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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  • ram1009 - Monday, January 17, 2011 - link

    The first thing I did when I hooked up this unit was to upgrade the firmware. Following some connectivity issues I tries to play some VOB files over my WIRED connection and had choppy playback. After many days of forum research with some senior people there seemed no answer until I rolled the firmware back to default settings. The problem disappeared immediately and has not recurred. If you get one of these don't upgrade the firmware. You've been warned.
  • pshen7 - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    The LiveHub with the internal 1TB HDD is cheaper than a Live+ and a 1TB Passport. It's a potent unit at it's price point.

    Something I didn't note before: the WDTV Live Hub can share media to the Live+, both the internal HDD and USB devices that are plugged into it.
    You can even have both units play the same file at the same time.

    Peter Shen, founder Koowie.com
  • anand_s63 - Thursday, June 9, 2011 - link

    as i opened the boxed wd tv media hub some four hours ago i was apalled by the insensitivity of the western digital people. first of all the power plug supplied was not of india specification which it should have been while they sell the product here. i ran back to the market spent time searching and got one. as i started the device i found the remote was faulty. the down scroll, numbers 5,7 9 were not responding and didnt work. i had to use my smart phone to setup the network. when i tried to dicover the device with the wd discovery software it did not discover any thing. than i had to search the device through the network folder and than i was able to u/l some pics and videos to the device. it works excellent all i hope that they could be a little sensitive and thoughtful with this very good product.

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