The Western Digital WD TV Live is a new version of the previously reviewed computers on your home network. Thankfully, the addition of this massive new feature hasn't added to the price significantly, as this device retails at a very reasonable £100 or so.media streamer. It's got one major addition, though: the ability to communicate with
While products like the cost about £200 in the UK, the WD TV Live can be found online for less than £100. We aren't pretending that the WD TV Live is quite as flexible, though. It lacks much of the A-110's Internet functionality, for example, although it can play YouTube videos, which is quite a popular feature and one that works very well in this case.
Design-wise, the WD TV Live is remarkable compared with any other networked media streamer. It's so petite that it almost defies belief. The good news, however, is that, despite its size, it has the performance and connectivity of a much larger machine.
As you'd imagine, there's a 1080p-capable HDMI output and a network connection. Because the network port takes up a big chunk of space, the composite video and RCA audio sockets have been removed. The good news, however, is that, while the RCA jacks have gone, a pair of 3.5mm mini sockets replace them. One jack handles standard-definition video and audio, and the other handles component RGB video. The optical audio output remains unchanged from the WD TV's, as do the rear and right-hand-side USB sockets.
Adding the WD TV Live to your network is no trouble at all. The whole process is designed to be as simple as possible. We found that, within seconds, the WD TV Live had obtained an IP address over DHCP and was able to see other computers on our network.
But we started to have problems when trying to get video from a computer on a network containing numerous PCs. While the WD TV Live was able to see our machine, we couldn't connect to its shares, even with the right username and password. We were, however, able to use Windows Media Player to share our video, music and photos, and watch them on the WD TV Live. For most people, this is probably the way they will opt to access their video anyway. Do be aware, though, that, if you're using Windows Media Player to share, it will only send video it can understand. This means that, with certain versions of Windows, you won't be able to send MKV video to the machine -- a problem we encountered ourselves.