I'll keep it short. Christmas is getting close and I want to buy my parents ANOTHER media player (4 failed attempts, 1 dvd player, 2 bluray, 1 cigario) that will play all of their media. I was thinking the WD Live because it mentioned most file types including mkv, and I think I remember it knows the h264 codecs or whatever.
I am also looking for myself. When I went through their movie collection and didn't include extras since I thought it would be a waste of space and only took the actual movie out. Which is all good for their movies, but I have a couple of interactive "special" movies, where by ripping out the scene would make it non-watchable ie it needs to have the dvd menu.
I am more concerned about getting a media player thats easy for them to use (74 and 63, I can tape over the buttons though) that will play almost every know file type and codec, and for me ability to play ISO.
Does such a thing exist? besides a desktop?
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No. Nothing YET is universal. But what varieties are your folks getting? If they seem so "tech-phobic", why do they have all these stumper varieties?
ISO, that is another thing. Some will, some won't. The Dune player line is one that is enjoyed by some here and it plays many things including ISOs (though it doesn't support 3DBD ones).
Maybe you could teach them how to use something like Handbrake to convert their varieties into something consistent (like your standard AVC+AACinMP4 or in MKV) and then you could give them any ole' player and it should be ok...
Or why not get them a simple computer, install windows with auto updates and a virus scanner, hook it up to the TV with HDMI. Install VLC or similar player.
Show them all you need to do is open a folder, double click on the video they like to see and double click to maximize the screen. And they are done.
Dune's HD Base 3D and HD Smart D1 media players are $300 and $360. The KDLINKS HD720 is about half that, but the quality of its construction is not comparable. Don't expect it to last as long as one of the Dune players. Both play DVD ISOs. Both companies do update firmware, but I wouldn't count on ongoing support after a product is discontinued. It is possible either could be too complicated for your parents to use.
Both parents are old so a PC wouldnt be an option, I don't believe my parents have ever touched a computer in their life (4 years ago he asked for a typewriter) and I tried to use linux once I failed. If you seen the cigario remote (might as well be a car alarm with the little amount of buttons) you would know what issues I deal with. Once I typed over it became fine. So the 300+ option would be my only option for them?
I told you that I had some doubts that your parents would find the Dune or KDLinks media players easy to use. Those suggestions are for you.
If your parents are that tech-challenged you need to stop expecting them to use a media player to play the files you create from their DVDs or obtain in some other way. That is your thing not theirs. Run the media player for them, or allow them to use DVDs and a DVD player.
Although she prefers that I run the DVD player, in a pinch, even my ~90 year old mother can pop in an authored DVD use a DVD player to play it. Note that it took 2 years to teach her how to use her cable box...
Yeah, if they're that technologically-challenged as you seem to imply, any material they are getting should go first to YOU to convert to (simple) DVD. Maybe even add UOPs so they can't choose much other options (button would just be dead).
Where are they getting all of these video files?
If they can't handle operating a DVD player, you are pretty much out of luck. Insert disc, hit play. A media player isn't going to be an easier than that.Google is your Friend
So far, it has been mostly working out well. There aren't many file formats you will run into that the WDL can't handle for playback. Gen 3 of the WD Live box rather stupidly dropped the Netflix feature, but the Gen 2 model should still be available from Amazon, and perhaps elsewhere.
[Per my experience with it, I'd say the -- in the minority -- lower-rated reviews included there are groundless, and probably from totally clueless users.]
I taped over anything someone might attempt to plug into by confusion, such as the digital optical connector, placed some short instructive labels on the box, and added a short, simplified instructions half-page for anything more involved.
The Netflix streaming results have been better than from the Tivo receiver, which often fails to connect with the home network, but it's possible they could have router issues or Netflix infrastructure issues over and above that.
The one thing that still concerns me -- and maybe someone here can enlighten me on this point -- is that my folks tend to leave everything connected all of the time, even though I've instructed them to disconnect the power for the WD-Live when it's not in use. But they forget to do this. I'm concerned that the box itself may overheat and burn out, the attached WD Passport portable HDD spin continuously long-term (which I don't think they were ever designed or intended to do) and then it may be ruined also. It would be great if these things just shut down on their own after a period of not being in active use . . . but I doubt that is the case.
For your own use, you mentioned ISOs. I've played various ISOs on this device, as well as copied DVD-format file structures, which allow you to still use the original menus. Haven't tried any AVCHD converted Blu-Ray material yet though.
Last edited by Seeker47; 30th Nov 2014 at 15:55.
Cannot say much about external hardisks, I have just one connected through USB into WDTV Live, all the time as well, and no problems so far.
And yes, that new model has no Netflix, one has to careful what model is buying.
O.K., I have now run into a few problems with a couple of the 2nd. Gen players, and so was wondering if anyone is familiar with the particular symptoms, or what the cause might be.
Sound has been intermittent -- mainly with Netflix streaming (in this case wired directly to a U-Verse modem / router), but also a few times on playback from an attached portable HDD. Reboots of the WD-Live might or might not correct this. Also, subtitles freezing -- sometimes with picture continuing at a greatly reduced pace, with no sound -- during Netflix streaming. When that happened, the WDL remote became completely unresponsive, until the WDL was rebooted. This is on a unit I bought as a gift for someone. The troubleshooting I would attempt to do is to visit them shortly after the problem occurred, bringing along a known-working 2nd. Gen of my own to swap in to their system temporarily, for comparison. Haven't had a good opportunity to do this yet. I also have a Roku stick that does Netflix, recently acquired but so far not used. Although I am not that familiar with the U-Verse service they have over there, when this setup was working it seemed to be working rather well.
At home, on one of my two Gen 2 WDLs I just had a program being played back from the attached portable HDD freeze stone cold dead about 1/4 of the way into it. At that point, the WDL remote became unresponsive, until the WDL was rebooted. Unless and until this recurs or becomes a pattern, I would tend to suspect that that file was corrupt. No sound or subtitle problems here, so far. But I hope this is not the tip of the iceberg on some WDL reliability problem, or incidence of hardware failure on these units. From the bulk of what I've read, the WD Live has been best of breed -- at least up until their very stupid decision to drop the Netflix feature. I will try to contact the manufacturer, if necessary, though I don't know whether their customer service is any good.
For the sake of completeness, is there any good reason to suspect an HDMI cable ? I've never encountered an issue with one before. Could any other equipment adjacent to a WDL cause interference with it ? (Unlikely, because of how and where they are commonly used.) [Partial correction: it is an ethernet cable, between the WDL and the U-Verse modem / router.]
Last edited by Seeker47; 22nd Feb 2015 at 16:26.
I just ordered a couple more of the Gen. 2 model -- one as a spare for myself, one for someone else -- because the price spiked by 50 % a couple months ago, and this morning Amazon had only 7 units left in stock. (The looming end of supply must have accounted for the price jump.)
In researching this, I've since found a number of competing devices, such as:
[EDIT: this is probably far from an exhaustive listing of the options in this category. Already remembered this next one, which I had overlooked, and I expect there must be others.]
(I'm leaning more towards purchases from Amazon -- for whatever device -- mainly due to having a good experience with their customer service and policies.)
In the process of scoping out the Roku line, I discovered that they only provide a 90 day warranty -- which is pitiful -- and that a number of purchasers have said the Rokus don't last very long in their reviews. I actually bought their lowest model, the streaming stick, when its $50. sale price at Fry's made it a cheap experiment. Tested it last night: setup was pretty simple, and the Netflix streaming seems to work fairly well. On the other hand, you must first activate a Roku device and set up an account with them, in order to use it. In order to do that, you must register your credit card and some personal info with Roku. Although they insist you will not be charged anything unless you purchase a product or service with this account, I personally find this requirement for using Roku (at all) to be obnoxiously intrusive. Ordinarily I would consider such a prerequisite attached to a consumer electronics item purchase to be a dealbreaker . . . but in this case there were some extenuating considerations, like a need to comparatively troubleshoot some Netflix issues.
WD appears to have jettisoned the streaming services features, concluding that versatile local library playback is what is of greatest interest to their customer base ?
The latest firmware release has added Miracast support to the Gen. 2, removing that particular difference from the Gen. 3.
The bottom line seems to be that there are compact, portable devices that will get you some good streaming service options, and others that will get you pretty good local storage video files playback options, but it seems that the Gen. 2 model of the WD Live may have been the only one to provide all of this in one little box.
Last edited by Seeker47; 11th Mar 2015 at 15:27.