Western Digital WD TV Live Hub Review

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News Posted: Tue, Dec 28 2010 11:42 AM

Western Digital WD TV Live Hub ReviewWestern Digital's WD TV Live Hub, which is what we're looking at today, is the company's fourth generation media streamer, and it's the most fully functional to date. Unlike the previous generation WD TV Live Plus, as well those that came out before it, this latest iteration adds several welcome additions, including a built-in 1TB hard drive, a built-in media server to stream content to multiple rooms, and more apps than before, including the ability to download movies and TV shows from Blockbuster On Demand...

Western Digital WD TV Live Hub Review

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3vi1 replied on Tue, Dec 28 2010 12:01 PM

Great review, and cool little box.

>> It's clear that Western Digital put a lot of effort into making sure its latest media set-top box would integrate seamlessly into just about any home theater/network setup (sans Linux).

That last little "sans" confuses me.  This thing is running Linux (which is why you can freely download the GPL'd source code here, and there are communities that make custom firmwares adding things like torrent clients and Shoutcast support).  Hmmm... wonder how well it would perform if I installed MAME.

Linux integrates with everything.  Big Smile

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That comment's based on Western Digital's list of supported platforms, which includes Windows and Mac -- plug it in and you're ready to go as soon as you hit the power button. We didn't test it with a home network built around Linux, and it may work just as well there too, but WD only lists Windows and Mac.

You'll also find that this newest box is less hacker-friendly than previous WD TV Live models, which is a bummer but not a deal breaker.

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3vi1 replied on Tue, Dec 28 2010 1:50 PM

Ah, I see. Well, it should work fine in a Linux-centric environment. I can't see it not talking to another Linux box also running TwonkyServer, or refusing to let you manage it from a web browser.

I'll bet I can guess why it's less hacker-friendly: NetFlix, right? Somehow I don't see the protection on this device working long against motivated Linux hackers with access to the hardware. If NetFlix would simply release a non-proprietary-Silverlight-only-DRMd client, they'd make life a lot easier for consumers.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?


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rapid1 replied on Wed, Dec 29 2010 11:44 AM

"Western Digital warns that you won't be able to play "protected premium content such as movies or music from the iTunes Store, Cinema Now, Movielink, Amazon Unbox, and Vongo,", That is unless you hook it to your HTPC  (which no I do not have yet personally, but theoretically) , and crack those drm etc  protection codex's which of course there are free tools all over the place to do so with, and no matter the format.

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acarzt replied on Wed, Dec 29 2010 5:20 PM

No wifi is a bit of a deal breaker for me.

Also I heard a rumor that these (western digital) things can play DVD iso's... Can anyone confirm?

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I still dont see the point of all that bloat tech! Like 3vi1 said it is built for nextflix so they can control content. It would be more practical if they set it up to connect to your home wireless net work so you can stream from the computer.

It still makes more sense to just get one that is a media player only. I dont think I will ever need everything (including my toilet) to be connected for netflix purposes:P

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