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When Western Digital released its first media player, the WD TV HD Media Player, calling us pleasantly surprised would have been an understatement. It's fair to say that the company's little black box changed the playing field for media players, with support for every music and most video formats at no less than 1080p - a rarity in units at its sub-£100 price point - all wrapped up in a neat little box with a sleek interface. While we're eagerly awaiting the rumoured sequel, WD has launched an alternative that supposedly complements both its original and forthcoming players, called the WD TV Mini.
As its name suggests, this is a far smaller device, measuring a diminutive 91 x 91 x 22mm. In fact it's smaller than the accompanying remote, which is the same undersized model bundled with the original WD TV. The good news is that the Mini is also cheaper than its bigger sibling, but the bad is that in order to achieve this several formats have been dropped as has the digital video output, and the Mini can no longer decode H.264. On the other hand it does now support RMVB, a codec that is lacking in the larger WD TV.
In terms of design, the new Mini is a triumph. It's not only more attractive but also more sensible than its larger sibling, thanks to its top and bottom sporting a matt textured finish rather than the scratch and fingerprint-loving glossiness found on original. The slim sides are still piano black to add a touch of glamour, and bring out the unobtrusive blue-backlit power and activity icons nicely. Build quality is also top notch, with strong plastics used throughout.
As already mentioned the remote remains mostly unchanged, with the exception that its finish has also - sensibly - transitioned from glossy to matt. It uses two AAA batteries so those who care about the environment can use rechargeable ones. It's solid and comfortable, and though its buttons don't feel particularly pleasant, they're well laid out and clearly labelled making it easy to use.