Western Digital announces WD TV Live HD Media Player

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Looks like those images that leaked back in August of the WD TV 2 were pretty spot on. Earlier today, Western Digital announced the newest member of its growing WD TV family, the WD TV Live.

As you may (or may not) recall, we’ve been pretty big fans of the original WD TV HD media player since it was released at the end of 2008. The highly capable little black box provides a simple, yet effective solution for watching your growing collection of digital media on your HDTV.

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One of the few missing features in the original WD TV was any variety of network connectivity. Luckily, Western Digital has listened to the growing community of WD TV fans and included both an ethernet port for wired connectivity as well as support for USB Wi-Fi adapters. But the Internet fun doesn’t stop there. According to the press release:

The network capability of the WD TV Live media player enables users to stream or transfer movies from PC or Mac® computers or a network-attached storage device such as WD’s My Book® World Edition™ and WD ShareSpace network drives to their HD TVs. The WD TV Live media player also allows users to stream rich content from YouTube™, Flickr® and Pandora®. The HD onscreen menu brings together all of the users’ available media in an elegant and simple-to-navigate interface.

The new Internet and network capabilities are welcome additions to this already impressive and relatively inexpensive HD media player. Along with these new features, the WD TV Live features the same 1080p playback, support for just about every codec under the sun, HDMI connectivity, and the ability to show photos and play music like its older sibling (complete comparison chart available here). The WD TV Live is available now for $149.99 MSRP. Check back for our hands-on review in the coming weeks.

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WD TV Live HD Media Player
Features of the WD TV Live HD Media Player include:
– Full-HD 1080p video playback and navigation with the included remote control and crisp, animated navigation menus;
– Play a wide variety of file formats including support for a wide variety of the most popular file formats with no need to spend time transcoding;
– Play videos, music and photos from the Internet on your big screen TV and discover new music with Pandora Internet radio or listen to thousands of radio stations via Live365 Internet radio;
– Ethernet port for wired or WiFi connection1 to access files anywhere on the network to play movies, music, and photos from any PC or drive on a home network;
– Turns a USB drive2 into an HD media player and plays content from most popular USB drives, and digital cameras, camcorders, and portable media players that can be recognized as mass storage devices;
– Unlimited media collection, just add more USB drives for more space;
– Two USB ports for seamless media playback from multiple USB drives and ability to access them simultaneously while a media library feature collects the content on all the drives into one list sorted by media type;
– Transfer files by copying, moving or deleting files stored on a USB drive, a network drive, camcorder, or a camera to the attached USB drive using the on-screen menus;
– Picture Transfer Protocol support to show photos and movies directly from digital camera or video camera and or any digital imaging device that supports Picture Transfer Protocol;
– Advanced navigation options including thumbnail and list views, media library and search;
– Photo viewing to create custom slide shows, zoom and pan and search;
– Movie viewing with fast-forward, rewind, pause, zoom and pan, view subtitles, and search;
– Music playback with fast-forward, rewind, pause, shuffle, repeat and search;
– File copying between USB devices;
– HDMI® 1.3 port, composite video and component video output3 for the highest quality HDTV or home theater;
– SPDIF digital output that sends digital signals to your AV receiver for the best surround sound experience; and,
– Ultra-compact design to fit easily into a home entertainment center.

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