WD is no stranger to making media streaming devices — it’s been in the business for several years, most notably with its WDTV Live and WDTV Live Hub products. But those devices both are priced at $99 and above, with the Hub also including built-in media storage. The new WD TV Play, by contrast, is focused on the lower end of the market, with a $69 price tag and a number of streaming services already lined up.
The box streams video from online providers such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Vudu, Spotify, SlingPlayer, Pandora, and Facebook, among others. In that sense, the new device gets to leverage all of the content that WD had added to its previous streaming boxes.
It also provides users with the ability to access and stream their own media at home, whether it be photos, video, or music. It does that by connecting to DLNA-compliant computers or network-attached storage on the same WiFi network, as well as allowing users to plug in digital cameras or external hard drives through a USB port.
For the new box, WD has also worked on a new user interface which it hopes will cater to users who have gotten used to navigating content on their mobile devices and tablets. Once they’ve set the device up and connected it to the network, they are able to personalize their home screens with the content and apps that they most care about. They can even set the box up so that their favorite app automatically opens up when they turn the device on.
The new WD TV Play comes with a new remote control as well, with several pre-programmed buttons for popular apps like Netflix and Hulu Plus. But users will also be able to access the device with the WD TV Remote for iOS and Android mobile and tablet devices.
At launch, the WD TV Play will be available for purchase from www.wdstore.com, but the company is looking to add more online distribution outlets over time. Priced at just $69, it’s looking to undercut the competition.