The last time we came overseas, we saved space by simply ripping DVDs and putting them on a hard drive. This time, I didn’t want to have to either watch the movies on a computer or figure out how to hook the computer up to a TV. So I went looking for alternatives.
At first, I stumbled across Roku. I was going to do it just for the online functionality; however, then I saw the Western Digital WD TV Live Hub in a store. In addition to the online functionality, it included a hard drive. Ahh! It even has 2 USB ports you can hook other hard drives up to. My initial thought was to get it and use it for online streaming as well as a backup hub (it comes with a 1 TB hard drive).
After being here and using it for a bit, I thought I would write about it. The quality is excellent. I have it hooked up with an HDMI cable and it looks good. The movies I’ve put on it…no so good. Some of them are encoded in a low quality so this isn’t the fault of the WD box. In fact, the one movie I have that is decent quality looks really good. The remote is simple and easy to figure out. You can rate your movies and do tons more I haven’t figured out yet.
There are two things I don’t like about it. First, it doesn’t have wireless built-in. That isn’t a problem in our temporary home now; however, it means that I will have to make sure the ADSL modem is installed close to the TV. Second, the built-in categories (movies, pictures, etc…) don’t seem to actually filter anything. When I pick movies, I have to browse on the device to where my movies are located. Either I haven’t figured something out or it doesn’t do it.
I haven’t yet hooked another hard drive up to it. I think this will be a task for once we move into our permanent house in a few weeks. Once I do that, I’ll update this post with information about that.
I can’t speak for things like the Roku or Apple TV, but I would recommend the Western Digital WD TV Live Hub to anyone looking for an IPTV solution. The hard drive is a good bonus and comes in quite handy too.
Full disclosure: The links in this article are through my Amazon Affiliate account. if you order the device from that page, I’ll get credit and a small kickback from Amazon.