Media Streamers and Hubs Guide

WD TV Live Hub review

WD TV Live Hub - A Star Hub

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Overall rating 8.5/10
Design:
8.5
Performance:
8
Features:
8.5
Value:
8
THE GOOD
Slick and easy user interface
Customizable UI
Preloaded with widgets and internet services
THE BAD
Lack of support for RMVB and FLV
Difficult to change pre-installed HDD
No WiFi connectivity
Pricey


Features

Introducing Mochi

Besides evolving the physical design to a slimmer profile, the biggest overhaul is a new user interface known as Mochi. Mochi is one of the best-looking media player interfaces we have come across. And it's pretty easy to navigate too.

There are six tabs available on the homescreen: Services, Videos, Music, Photos, Files and Set Up. While Mochi is a fast and responsive UI when you are manipulating content/options within a tab, you might need to wait a bit when navigating between tabs on the home screen, as the UI does tend to load the animations first before letting you jump to the next option. When it recognized that the player was attached to the internet, it proceeded to download the latest firmware without us needing to manually check if the existing firmware was up-to-date. Though easy on the eyes and relatively simple to navigate, some playback and interface options are buried under unnecessary layers of menus.

The UI offers you a choice to customize the wallpaper and you can even select your own personal pictures, which have to be transferred to the player. In fact, you can customize how most of the menus look as well as how the files in the system are displayed, such as the option to display a video preview of video files.

As with many players on the market nowadays, the Live Hub offers a number of online services like Facebook and YouTube. There is also internet radio via Live365, though some, like Pandora do not work in this region. The Live Hub also offers support for USB keyboards, which helps greatly for certain services like Facebook.

The player comes with an internal hard disk of 1TB, which is very useful for those of us who wish to store media on the player itself. It's however less friendly to our attempt to change the hard drive. As its name suggest, the Live Hub doesn’t only function as a media player, but also as a storage hub for all your media. Once connected to a network, the player will appear as a hard drive or network drive, and you can just drag and drop files directly to the player.

Although the player is equipped with a wired Gigabit Ethernet connection, we would have preferred Wi-Fi as well for the added convenience. It is quite a hassle to connect Ethernet cables from the media player to your network point or router if you're home isn't wired up for it neatly. Another point to note is that transfer speeds are also dependent on the processing power of the Live Hub and we can tell you it's practically impossible to hit those Gigabit speeds.

On the management side of things, by entering the media player's IP address in the web browser on your networked home PC, you can access the Live Hub's Web UI. The Web UI allows you to manage the system status of the media player or even control the media player. Another nice touch is the ability to use TwonkyMedia server service to browse the files on your media player and play them back on your PC. You can also use the TwonkyMedia server to upload a file from your PC to your media player.