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Western Digital WD TV Live Hub review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £152
inc VAT

The built-in hard disk might not be ideal for everyone, but either way it’s still an incredible media player, with gorgeous menus and a sleek appearance.


The main menu is horizontal scrolling bar at the bottom of the screen, leaving the rest free to display wallpaper of your choice (some very attractive landscapes are included to pick from or you can use your own photo). The video music and photo selections inform you how many new files have been synced to the device.

You can browse all your photos by date, filename or rating, or simply navigate by folder. You get 12 thumbnails on screen, and there’s plenty of slideshow options. Music can be browsed by album, track, genre and artist; plus there’s support for numerous playlist formats. You get 12 album thumbnails onscreen at once.

WD TV Live Hub menu

Video playback support is comprehensive, with all the codecs, containers and subtitling options you could want. You can scan through footage at up to 16x speed, or skip to a desired time by entering it numerically. Resume playback is supported, and files get a little icon to show this is available (also great for reminding you which episode you’re on). We had no complaints with quality, from standard definition home movies up to 1080p Blu-ray quality footage.

The 1TB hard disk isn’t huge by modern desktop standards, but it’s a lot bigger than many laptop disks. It’ll hold a lot of media files: even if you have 100GB of music (around 3,000 albums) and 50GB of images (about 12,500 photos), that would still leave 850GB for video (around 85 HD feature films, or almost ten times that number in standard definition).

You can access Facebook using the Live Hub – it looks great and works well. You can browse through photos, check up on your friends, and add status updates. The Live Hub supports USB keyboards for the latter, though navigation involves switching back and forth between the keyboard and the remote, as the backspace button doesn’t always mimic the remote’s back button. Speaking of the remote, it’s an excellent design, with a moulded rubbery underside and clearly labelled controls.

Other services include Flickr for photos, for internet radio, and of course YouTube. All these are navigated using the same horizontal-scrolling menu system, which was responsive. There’s all the options you‘d expect, so you can login and mark favourites, search for content or browse top-rated picks – the only real downside is a lack of HD support in YouTube.

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Basic Specifications

Rating *****
Media Streamer type hard disk streaming multimedia device

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, AIFF

Video Compatibility

Other video formats MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264, WMV9, XVID, DIVX, VC-1

Image Compatibility

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

Network Interfaces

Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support Yes

AV Interfaces

Minijack line outputs 0
Minijack headphone outputs 0
Stereo phono outputs 1
Coaxial S/PDIF outputs 0
Optical S/PDIF outputs 1
Total SCART sockets 0
HDMI outputs 1
Component outputs 1
S-video output 0
Composite outputs 1
Other connectors 2x USB


Size 32x198x100mm
Power consumption standby 8W
Power consumption on 11W

Server Compatibility

Software included none
UPnP Yes
iTunes No
SlimServer No

Buying Information

Price £152
Warranty one year RTB

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