Western Digital may primarily be a hard drive manufacturer, but it also dabbles in media streaming boxes. Last week, a new product called the WD TV Play joined the existing lineup as a cheaper alternative to both the WD TV Live and Live Hub boxes.
The WD TV Play measures 4.17” x 4.13” x 1.07” and is black with a blue outline. Unlike the other streaming boxes, the Play ditches the rectangular shape for one that resembles a trapezoid (where the base is wider than the top). The WD TV Play has support for a number of streaming media services, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Youtube, Spotify, and Pandora. Notably absent is Amazon Video on Demand and Vudu, but otherwise it is a decent lineup of the popular internet media sources.
Additionally, the WD TV Play can playback local media from a flash drive or from a DLNA server. It support a variety of video and audio formats, but unlike the more expensive WD TV Live it does not support MPEG-2 or DTS Audio. That is the necessary compromise in order to get an approximately $20 cheaper device.
|Media Type||Supported File Formats|
|Video||AVI (Xvid, AVC, MPEG4, VC-1), MKV (h.264, x.264, AVC, MPEG4, VC-1), TS/TP/M2T/M2TS (MPEG4, AVC, VC-1), MP4/MOV (MPEG4, AVC), WMV9, FLV (AVC)|
|Photo||JPEG, GIF, TIF/TIFF, BMP, PNG|
|Audio||MP3, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA, AAC, FLAC, MKA, AIF/AIFF, OGG, Dolby TrueHD|
|Playlist||PLS, M3U, WPL, M3U8, XML, CUE|
|Subtitle||SRT, ASS, SSA, SUB, SMI, MKV (embedded sub)|
Rear IO on the WD TV Play includes a composite video output, HDMI, Ethernet jack, and Optical audio output. The media player reportedly also supports Wi-Fi and a USB 2.0 port for loading up media files. It comes with an infrared remote control, but you can also download the WD TV app to your smartphone and control the box using your phone's touchscreen.
In fact, the new case design and removal of certain codecs are the only real differences between the new Play and existing Live streaming box. The WD TV Play has an MSRP of $69.99 USD. For comparison, the WD TV Live is $99.99. If you do not need MPEG-2 or DTS audio, the Play can easily save you a few bucks.
More information can be found on the WD TV Play product page.