UPDATE, 11:52 a.m.: Western Digital confirms its new media player won’t play videos from Hulu or Netflix either. Also, more pics, see below.
Lake Forest hard drive maker takes another stab at the TV market with today’s release of the WD TV Live HD media player.
There’s a major upgrade on the new player: It can stream YouTube videos, Flickr slide shows or other high-definition Internet content on a home’s big-screen TV.
While such media-sharing devices have been around for years, the Western Digital gadget is built for 1080p HD video. Last year’s model was novel and worked well, but in order to play HD video, users had to transfer videos to a USB key or external drive and then plug it into the gadget.
The new gadget still resembles a miniature “MyBook,” the company’s line of external PC hard drives that look like black books. It’s very small — about 4-by-5 inches and 1.5-inches thick — so it’s pretty unobtrusive. It connects straight into a big TV via the HDMI port (an RCA jack and other components are also available).
More people are discovering free videos online, not just with YouTube, but sites like Hulu.com, Fancast.com, Joost.com and Veoh.com that offer full-length TV shows and movies. But few devices allow access to everything available.
Western Digital’s is no different. The press release mentions that the Western Digital device allows access to YouTube, Flickr and Pandora. However, in the product specifications, the media player “Does not support protected premium content such as movies or music from the iTunes Store, Cinema Now, Movielink, Amazon Unbox, and Vongo.” No mention of Netflix Streaming either.
UPDATE, 11:52 a.m.: Western Digital confirms this won’t play videos from Hulu either or Netflix. Here are some images of what the software looks like on the TV. Click to enlarge:
I’m hoping to test this out soon to get a good feel of what it really can and can’t do. The WD TV Live HD is available at the company’s store for $149.99.
Earlier on TV gadgets:
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