Is the WD TV Live easy to use?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by HarryPot, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. HarryPot macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2009
    I love the Apple TV, and I use it almost daily.

    But my parents aren't very good at the whole streaming thing. I need something more straightforward, and I was wondering if the WD Live is any good.

    I like how you don't need to stream, and can just connect a hard drive with movie via USB.

    But I'm doubtful about the interface. Is it any good? I don't particularly like the interface of the Apple TV, but at least it is easy on the eyes.

  2. l2pdrums macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2007
    I don't know about the WD tv live, but I have the WD tv live hub with 1TB of internal storage. Its easy to use since you don't have to stream anything. It shows up as a network drive on my computer so its easy send over new movies that i buy or convert.

    I personally like the interface. Easy to navigate once it is set up. The only thing that I don't like is the whole metadata issue where it doesn't use the metadata saved. You have to download the metadata individually using xml tags or something like that.

    I also love that you can just take it from room to room without having to connect it to the network.
  3. HarryPot thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2009
    So, all my neatly organized movies in iTunes, with artwork, metadata, etc., won't show up in WDTV with all the metadata?
  4. l2pdrums macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2007
    From my understanding, only the artwork shows up.
  5. Dhelsdon macrumors 65816


    Feb 5, 2010
    Canadian Eh!
    I have the WD TV Live,

    There are multiple viewing options, and as far as I know it doesn't show meta data but in certain views you can see the artwork if you chose to. I'll double check for you tonight though.

    I was impressed with the little box at first, but after only 4 months of daily use it tends not to recognize ANY media format and needs to be rebooted to work on a regular basis. Network shares are a pain to set up, and are NOT reliable on this box. I have experienced random crashes while browsing network shares from the box.

    Some good things about it are the ease of transferring media over the network, the multiple USB ports (haven't tried using a hub yet) and the very straight-forward GUI. It's easy to connect and operate for anyone.
  6. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
  7. macman05 macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2007
    Had a WDTV Live some years ago as my first media player and sold it one month later became I hated the user interface. I use an Apple TV 2 and love it. :)
  8. atandon macrumors member

    Mar 7, 2012

    It is S L O W ....
    Though I gotta admit that it probably is the most flexible when it comes to playing any content type
  9. Che Castro macrumors 603

    May 21, 2009
    It doesn't get easier than the apple tv what's the problem
  10. HarryPot thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2009
    I know, for me the Apple TV is perfect. But my parents have a hard time using the network thing. Even tho I always leave everything connected, sometime things go wrong and the movie stops playing, and hell breaks loose.

    Tho it seems the WDTV isn't that good, judging by the comments.

    Buy I also need to say that the Apple TV isn't the nicest experience. The UI for selecting movies is archaic. When you have more than 50 movies, going thru all of them is slow. A view like the one the iPad or iTunes present is much easier.
  11. MagnumJoe macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2008
    Hi HarryPot,
    I have both Apple TV and WD TV Live and I like both for different reasons. I've had them both for about 2 weeks. Both cost 99.00.

    1. Apple TV
    Pros: Much nicer interface, easy to set up iTunes has a wider selection of TV shows and Movies. Network share is simple it just works. By chance you have ripped movies all you have to do is move them to iTunes library, providing they are in the correct format.

    Cons: Doesn't work with USB drives. Only plays mp4 or m4v format you'll have to convert them or use Air Video Server and Client.

    2. WD TV Live
    Pros: Will play most formats such as AVI, Mpeg, Divx and Xvid, Mp4, M4v, MKV and so forth. Ability to plug in an USB drive and play video locally.

    Cons: Setup isn't as simple. Interface doesn't look as clean as Apples. Network sharing simply just doesn't work on a Mac. However, using Playback selecting Media Server works flawlessly and able to see your iTunes library as well.

    Conclusion, if your goal is to stream movies and ease of set up Apple TV is your best choice.

    If you don't care about streaming services, but interested in streaming movies locally, connecting a USB drive and watch your backed up movies, recored TV shows I doubt if there anything better that WD TV Live.

    I also have a TIVO Premier that helps feeling in the gaps.
  12. atandon macrumors member

    Mar 7, 2012
    I agree with your last point. Would have been nice if poster view (that is available in the "Movies" section) was available to the home share section. We probably have to wait for the jailbreak for this

    But even this archaic UI puts the WD UI to shame. Sure the UI has a poster view. But its a pain to scroll thru the different items. If only they could speed it up
  13. HarryPot thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2009
    That's what scares me about the WDTV, it seems to be very buggy.

    As for the Apple TV, I remember jail breaking it and installing XBMC. It was great. The interface was millions of times better than the default one by Apple. But having to jailbreak and not being able to update is a PITA.
  14. Rjshooter macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2012
    AppleTV 1

    Have you thought about picking up a second hand 1st gen Apple TV (the one with the hard disk)? Would seem to solve your problem... I have the 120gb version, and have recently upgraded to ATV 3. Personally, I prefer the original.
  15. Zetaprime macrumors 65816

    Dec 4, 2011
    Ohio, US
    I have one too..And I agree about the network shares being unreliable. Also the latest update made it so that when scrolling through a directory full of files the box will reboot. Very annoying. I also have an AppleTV since it has unique features like Airplay. Netflix is much nicer on the AppleTV than on the WDTV. Glad my TV has enough HDMI ports for all these devices.
  16. HarryPot thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2009
    How could I be so dumb!!!:eek:

    I have the original Apple TV somewhere in my house. I completely forgot about it.

  17. silguy macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2012
    I have the wd tv live plus. It plays 1080p stuff smooth and streams fine for me. There's a small firmware hack fora slight interface change or you can use tversity to stream. Other then those, it's just another streamer. I also have the patriot box which I really like. It plays pretty much anything you throw at it. Subtitles are easy to adjust and there are bunch of firmware hacks u can do. ATv has the most intuitive of them all and the best streamer IMHO. I like air pay and air video
  18. spcdust macrumors 6502a


    May 6, 2008
    London, UK
    I have the WD TV Live, along with Apple TV3 and absolutely love it. HOWEVER, I have custom firmware on mine and have to manually create movie information sheets, with artwork, on a PC.

    TBH the Apple TV is typically Apple in the fact it has a clean and intuitive user interface where as the WD TV Live requires a little more effort / knowledge to get the most out of it so not ideal for your parents. The upside of the WD TV Live is it just plays most file formats I throw at it flawlessly at full 1080p with DTS audio.
  19. torndownunit macrumors regular

    Jan 4, 2009

    I am doing some research and thought I'd address this point. The OP seems to have the same issue in that the network share does not 'just work'. Even with my hard wired to the router, it loses the connection to my computer all the time. I will work fine, then it will give the message that home sharing is not on (it is). Sometimes a restart will fix it, sometimes it won't. I jailbroke it installed Firecore's media player, which rarely every loses the connection.

    I have things set up so it's easy for my girlfriend who isn't very good with computers to use. Apple interface, with Firecore's media player has been the easiest solution for her to figure out by far. And since it's stays connected the best, I rarely have to set anything up for her. And, I can use whatever video file types I want with it.

    I got the WD Live box, and am impressed with what it can do. I set up SmbUp on my iMac with Lion, and it works great with it. And having the USB ports is fantastic. Out of the box is plays pretty much anything. But, the UI just isn't as easy to use at the ATV2, so I end up going back to it for her to use. Another con is that it's really flimsily built. When you pick up an ATV2, it feels solid. The WD Live box is just a flimsy plastic shell.
  20. pheenix11 macrumors regular

    Jul 13, 2010
    I had a WD TV Live Plus. Great box, plays everything but the interface sucks compared to the Apple TV. Especially the Netflix interface, it's atrocious.

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