|At a Glance|
|Product||Western Digital WD TV (WDBYM000NBK) [Website]|
|Summary||Internet media streamer with excellent local playback format support|
|Pros||• HDMI and analog AV outputs
• Supports large number of media file types
• Smartphone remote apps for iOS and Android
• Supports USB local media, DLNA server and network shares
|Cons||• Relatively small number of streaming apps
• No Netflix
In late May, Western Digital announced the newest member of its WD TV line of media players – the WD TV. The TV assumes the top of the line of WD's line of media streamers, which also include the WD TV Play (reviewed) and WD TV Live (reviewed). This WD TV should not be confused with the original WDTV introduced back in 2010.
Rather than focusing on internet streaming content, the TV is focused on playing your local content. From the chart below taken from WD's website, you can easily see the differences between the TV and TV Live. The WD TV does not have support for Netflix, but adds in support for Miracast on Miracast-enabled devices and allows to you to customize the home screen.
Western Digital Media Product Line Comparison
If you were to put the WD TV next to the WD TV Live, you'll quickly discover that the devices look virtually identical. The only difference is the label on the front panel. Both units have the same connections on the front and rear panel shown below.
WD TV Connections
The rear panel on each device has the following: Power jack; Composite AV jack; Ethernet port; HDMI port, S/PDIF (optical) audio port a second USB port. The PIN reset hole is on the bottom of the unit. Like both of WD's other streamers, the Ethernet port on the WD TV has individual link status and activity indicators.
The WD TV ships with the same remote as the WD TV Live. In fact, they are completely interchangeable. During my testing, I was able to control both devices with the same remote. I just blocked the IR sensor one one device or the other so that I didn't send commands to both of them at once.
Since the remotes use infrared, you'll need direct line of sight between the remote and the device in order to control it. With an RF remote such as you find with the Roku 3, the device can be buried in an equipment cabinet and still be operated.
The WD TV remote has a nice ergomatic design and the large keys are easy to use. But like all remotes included with internet streamers, it is not backlit. Should you decide that you don't like to use the on-screen keyboard, you can plug a USB keyboard into either of the two USB ports.
Using a USB keyboard can speed up setting up your online accounts for services that require you to type in your credentials. Some online services, such as Hulu Plus, allow you to activate your device using your computer to type in an activation code that appears on your TV screen into an activation page on their web site.
WD TV/WD TV Live Remote Control with key callouts
In addition to the remote that comes with the product, there are also remote control apps for both iOS and Android. This gives you the advantage of having an “RF” remote control rather than a infrared control that requires line of site. If you plan to bury a WD streamer inside an entertainment center, you definitely want to use the remote control app for your mobile platform(s).
On the Inside
As with all of the WD TV products, the top and the bottom of the WD TV case appear to be sonically welded together, so I was unable to open the case without destroying the product. Using the FCC ID number on the bottom of the unit (RRK-C3H), I was able to find an internal PCB photo. Note: The WD TV and the WD TV Live have the same FCC ID number so they share the same hardware. Only the firmware is different.
You can't really identify the components from the FCC photos, but for the companion PCB which is the Wi-Fi module, I was able to determine that the WD TV uses a Realtek RTL-8192 Wi-Fi chipset. That chipset is a 2.4 GHz 2T2R chipset, which means that the device, like the WD TV Live, is an N300 class device.
WD TV PCB photo from the FCC