Seth Wisely said

October 16, 2010

Western Digital TV Live Plus HD is rebaged junk — if your time is worth nothing and you’ve never used XBMC you might be happy with it

Filed under: burning money = pointless pain, CIO, hardwares, overview, underdeveloped — Seth Wisely @ 21:17

REBADGED junk is doubly offensive, western digital!

“idiot proof” network browsing “feature” relies on workstation elected Master Browser be powered otherwise zero results in network browse [workgroup].  That leaves two HIGHLY entertaining options:  power the master browser workstation, or manually force a master browser election.  Oh, the joy!

The fix?  return it for a refund.

Oh, you want a work around?  Other than the two super awesome above?  Yeah, sure.. merely install software you really don’t want: media server THAT plays well with rebaged junk.

Western Digital TV Live Plus HD is pointless pain.  If you’re the idiot at which it was targeted you are likely blissfully pleased with it.

Until the firmware allows one to specify the UNC path for shares this gizmo is dead opposite convenient.  shipping firmware 1.03.26_B  (the B and functionality suggests beta) but as shipped firmware ‘by definition’ is no longer beta let’s call it beta_plus.

Western Digital TV Live Plus HD failures:

  • cannot specify network share UNC path
  • idiotic reliance on Master Browser
  • NOT dlna certified
  • GUI during video playback is poorly conceived, time consuming to navigate, and less than informative
  • file deletion cannot be accomplished via the playback interface, but only the file management setup in options
  • ‘less complicated’ remote is less than useful further requiring fighting more gui levels
  • IR remote (vs RF of popcorn)
    • I wasn’t thrilled with the popcorn either
  • no in-video audio sync controls
  • less than ideal passive cooling
  • error messages? nope. failures fail silently.
    • no read permissions on network share? video playback error is ‘filetype not supported’. sooo helpful
  • fast forwarding fun!
    • itty bitty numeric indication of fast forward speed
    • because of its inanely small size it is difficult for many to identify that maximum fastness has been achieved .. because the IR remote is less than satisfactory about a third of the time the command never reaches the box [unobstructed 10 foot corridor]
    • 16x is not fast enough.  Re-transcoding to increase I-frames while not sensible is briefly tempting
  • no obvious way to spoke a video to a specific time.  Want to begin watching at 1:02:19 ? Too bad.  Enjoy the fast forward “speed”
  • before I return it I hope to confirm that it chokes on 1080p high bandwidth videos since in their brilliance it does not sport gigabit ethernet
  • I’ve already been burned by Netflix bait-and-switch “all the movies you want”
    • netflix motto is actually “all the movies WE want YOU TO RECEIVE”
    • $9/mo netflix for nowhere near a reasonable number of movies I want
      • I certainly don’t want any in shoddy transcode streams
    • For $8/mo  I can access the storage array that predates the interweb and gopher
    • no conspiracy actual months of testing to confirm — especially entertaining is loading one movie return envelope with multiple movies and watching how ‘slowly’ each ‘arrives’ in the warehouse… variably hmmmm
  • boot times? there are no moving parts.  why does booting take so long??
  • USB is a thought step in the right direction for the low end market.  No esata? fail
    • no forward thinking USB3? the cart must lead the donkey to UFD
    • boxee box also fails to offer esata
  • I haven’t bothered playing with the music features.  I don’t want to be disappointed again.
  • screen saver cannot be tied into image galleries (locally or online) 😦
  • FTP client? nope, happy shiny dlna instead
  • sigh
  • yes, rebadged.  read the wd press release:  ‘provides’ NOT ‘developed’
  • on a side note: why do home NAS boxen not FULLY implement Sata?? DIY sata nas to achieve port multiplication (scsi daisy chain spill over) .. but no commercial embrace of port multiplier in home gear?  fail!

It was not a plus that amazon fulfillment did not bother to pad the shipping box.  Since boxes tumble all six faces must have padding.. duh?

western digital SSDs are ALSO rebadged.  Will those suck, too?

Seth Wisely said: WD TV Live Plus HD is even more annoying than the Popcorn Hour C200 at one third the cost


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