Help us, help you: Suggestions for improving Western Digital's WD TV HD Media Player

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Like many of our readers, we’re big fans of Western Digital’s WD TV HD Media Player ’round these parts. The thing is, the WD TV is still far from perfect, even after you install the recent 1.01.01 firmware update (and subsequent 1.01.02 release).

One of my biggest gripes with this media beast is its lack of useful video thumbnail support.  Per Western Digital’s support site:

Thumbnail support for media files connected to a WD TV HD Media Player are listed in the chart below. If the media files being accessed through the WD TV HD Media Player do not meet these requirements, a thumbnail picture will not be shown for that file.

File Type Only supports ID3 and EXIF format have thumbnail
mp3 Thumbnail in the id3 tag (“APIC” or “PIC” tag)
wma Thumbnail in the asf format (“WM/Picture” in the extended info)
m4a Thumbnail in the quicktime format (“moov/udta/meta/ilst/covr”)
mp4 Thumbnail in the quicktime format (“moov/udta/meta/ilst/covr”)
mp4a Thumbnail in the quicktime format (“moov/udta/meta/ilst/covr”)
flac
asf Thumbnail in the asf format (“WM/Picture” in the extended info)
wmv Thumbnail in the asf format (“WM/Picture” in the extended info)
jpg Thumbnail in the exif
jpe Thumbnail in the exif
jpeg Thumbnail in the exif
tif Thumbnail in the exif
tiff Thumbnail in the exif

Thumbnails are only supported for 4 types of video files – .m4a, .mp4, .mp4a, and .wmv. This limited video thumbnail support really hinders what is otherwise a great product, especially for those of us who prefer full quality DVD rips (home movies of course) stored in VOB files.

A quick search across the Interwebs shows that I am not alone in looking for greater video thumbnail functionality. Since the WD TV makes scrolling through (and eventually watching) hundreds of movies more convenient, image being able to do so with visuals instead of a freakin’ list that’s 20 miles long. Ideally, users would simply drop an image file (be it .png, .jpg, or .gif) in the folder where the video file(s) resides and the WD TV would show the file’s image as the movie’s thumbnail.

While we’re at it – suggesting/demanding firmware updates, that is – how ’bout making VOB files play automatically (upon selecting its parent folder) instead of having to click in a bunch of folders only to still have to select the first VOB to watch the movie?

Now it’s your turn, faithful CG readers…what features/updates/changes would you like to see (ideally they will be realistic so we can put a lil’ pressure on old WD to make some of these happen) come to Western Digital’s WD TV HD Media Player? Hit us up in the comments and we’ll see what we can do!

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