Western Digital WDTV Live Hub Reviewby Ganesh T S on October 26, 2010 7:38 AM EST
We have put the WDTV Live Hub through the paces, and it does appear to be an interesting product. Though it might not satisfy the large set of people clamouring on AVSForums or the WD forums, requesting new features and demanding fixes, it does appear to make for an ideal gift for the non-tech savvy friends and relatives in the upcoming holiday season. WD must be lauded for getting the user interface and media library aspect right this time around. This is sure to pull many consumers who are not aware of / have no necessity for features such as full HD audio bitstreaming, MKV PGS subtitles etc. Fortunately, for WD, these type of consumers are the bulk of the purchasing public. We expect the WDTV Live Hub to continue giving WD the success that the previous products in the lineup have provided.
Before wrapping up the review, let me enumerate the pros and cons of the WDTV Live Hub:
- 1 TB hard disk bundled, enough for most non-tech savvy users' contents
- HDMI 1.4 support plays most existing 3D content on 3D TVs
- Expanded online services compared to previous generation product
- Improved user interface compared to previous products in this lineup
- Supports sync of USB drives and digital camera contents to internal hard disk through USB
- Easy control of playback and interaction with the streamer through Web Remote and USB keyboards
- TrueHD bitstreaming and WMA(Pro) decode work fully
- Many bugs existing in previous generation products still left unfixed
- GbE port seems more like a marketing gimmick, rather than actually adding to the performance
- Content can be transferred to the internal hard disk from a computer using the network only
- Can't stream multiple HD streams from the Live Hub, though the specifications seem to indicate that it is possible
- For a flagship product, WD should have tried to provide full HD audio bitstreaming / Blu-Ray ISO support / advanced media streamer features
The Live Plus is inherently capable of many of the new features of the Live Hub, as the main SoC in both products is the same. Will the new features be ported to the old product? Only time will tell. In the meanwhile, if you are already planning to purchase a WDTV Live Plus, it is better to put in some extra money to purchase the Live Hub. It costs less than the combined price of a 2.5" 1 TB hard drive and the WDTV Live Plus standalone. The end user will have to put up with some quirks of the WDTV lineup, but, based purely on the price to performance ratio, the WDTV Live Hub will be hard to beat.