Western Digital isn’t new to the digital media adapter/extender market, but the company is historically known more for its external hard drive products than its ambitions in the living-room entertainment wars. At least it was before today.
This morning, Western Digital announced a new WD TV Live Plus HD Media player with full 1080p resolution and Netflix access built in. While the company makes no bones about joining a slew of other gadget folks to offer Netflix content, they also highlight the ways it can one-up the competition. To start, it’s got that 1080p playback. But Western Digital also brings in the ability to connect the WD TV Live with your in-home network. In other words, you can fire up your favorite Netflix video, or watch content stored on any connected hard drive in the house.
Unlike the Roku, the WD TV Live doesn’t have embedded Wi-Fi, but that can be corrected with a wireless adapter sold separately. Otherwise, consumers can use a wired line for Internet connectivity, or plug in any USB-enabled drive for access to local content. The USB port is a major plus in conjunction with the Internet content available on the WD TV Live. The same combination has been alluded to by the Roku folks, but we haven’t seen the reality yet. Meanwhile, like the Roku (thanks to a recent software update), the Western Digital product also lets users browse Netflix content and add movies to their Instant Queues right from the TV screen. No PC required.
The MSRP for the WD TV Live Plus HD media player is $149.99. It’s available on the Western Digital site, and through “select retailers.” Amazon lists it for pre-order at a price point of $125.43. More deets below.
WD TV Live Plus Specs:
- Offers content from Netflix, YouTube, Flickr, Pandora, Live365, and the MediaFly network
- Supports Mac and PC streaming; compatible with Windows 7
- Includes one Ethernet and two USB ports, as well as an HDMI 1.3 port, and composite video and component video output
- Playback at 1080p resolution