Western Digital WD TV Mini Media Player - WD TV Mini Media Player

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

6

User Score:

Music and picture format support on the WD TV Mini is everything we could hope for. Picture support consists of JPEG, GIF, TIFF, BMP and PNG, while audio formats include - deep breath - MP3, WAV, LPCM, WMA, AAC, FLAC, MKA, OGG, Real Audio and APE.

Despite equally prolific subtitle support (SRT, SSA, SUB and SMI) though, video formats are nowhere near as extensive. Xvid/DivX, MPEG1/2/4, MPEG, VOB (DVD rip), MP4/MOV and RM/RMVB is the limit of what you get, which aside from the RMVB is not much better than your average £50 media player. Granted, most of those aren't as small and sleek as the Mini, but it just feels like a disappointment after the original WD TV.

If you really fancy a tiny unit and don't mind the lack of H.264/.MKV support or a digital video output, the Mini should be right up your street. Its biggest problem, however, is that at just under £60 it's only around £10 cheaper than its fully-fledged sibling, which offers all this and more - except for native RMVB support.

Things have moved on dramatically even since that little box though, and we'd definitely recommend checking out Asus' O!Play HDP-R1 HD Media Player. This not only gives you everything the WD TV does but adds RMVB, FLV, DTS and Dolby Digital Plus support in addition to eSATA connectivity and network streaming for a mere £73 - an absolute bargain for its huge range of features, even if its build and interface aren't quite up to the WD's standards.

Verdict

Western Digital's new WD TV Mini media player is sleek, attractive and well-built. But without HD playback or even a digital video output, the Mini lacks that universal appeal and the edge over the competition that its bigger sibling enjoyed.

Overall Score

6

Scores In Detail

  • Value 6
  • Features 6
  • Design 8

Misha

September 17, 2009, 12:33 pm

Hi,


Please, oh, please could you review the XTreamer http://www.xtreamer.net/ !!!

DrDark

September 17, 2009, 3:28 pm

I'm still failing to see the point of this product since we heard about it last month. Apart from the whole (Matt is the new glossy) look that everyone's doing these days (DSi, PS3), it's got fewer features and is only around £10 less. I'm not sure that many people care about RMVB, but why couldn't they just add it to the original through a firmware update?





In fact, after the previous article announcing this, I bought the original WDTV for around £64 off Amazon, and was actually surprised at it's size, which was tinier than I thought. They should have just made this mini one into a PMP and competed with the likes of Archos etc.





As for the Asus one, it's uglier and harder to find due to its stupid name making searching for it difficult...





P.S. Please don't review the Xtreamer until they shut up about it for a few months.

Nick

September 17, 2009, 3:35 pm

Would love to see a review of the XTreamer too ;)


Any news on when we might see the WDTV2 with its lovely network port?

lifethroughalens

September 17, 2009, 4:32 pm

Thanks Misha - that Xtreamer look just the business. Just hope they get .ISO support in there asap. Ordered one.

Misha

September 17, 2009, 9:34 pm

lifethroughalens, you are a quick decision-maker - I have been mulling over Xtreamer for several months now... I'm impressed by your quick action!

lifethroughalens

September 18, 2009, 3:02 am

@Misha





Impulsive is the word I think! (or though someone else might say irresponsible :) )





Well I saw the Ethernet port and the wireless and the open source software approach - and the ability to stick a 500GB HDD on board and was immediately sold. The price seemed more than sensible too. The few reviews seem good - bar from a noisy, unprotected fan (which is being addressed apparently, but I don't mind a bit of DIY).





Let's see how long it takes to ship - if it turns up at all, and if it's any good! I'll only have myself to blame if it isn't....oh, and you for showing it to me in the first place! ;o)

Misha

September 18, 2009, 7:56 pm

lifethroughalens - since TrustedReviews refuses to review this seemingly excellent product (perhaps they do have commercial interests ;) ) - you could jot down a few impressions (if you have a few minutes - but don't feel obliged...)

lifethroughalens

September 19, 2009, 5:07 am

Will do Misha - All I have now is an order number and an email confirmation - no shipping date or tracking number. I'm away next week - when it does arrive and if TR's hasn't covered anything by them - i'll break the habit of a life time and actually post a review in the forums section! No worries :)

Misha

September 21, 2009, 1:43 am

Thanks a lot, lifethroughalens

TechVegan

September 22, 2009, 10:04 pm

@Misha:


We've contacted the company to get a sample of the Xtreamer in (it does look very interesting), but so far no luck.


Of course if it does come in you can look forward to one of our usually-comprehensive reviews :)





@Nick:


Why on earth would we "refuse" to review it?

lifethroughalens

September 23, 2009, 12:05 am

I got home tonight and my unit has been delivered - so good delivery times in the UK - 3 working days, not bad.





Haven't plugged it in yet - I will try to have a play tomorrow and post something. First impressions though are very good - it's tiny! About the size of a 3.5" HDD and it feels well built.





More when I plug it in :)

lifethroughalens

September 24, 2009, 12:57 pm

Don't bother (yet)! I have had a very frustrating, wasted few hours trying to get this bugging box to stream files from my networked PC HDD's in my PC- all attempts are met with yet another 'issue' on the software front.





Ultimately it looks like there is no proper support for Windows 7...yet. And the forums aren't much help yet either. This may be a great product design wise, and the features and codec supports may be vast - but without better firmware / software this thing is going nowhere fast.





Great, I have a £100 paperweight. Non-technologically minded, network savy, registry altering, whiz-kids need not apply!

Ed

September 24, 2009, 1:05 pm

@lifethroughalens: In fairness, Windows 7 networking is a pain in the backside at the best of times. That whole homegroups(?) things is completely incompatible with old workgroups.

Misha

September 28, 2009, 12:51 pm

lifethroughalens, that was a quick condemnation - I certainly wouldn't want to fuss with registry and such - I want plug-n-play! Hope you'll eventually figure it out! All the best.

goranlin

June 2, 2010, 12:02 am

In the review it is written that it support "VOB (DVD rip)" (among other formats). What does this mean? If I have a VIDEO_TS folder with .VOB, .BUP and .IFO files can it read these in the correct order? Can it handle subtitles? (How if there is no menus?)

finklemiss

October 25, 2010, 3:03 pm

Can anyone confirm whether the Mini can display VobSub subtitles {.sub with .idx} which are image based? I expect the answer is no - it states .sub subs are supported but they're different (text based). I suppose there is still no solution to display Arabic charset subs?

comments powered by Disqus