports almost all audio and video formats
• Internet enabled

What’s Not:
 • Slow transfer of files
• No built in WiFi

The WD Live hub is the ultimate media player for movie buffs. You won’t miss another show ever again.

Buy Meter: 9.2

[This review originally appeared in the August 2011 issue of Gadgets Magazine]