Western Digital Launches WD TV Live Plus

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Lake Forest, Calif. -

Western Digital

(WD) introduced Wednesday the latest iteration in its WD TV Live series of PC-to-TV bridge devices, this time adding access to popular entertainment services including Netflix and MediaFly.

Among the highlighted new additions to the WD TV Live Plus HD media player (shipping now at a $150 suggested retail) is the ability of Netflix subscribers, with an $8.99 monthly account, to stream some of the latest movies and TV shows on connected TV screens.

The new Netflix interface enables members to browse and add movies to their Instant Queue on the Netflix Web site.

The MediaFly network offers access to daily podcasts from CNN, NBC, MTV and ESPN.

As with earlier iterations of the WD TV Live, the device will access videos, music and photos from the Internet through YouTube videos and Flickr pictures. It also includes access to Internet radio stations via Live365 and Pandora radio.

Most importantly the DLNA-compliant WD TV Live Plus links to personalized connect through a variety of storage platforms using a wired or wireless in-home network. It can access entertainment content from networked PCs in the home to play music, videos and digital photo files. A Windows 7 compatible "Play To" feature enables streaming Windows 7 computer files to the TV through WD TV Plus HD media player;

The device will also access digital content from directly connected hard drives, digital cameras and camcorders, MP3 devices and USB flash drives.

Although the player will compete with a wide field of media bridge-type devices, WD said its system's ability to access personally produced content and easily play it back on a large TV screen gives the product an added advantage.

The device supports HD video playback and navigation up to 1080p. Support is offered for the most popular file formats, eliminating the need to transcode files for viewing.

Compatible file formats include: AVI (Xvid, AVC, MPEG1/2/4), MPG/MPEG, VOB, MKV (h.264, x.264, AVC, MPEG1/2/4, VC-1), TS/TP/M2T (MPEG1/2/4, AVC, VC-1), MP4/MOV (MPEG4, h.264), M2TS and WMV9 video format; and JPEG, GIF, TIF/TIFF, BMP and PNG image formats.

It also supports MP3, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA, AAC, FLAC, MKA, AIF/AIFF, OGG, Dolby Digital and DTS music formats.

The unit allows users to create playlists such as PLS, M3U and WPL and subtitle format such as SRT, ASS, SSA, SUB and SMI.

It features an Ethernet, HDMI, component Y/Pb/Pr, composite A/V and USB 2.0 interface. A SPDIF digital output is added to send digital audio signals to a compatible receiver for surround-sound playback, where HDMI connections are not available.

To connect to in-home Wi-Fi networks, users need only connect an optional, compatible USB Wi-Fi adapter. A special USB 2.0 port is provided on the side of the unit for that purpose.

A second USB is provided on the back to connect to other storage devices, as well personal media players, digital cameras and camcorders.

A media library feature collects the content on all the connected drives and groups them by media type for easy access.

The media player also supports an advanced navigation function such as thumbnail and list views that let users browse content by file name or by thumbnails of photos, album covers and movie cover art.

A search function lets users search by genre, title, artist, file name or partial file name. The photo viewing function lets users create custom slideshows with a variety of transitions and background music, zoom and pan, and search by file name, partial file name, most recently viewed and date, movie viewing and music playback.

Western Digital is selling the WD TV Live Plus HD media player through most of its regular dealer network. Some accounts place the device with  the company's hard drives and other products, while some dealers are expected to experiment by placing the device with TVs or in networking sections, the company said.


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