Western Digital’s line of tiny media players started out as a way for the company to sell more storage devices but have progressed in their own right to become a force for those without smart TVs. The latest incarnation brings Spotify and Wi-Fi to the little box that could, all for just $99.
The WD TV Live Hub (check out our review) ushered in a direction for the WD TV players. The Live Hub introduced exciting new cloud services as well as a whopping terabyte of local networked storage. Its robust firmware even allows you to plug in other storage and make it accessible over the Internet as well.
This new player, known simply as the WD TV Live unit, differs from the WD TV Live Hub in several distinctive ways. First of all, the new box doesn’t have any local hard drive or other accessible storage. That makes it a good bit smaller and lighter than the Live Hub. Secondly, it offers wireless access in the form of 802.11n – it’s much easier to place in your living room or bedroom now without having to run wires all over the place.
WD TV Live also supports Dolby TrueHD, and drops DLNA and iTunes Server compatibility (sensible, since it no longer has the local storage). Since the Wi-Fi is now built in, and fast, too, it drops the Gigabit Ethernet port in the back down to just a Fast Ethernet running at 10/100 Megabits.
Perhaps most importantly, however, are the substantial cost reductions present in the new device. Whereas the Live Hub intro’d at $199, this new device comes in at just $99, and brings Spotify to the table as well, which is the hottest new music service sweeping the country.
Stop back next week for our full review on this exciting new media device.