It was nearly a year ago when storage giant Western Digital rolled out its WD TV HD Media Player, which consisted of mostly a tiny box with a USB port and HDMI and composite-video output and a remote control. The idea was to attach your external hard drive to the device, then send your media on said drive to your HDTV. There's something to be said for simple solutions, but the WD had some crucial limitationsmost importantly, no way to connect it to your home network (where most of your video files likely live)
and no support for 1080p (or "full HD") video files.
Given the large number of competitors that have jumped into the marketplace with more well-rounded devices than the WD TV, it should come as no surprise that Western Digital has just announced a new version that addresses these shortcomings. The WD TV Live HD Media Player (note the added word to the product name) now hits the same bar as the competition, featuring an Ethernet port to connect to your home network. It also adds a second USB port, as well as component-video and SPDIF digital audio output (for Dolby Digital surround sound support). Additionally thrown in is support for online media services from usual suspects Flickr, Live365, Pandora, and YouTube, though no streaming video offerings from Netflix or Amazon.
One advantage the WD TV Live HD has over its even more full-featured brethren is its low price: $149.99. That makes the inevitable wireless adapter add-on more palatable, though there's no word on how much that will cost. And if you still only need the features of the original WD TV, it's just $99.99.