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Western Digital WD TV Live 2011 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £80
inc VAT

A big improvement on the outgoing version, yet for the same low price. It's a worthy award winner

The original Western Digital WD TV Live was a great media streamer (we gave it a Best Buy award when it was launched two years ago), but the new version, which bears the same name, is even better.

Western Digital WD TV Live 2011

The box is slimmer, squarer and small enough to easily hide away near your TV. Crucially, it now has built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi, so there’s no need to run a network cable to your router or use HomePlug adaptors. There’s now a front USB port, so it’s easy to play files from a flash drive, but there have also been upgrades internally.

The new processor, along with 512MB of RAM means the box can run WD’s new Mochi interface. We first saw this on the WD TV Live Hub and liked its intuitive, good-looking menus. It’s not quite as good as the Apple TV‘s interface, but it comes close.

WD TV Live Hub menu

We also like the new remote control, which sits nicely in the hand. Our only gripe is with the tall, rubbery buttons which are needlessly difficult to press. Still, it’s easy enough to use a learning remote, such as One-For-All or Logitech’s ranges, if you really can’t get on with it.

Western Digital WD TV Live 2011 remote

As well as being able to play local content and files stored on your home network, the Live also has a variety of internet services. For video, there’s YouTube, plus a second app which lets you access YouTube videos via Western Digital’s own interface. There’s also Dailymotion, Flingo and Mediafly. Audio services include Spotify, Deezer and several others for accessing internet radio. Naturally, the box also supports photos, with the online service being Google Picasa. Unfortunately, there’s no UK catch-up TV, but BBC iPlayer could be added in the near future.

It isn’t easy using the on-screen keyboard to search for videos, radio stations and music tracks but, fortunately, USB keyboards are supported. We hope that WD will release an app for controlling the Live from your iOS, Windows Phone or Android device. The iOS Remote app is one of the reason why Apple’s TV such a joy to use.

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Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Media Streamer type streaming multimedia receiver

Audio Compatibility

Audio MP3 playback Yes
Audio WMA playback Yes
Audio WMA-DRM playback No
Audio AAC playback Yes
Audio Protected AAC playback No
Audio OGG playback Yes
Audio WAV playback Yes
Audio Audible playback No
Other audio formats FLAC, MKA, AIF

Video Compatibility

Other video formats MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, APC, H.264, x.264, AVC, VC-1, Xvid

Image Compatibility

Image BMP support Yes
Image JPEG support Yes
Image TIFF support Yes

Network Interfaces

Wired network ports 1x 10/100
Wireless networking support Yes

AV Interfaces

Minijack line outputs 0
Minijack headphone outputs 0
Stereo phono outputs 0
Coaxial S/PDIF outputs 0
Optical S/PDIF outputs 1
Total SCART sockets 0
HDMI outputs 1
Component outputs 0
S-video output 0
Composite outputs 1
Other connectors 1x USB


Size 30x125x100mm
Power consumption standby 6W
Power consumption on 6W

Server Compatibility

Software included none
UPnP Yes
iTunes No
SlimServer No

Buying Information

Price £80
Warranty one year RTB

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