Western Digital WDTV Live Hub £170
23rd Dec 2010 | 09:30
It may be small, but the Western Digital WD TV Live Hub is incredibly versatile
Western Digital's latest, the WD TV Live Hub, may be slimmer than its predecessors, but it leaves a far more impressive footprint.
Despite being only twice the size of an Apple TV, it includes a 1TB hard drive and multiple other extras. With USB ports on the front and rear, this unit can stream in 1080p from DLNA/ UPnP PCs, has a 3D-ready HDMI 1.4 output, can act as a NAS drive or UPnP/ DLNA client in its own right, and is even accessible via a web browser.
Insert a USB stick and it offers to transfer files, which appear automatically in iTunes. The Mochi interface takes a while to learn, but we soon got the hang of the four function buttons on the chubby but tactile remote.
They seem to have random features assigned to them, and although it's possible to re-jig their functions and assign commands to the numbered buttons, Western Digital should have made a better first attempt.
The remote lacks shortcuts for video and music, and would benefit from a dedicated input changer.
We threw many files at the WD TV Live, and it played everything from DivX HD to AVC HD in excellent quality. Video can be scanned through at up to 16x speeds, and music and videos can be added to a queue.
Online content stored under the 'Services' tab includes reasonably slick software for AccuWeather, YouTube, Flickr and Live365, plus a Facebook service (upload photos and videos, update status and read newsfeeds) and placeholders for US services Pandora radio and MediaFly.
The stubby remote may lack charm, but speed and versatility win everywhere else in this excellent package.
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