Tech Review: Western Digital WD TV


If you’re like me, you’ve collected more than a handful of digital movies, pictures and music – filling up your local hard dive until it grinds to a sluggish pace and squeals like a rented mule. Recently, I’ve began the mass exodus of my clusterfuck of files onto an external hard drive. Although it has freed up heaps of room on my computer, watching my favorite movie or wholesome Sean Cody episode has become more of a pain in the ass. Then along came a little box that has made my life a little bit easier – the WD TV from Western Digital.

It works like this: You plug in you hard drive to the WD TV box. You plug the box into your TV via HDMI or old school cables (composite audio/video). The WD TV box reads all the appropriate files on your hard drive and lets your browse it on your TV through a pretty and simple interface. Just find the file you want, and click play (tiny remote which you’ll probably lose down the crack of your couch is provided). So far, there hasn’t been any file that it hasn’t been able to read. It supports some pretty random formats and some new hi def formats, which will look all pretty on your new TV.

I haven’t played too much with the pictures, but the WD TV box allows you to create slide shows and the audio playback of MP3 files could be handy depending on your setup. Granted, I could probably achieve a similar result by getting some cables and connecting my Macbook to my TV, then connecting my External Hard Drive to my Macbook. That’s too much work for me and I’d like to cut the Notebook out of the equation whenever possible. Also, if a friend comes over with a little USB key and has some photos, music or a movie, I can just plug it in and go.

Depending on your home entertainment setup, this little box could come in very handy. Donovan, for example, has an Apple TV box, which would probably render the WD TV a lot less useful. But, for anyone who wants a quick way to plugin any hard drive to their TV via a nice little interface, I’d recommend it. I’ve seen these for sale at Best Buy and the last time I was at Costco, they ordered 20 trillion of them in. It retails for around $100.