by Jacqueline Emigh
Western Digital has announced Elements Play, a budget-oriented device for multimedia buffs that combines a high definition (HD) media player with a built-in high capacity hard disk drive (HDD). It comes as a follow-up to WD’s successful WD TV units, which offer similar functionality without on-board storage.
Provided in capacities of 1 TB or 2 TB, Elements Play supports movie storage and playback on big screen TVs at full HD 1080p resolution. It also offers lots of space for storing photos, digital audio, and other files, both through the built-in hard disk drive (HDD) and external storage media connected through the built-in USB 2.0 port.
The slim black box is part of WD’s no frills Elements line. Geared to users who don’t want to pay extra for connecting directly to the Internet from the device, it has no Ethernet port or built-in WiFi, and there is no media streaming. However, you can output to HDTVs through the gadget’s built-in HDMI port or connect your digital camera or camcorder to play or transfer content from the camera to the drive. A composite video connection is included for compatibility with most TVs.
Digital optical audio capabilities include high fidelity audio and pass-through digital audio to an AV receiver. The device supports SPDIF and Dolby Digital native playback.
As described in WD’s spec sheet, Elements Play’s user interface (UI) offers a number of navigation options. DVD navigation includes complete menu navigation, chapter listings, special features, and subtitles.
Support is also provided for video previews, photo slideshows with transitions and music, photo thumbnails, multi-language subtitles in video playback, and music playlists for PLS, M3U, and WPL file types.
Through an automatic play feature, you can set the player to play a selected media file automatically when the unit is turned on.
Other supported file formats include MKV, H.264, RMVB, VOB/ISO, JPEG, Real Media, and SimplayHD, depending on the user’s PC hardware configuration and operating system.
The WD Elements Play package includes a multimedia drive, compact remote with batteries, USB cable, AC adapter, and quick install guide. Pricing has not been announced.