Western Digital has become a noted player in the media streamer market over the last two years. Instead of resting on the laurels received for the WDTV, they have continued to introduce new products periodically. Their flagship product lineup started with the WDTV. Introduced in November 2008, it used Sigma Designs 8635. The second generation (2G) product (WDTV Live) added a 100 Mbps wired ethernet port. It used the next generation Sigma chipset, SMP 8655. By then, Netflix became an indispensable requirement for media streamers in the US market. This led WD to introduce the WDTV Live Plus, a 2.5G product which used the Macrovision enabled SMP 8654. The Netflix feature was incidentally enabled with a firmware update by Seagate in their FreeAgent Theater lineup. This caused consternation amongst many WDTV Live users. Despite this, WD continues to enjoy a good standing in this market.

Today, Western Digital is introducing their 3G flagship product, the WDTV Live Hub. Priced at US $199.99, the product builds upon the features of their existing flagship product, the WDTV Live Plus. The new features in the WDTV Live Hub include

  1. 1 TB 2.5" internal hard drive
  2. HDMI 1.4
  3. Wired Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) interface
  4. Media Server capabilities
  5. Improved user interface and UI framework
  6. Support for Blockbuster On Demand (rental and purchase)
  7. Remote control over a HTTP interface
  8. Support for scraping / cover art (media library information) download without the need for a PC

Ever since Western Digital started introducing products in the media streamer space, we were puzzled as to why no specific features were designed in to enable easier usage of WD hard disks (similar to what Seagate does in its lineup). With this product, WD manages to fix up that issue by integrating a non-user serviceable hard disk inside. The other features (such as support for HDMI 1.4 and GbE) are evolutionary in nature, and as per market expectations. With these new features in mind, let us proceed with the rest of the review.

Unboxing Impressions
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  • fingaz - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link

    Would love to know both of these things too. Also would be eternally grateful for a screenshot or two of a sample movie sheet!
  • virtual_one - Saturday, November 6, 2010 - link

    Does WD Live Hub really have remote control over HTTP or DLNA? I can not find any possibility to drive this media-center via those interfaces..

    Thank you
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    Yes, there is a remote control over HTTP. You can find details in the product user guide available on the WD website.
  • Kitno - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link


    In the LiveHub test the7th stream that did not succesfully played was the Panasonic 1080/60p stream.

    Since you test for this, does that mean that there are players out there that play these streams?


  • ganeshts - Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - link

    It plays back fine on most HTPCs. We will have to dig up our other streamer reviews to see if someone else was able to play it back properly. In any case, I think it is more of firmware issue with WD and the chip itself should be capable of playing it back without problems.
  • Kitno - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    I have the PCH A200 and it can't deal with the 1080/60p stream.
    I saw the Nixeus Fusion HD and in the specs it says 1080/60p.

    But it seems only available in the US.

    On a HTPC is is indeed no problem.

    I am not sure it is just a firmware issue. 1080/60p is double the information.


  • Markomaani - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link


    I was thinking of buying this but now it doesn't sound that good anymore :/
    If I don't get this what would be better choice in this price category?
    I don't need to hard drive so it can be one without a hard drive.
    The wifi would be plus but not all has that either.

  • obxman69 - Sunday, December 5, 2010 - link

    does this unit have any parental controls to keep kids off of Facebook for example?

  • michsxx - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link


    I'm new and I want to just say Hello.

    My nick is: http://www.25mbits.com">michsxx

    I hope to write many of posts in this forum...

    If it's wrong thread to say Hello, please move to correct one.
  • zickk - Thursday, January 13, 2011 - link

    Hello, is there a way of opening the remote control?
    i have some buttons that are not working.

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