I recently purchased the WDTV by Western Digital and I have to say that it is a great deal for the $99.99 purchase price that Best Buy and Best Buy.com are currently offering.
Western Digital has come up with a simple solution for taking your digital media from your USB hard drive and playing it directly on your television. Just plug in your external USB drive and the WDTV recognizes it in seconds. It was the most pain-free way of getting my digital media files on my television. Just a year ago, I could only watch those same files on my computer. The Playstation 3 offers the same capability, but for $300 more. The WDTV is a very small device that comes with a user-friendly IR remote control and most of the cables that you will need to set it up in minutes. The lack of an HDMI cable was a bit of a disappointment, but you can find them
The user interface is similar to the Playstation 3 GUI. I would say that the Playstation 3 has a better upscaler, so you will see less pixelation on the Playstation 3 than you would on the WDTV. On the plus side, the WDTV is almost silent when operating. The Playstation 3′s fan kicks in after about 10 minutes and it can be a distraction if you are watching a movie before you go to sleep. Both systems allow you to download and install firmware upgrades on a regular basis. The WDTV did play more video formats than the PS3 when we tested it.
The WDTV is perfect for the casual user who does not want to deal with a complex set-up. It took about 2 minutes to completely set-up and was easy to move from room to room.
File Formats Supported
Music – MP3, WMA, OGG, WAV/PCM/LPCM, AAC, FLAC, Dolby Digital, AIF/AIFF, MKA
Graphics – JPEG, GIF, TIF/TIFF, BMP, PNG
Video -MPEG1/2/4, WMV9, AVI (MPEG4, Xvid, AVC), H.264, MKV, MOV (MPEG4, H.264)
Playlist – PLS, M3U, WPL Subtitle -SRT (UTF-8)
- MPEG2/4, H.264, and WMV9 supports up to 1920x1080p 24fps, 1920x1080i 30fps, 1280x720p 60fps resolution.
- An audio receiver is required for surround sound output.
- AAC/Dolby Digital decodes in 2 channel output only.
- JPEG does not support CMYK or lossless.
- BMP supports uncompressed format only.
- TIF/TIFF supports single layer only.
- The price tag…$99.99 to $129.99 at most retail stores
- Short Set-up time
- Takes minutes to Update Firmware
- Plays mulitple types of video and Audio
- Comes with free conversion software
- Almost silent when powered up
- Compatible with most USB external drives
- Upscaler for standard definition movie files shows some background artifacts
- No HDMI cable included
- No Wireless capabilities
- Difficult to find at your local electronics store. Best Buy was the only place I could find it.