Owned Apple TV since release, thinking of using something else

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by jcschlic, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. jcschlic macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2009
    Hello All,

    First off let me say I am a huge Apple TV fan! This thing is awesome and it has served me so well. I have a huge library of media (500 or so ripped/encoded movies, over 200 TV episodes, 20 gigs of music, tons of photos) the Apple TV has streamed efficiently over the years.

    But, I came across the Western Digital Live Plus media player and it's looking awfully tempting. If you're on this forum I'm sure you have an idea what it's capable of. I have graduated to MKV (blu-ray encodes) files (which the Apple TV doesn't support) and I am also salivating over the idea of Netflix streaming (unlimited which totally beats out iTunes rental cost).

    I realize that the overall interface/GUI of the WD device will not come close to what the Apple TV environment has given me, but I think I'm willing to give it a shot given it's expansive capabilities.

    My plan is to use it this way:

    -Netflix/Pandora streaming
    -Stream DVD/TV episode files through network
    -Directly connect through USB HD the MKV files

    I am going to hold on to my Apple TV while I try out the new WD device.

    Any thoughts on this? Has anyone in this forum section tried out the WD TV Live Plus?
  2. martin1000 macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2005
    Washington, D.C.
    Just a thought. I'm not sure if the WD device can play media purchased through iTUNES.
  3. poloponies Suspended

    May 3, 2010
    Netflix is nice, but they do restrict access to newer titles, so it's not a direct replacement for iTunes or other media rentals (even their "new" DVD releases on a lot of titles are delayed).

    Odds are still very good that something is going to happen on the ATV front in the coming months. And ATV Flash gives you a broader set of options on the current ATV.
  4. andymodem macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2008
    Baltimore, MD
    I have the WDTV Live. Don't really need the Plus version as my Blu Ray player streams Netflix. In a nutshell though, my WDTV has been worth every penny. The only annoying thing, is that it doesn't play Apple Lossless files. :(
  5. jcschlic thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2009
    OK so I bought the WDTV Live Plus on Friday and had some time to test it out over the weekend. Here are my impressions:

    1. Interface is clean, but doesn't come close to the Apple TV
    2. A few of my video files that I brought over from my Apple TV would not play. Over the course of owning the Apple TV, I've accumulated mp4 and m4v file types. I would assume a few of them are not playing on the WDTV Live Plus due to some weird Handbrake encoding thing that I have no control over now...this is not that big of a deal though because it's probably just a *few* files. Again, I don't know why this is happening but it is. Not a big deal as I really don't watch many of these DVD rips anymore surprisingly.
    3. Netflix streaming is GREAT on this...probably the thing I would use the most on a device like this.
    4. I can't comment on Blu-Ray rip MKV files yet, as I don't have them in my home yet (a buddy of mine is borrowing it at the moment), but I would assume that it behaves similarly to how my experience with mp4/m4v has been. However I would only directly attach (USB) the MKV drive to the unit, as streaming I'm sure doesn't work too well.
    5. When watching my mp4/m4v DVD encodes on my Apple TV, they include 5.1 audio (most of them do). But, I noticed on the WDTV Live Plus, the playback of these files only results in stereo sound (even with proper audio settings configured on the device)...so I'm not sure what's going on with that. Any ideas?
    6. The WDTV Live Plus automatically was found and mounted on my network, which was kinda cool. Network streams of mp4/m4v files works great too.
    7. No metadata for mp4/m4v files is displayed on the WDTV Live Plus, which sucks because I put so much work into tagging everything for the Apple TV.
    8. My Harmony 890 remote is having a hard time with a few commands which is really surprising to me. The WDTV Live Plus is a simple device, yet codes through the Harmony software don't seem to turn out configured properly out of the box.

    So all in all I'd say I'd give it a B-

    I think the reason I'm giving it a grade like that is because I ultimately feel let down by it's interface (fails on the wife factor - she could get used to it eventually I guess), issues it had with a few mp4/m4v file playback attempts (see above) as the Apple TV didn't have problems with any of those, and the 5.1 audio mix problems I mentioned above.

    I think that what is interesting is that although we have a fairly large and expansive collection of DVD rips/encodes, MKV files, and TV shows, my wife and I finding ourselves watching NEW content (which I think is why I'm so interested in Netflix streaming). BUT, I want the device to playback ALL my media just for the sake of knowing I can. Does that make sense? I want all these features in one device.

    Maybe I should just wait for the Boxee Box or the next Apple TV...thoughts?
  6. santangelo macrumors regular

    Apr 15, 2006
    just get a mac mini

    u will end up spending more in trying to find a new device!
  7. jcschlic thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2009

    Hmm, find used Mac Mini that will play back everything I want: $450-$550 maybe more (no return policy). Brand new mini: $700.


    Try out different devices that have every feature I want (return policies are the key here): $100-$200

    I just can't justify spending that much more on a Mac Mini. I don't think you should have to spend that much money on something like that. I look at all the media players as well as the Blu-Ray players out there right now and I think that there's got to be a good choice - I'm going to try out one of the entry level LG or Samsung Blu-Ray players.

    I don't understand how I will spend more in trying to find a new device.

    Can anyone comment on my audio issues I mentioned earlier? Why would Apple TV play Dolby Digital files and the WDTV Live Plus won't? Something in the encode?
  8. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I have an :apple:TV and a WDTV Live Plus (and I have tried several other media streamers in the past), and was considering getting the new Mac Mini to replace them. After much consideration and not wanting to shell out $700+ upfront I bought an Asrock ION 330HT box and installed XBMC Live this weekend. It was still more expensive than a WDTV Live (about $400) but it can run Linux or Win7, and runs XBMC Live (Linux) very well. I have it streaming from a 2TB disk attached to my iMac and it is working very well, but I only have DVD rips in video_ts folders (for now). I have Netflix on my LB blu-ray player and I like it much better than the WDTV version for performance (but the WDTV version lets me add movies to my queue without using my computer). If you want full movie information and a nice interface this might be an option; you can also do the same thing for much less using an Acer Revo (about $200), but it does not have a remote so you have to add an external IR, and also there is no DVD if this matters.

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