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Western Digital WD TV Sucessor Uncovered?


Western Digital WD TV Sucessor Uncovered?

It looks like Western Digital has a successor to its WD TV lined up, bringing its feature set closer in line with rivals such as the Popcorn Hour A110. At least that's what photos and specs somehow ‘acquired' by AVS Forums members suggest.

The WD-branded device definitely looks like a WD TV2 would be expected to, adding features notably omitted from the original, most importantly an Ethernet port, for streaming media from NAS boxes and the like.

Specs, as claimed by forum member "kennypb" with no word as to where the information was obtained include 1080p playback of AVI, MPEG and MKV files, with important formats including Xvid, h.264, x.264 MPEG-1, -2 and -4, VC-1 and WMV9 supported. The addition of subtitle display should appease those complaining of its absence from the original WD TV.

Dolby Digital and DTS decoding is listed as supported and there‘s a suggestion that bitstream output of both formats' HD versions is possible. Though there's no specific mention in the leaked specs, assuming they're genuine. Given this feature set looks like a pretty logical update to the WD TV, I'm inclined to believe it.


AABS Forums.

Purported specs.

Mathew White

August 17, 2009, 5:18 pm

Am I the only person out here who absolutely loathes the design of most of these media playback units? tiny black boxes that look like some terrible 1980 'video-sender' throw-backs. Where are the other plush and sleek looking units? The only good design out there is AppleTV, but sadly, that device just hasn't got the features with it's maximum 2,500kbps bitrate playback and top 720HD with upscaling to 1080. If Apple would actually build a next gen Apple TV with some teeth, I'd be happy, But I'd never resort to buying something that looks like a cheap wrist-watch box. Back to the drawing board, designers please.


August 17, 2009, 5:56 pm

I was under the impression that following firmware updates, the first iteration could also play 1080p video and displays subtitles (even imbedded within MKVs), so essentially all this update is offering is: DTS decoding and an ethernet port?!


August 17, 2009, 6:11 pm

I think what you're fogetting, Matthew White, is that design costs money. If WD was to make the same hardware with the fit and finish of an AppleTV, it would cost twice as much, literally. I, for one, would rather take the functionality for less money. After all, it's just going to sit hidden away in a TV cabinet.


August 17, 2009, 6:14 pm

Also, you are quite right drdark, the WDTV does already offer 1080p playback and mkv and subtitle support. Arguably, a WDTV with Ethernet and DTS decoding is all people want though.


August 17, 2009, 6:16 pm

The only thing missing from the last WD TV model was the ethernet port. Besides that its a very useful device.


August 17, 2009, 6:25 pm

@drdark: Network connectivity means there's potential for network streaming and internet services, which could be well worth the update in anyone's book.


August 17, 2009, 7:22 pm

I realise that, but am a bit surprised at the omission of WiFi.

From what I've heard people have been using USB WiFi dongles on their original WDTVs anyway using custom firmware.

Not including it means I'd have to get a pack of those power socket ethernet adapter thingies (can't remember the official name...)

I still think the WDTV is the best of the lot feature/price-point wise, but it just seems this "update" might not be doing enough to combat future competition.

P.S. Been meaning to buy the first model for a while, but had other priorities. I blame TR for gadget addiction :P. Is that multi-million Euro lottery still un-won?

Mathew White

August 17, 2009, 8:41 pm

Ed, it's about choice though. As a designer myself, form and function are equally important and not everyone hides these units away. I use a Mac Mini as a media centre, which sits on top of a smart unit beneath a wall-hung Plasma. I would have bought an AppleTV if it were up to the job. I have four 1TB Iomega drives plugged into that, which I paid extra for because they match the Mac Mini. the aesthetic can often be as important, otherwise your reviewers wouldn't even mention those lovely bezels and glossy finishes in many articles.


August 17, 2009, 8:44 pm

Still looks junk to my custom setup.

Sir Stuie

August 17, 2009, 10:50 pm

"WDTV with Ethernet and DTS decoding is all people want though." Spot on. But im still hoping for DTS decoding in another beta firmware.


August 18, 2009, 1:46 am

Fair point, Matthew, there is certainly space for WD, or another company, to come out with a premium model that ups the looks and build quality (as well as the interface, cause that leaves something to be desired on the aesthetics front as well). However, the WDTV was a success becuase it brought the kind of functionality that only devices costing at least twice as much had previously had to a low price point. For WD to then turn round a year later and release an 'updated' version that cost two or three times as much would be commerical suicide.

@hank: Well done, and how much did your custom setup cost?

@drdark: I am surprised by the lack of WiFi. It will be interesting to see how this WDTV2 turns out because the Asus O!Play HDP-R1 has reset the bar in terms of functionality/price. http://www.trustedreviews.c...


August 18, 2009, 2:32 am

Matthew: How can form and function be equally important? who would want a streaming media box that looks good but is flawed compared to other produts? (apple-buyers maybe :D )

Besides, what is the big difference in design, between the Apple tv and WD TV? One is black and the other one is white?


August 18, 2009, 3:26 am

@Skobbolop - I don't think form and function have to be mutually exclusive. Just look at some of the high-end (and even lower spec) Samsung TVs or Sony speaker packages. I'm sure you could make a media box that looked good and also had good codec support (you might, however, have to pay for it as Ed suggested).

Apple, for good or bad, like to control (some might say limit) the end-user experience. See their stubborn use of AAC for iTunes purchases and H.264 for iPod videos.

As to which one is more aesthetically pleasing - I think that just comes down to taste. I personally, wouldn't mind a WDTV on my TV rack, but some people are willing to pay extra for looks. And they will see more then a simple difference in colour - it's why top-end brands like Bang&Olufsen exist - to service that kind of customer.


August 18, 2009, 11:36 am

I liked the V1 so much, i bought one for me, one for a mate for his birthday, and one for my parents. My brother-in-law played with mine, then bought his own.

Ethernet and DTS deconding however are very, very welcome features

Ian 13

August 18, 2009, 3:53 pm

I have V1 with custom firmware and a USB ethernet dongle connected to a NAS box. It really is an excellent bit of kit for the money. Great interface and support for 1080p mkv files. I'll definately be buying v2, using my old one for the bedroom!


August 18, 2009, 4:45 pm

Actually, just to clarify, has Mathew seen the actual retail unit of the WDTV v1? I'm pretty sure it was much shinier and nicer looking than he might imagine. The images here of v2 are very clearly a prototype.

In other news, look what popped up: http://www.westerndigital.c...

Apparently on the US Amazon store for $79.99 already.

@Ed: I did see the O! play but was slightly put off by its bad looks and weird name :P. Then again, might plump for it after all. Was waiting for WD to play their card but it doesn't seem to have come up with anything groundbreaking.

Mathew White

August 18, 2009, 7:01 pm

The WD TV Mini (link above) does look a lot better in styling, but too small. There is something about the AppleTV that makes it the right size. If they would make a box with AppleTV's looks but with the Western Digitals versatility and better performance, I'd be sold. And really, how much extra would a decent casing add to the cost?Not a vast amount. I think this market is new territory for designers as it is not like the traditional video player market of "black/silver box under TV" with the usual dimensions. This new type of media player buys into a very new breed of technology buffs and often, I think, the more trendy market. Therefore, it seems a complete no-brainer to me that the units should reflect the owner's lifestyle with an elegant and minimalistic design, an obje d'art.


August 18, 2009, 10:13 pm

Fair enough, but my other point was, this article showing WDTV2 isn't a production model.

The following are pictures of the WDTV1 (though they are promotional shots, it must be said) which show that it's much fancier in reality:




Youtube may offer more realistic "real-world" settings though, but I'm sure you can find your way there :).

Mathew White

August 19, 2009, 1:47 pm

looking at that last shot (http://www.wdtv.com.au/imag... I still think it just looks too small. My designer's brain would like to see that about twice as wide and half as tall. You just kinda get the feeling that a light breeze could blow it off the table. lol. I will give it kudos though for the actual on-screen displays, they look really smart whereas AppleTV seems to just deliver a ton of junk from iTunes to promote stuff you'd rather eat your own flesh than watch. (usually starring Will Farrell)

Mathew White

August 19, 2009, 2:16 pm

here... a quick mock-up.. which works better...? www.yourwebworks.co.uk/wdtv... The remote is a TomTom remote by the way.. I'm not taking credit for the design, it just looks about a thousand times better than the piece of junk WD supply.


August 19, 2009, 7:00 pm

Mmm, I see what you mean, but then it starts looking like a DVD player to me. Not that that's a bad thing. Actually, I have a feeling the WDTV can also stand on its side, like a WD MyBook. Can't remember seeing a picture of it though.

On a side-note: Does anyone else have a plant placed next to their TV as in that picture?!


August 19, 2009, 7:59 pm

Ah crap, Amazon lowered their price to £64.35 and I bought one... I am sooo dead when the wife gets home :D.

P.S. Not sure about it standing on its side as there seem to be air vents on all sides.

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