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Testing the WD TV Play January 2, 2014

Posted by Steven in gadgets.
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WD-Live-Composition2

Next moves in my quest to find the perfect home-theater: I found a deal for the WD TV Play. I know this will most likely not be the “perfect” solution for a full home-theater. But the way I see it: The device seems to be a simple player capable of playing most current video standards. It seems perfect for equipping your simple bedroom HDTV and playing back your downloaded shows (h.264) or quickly playing a dailymotion clip or streaming via maxdome and netflix.

I have ordered a unit and also dug up the owner’s manual. I will post a full review here soon. The quick validation for my purchase decision came from comparing my original favorite the WD TV Live with this unit. The quick table only tells half the story:

simple-table-wd-tv-comparison

There the main point seems to be the missing MPEG2 video playback and the missing DTS audio capabilities. Well I don’t use MPEG2 very much and with DTS the WD TV Play seems at least able to pass it through (alternatively for the quick bedroom blockbuster you may quickly opt to transcode it using handbrake for example).

Nevertheless I wanted to know all the details about this cheap box and I dug around. Here is what I found in quite some useful WD forum threads:

  • Western Digital TV Play (European Model Number WDBHZM0000NBK – EESN)
  • WD Spec. Sheet…
  • Cheap entry point media player – mainly aimed at streaming (Netflix, maxdome etc.)
  • Chipset used: MediaTek ARM MT8653
  • This means the Play has the same main hardware as the Netgear NeoTV Max | So it may be interesting to check the large list of files the TV Max can play back…
  • Seemingly this hardware supports the playback of MPEG2 – Western Digital may have decided to leave this feature out due to licensing issues
  • Full HD 1080p supported
  • Wireless Wi-Fi 802.11n technology
  • DLNA streaming
  • Here is once again a list of extra features that only the WD TV Live (which is more or less considered full feature) has:
    • Support for MPEG2
    • Support for full DVD
    • Support for DTS (The Live can decode it, the Play can only pass through.)
    • Support for NFS and Samba network shares (Samba is available in BOTH directions, client and server mode)
    • Media Library for content aggragation across multiple sources (USB, Network Shares from multiple servers, etc.) – adds SEARCH / Sort / Filtering / etc.
    • Custom Themes, which opens the door to custom movie sheets
    • Content Information Display in Gallery View.

Seems no deal breaker for me. What would be interesting as well would be the power consumption – I will report back with my experiences.

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