updated 09:00 am EST, Mon November 3, 2008
WD TV HD Media Player
Western Digital on Monday took its own turn at media hubs by introducing the HD TV Media Player. In place of using a network connection, the company is taking advantage of its skill with external storage to let users locally transfer content: users can attach up to two USB hard drives, certain portable media players or other devices (including the company's MyBook drives) and browse the contents of the drive with an on-screen menu and a bundled remote.
In a unique approach, the Media Player merges the content of two USB drives into a single pool of media and uses both file names and metadata for menus and the search process, so those with incomplete music or video tags can still find content.
Visual playback is also advanced and supports video up to and including 1080p over an HDMI linkup, albeit in unspecified formats; the Apple TV and most other hubs are currently limited to 720p or 1080i. An RCA output also gives the device standard-definition compatibility with lower-resolution sets.
Western Digital says its take on TV media playback should be available today and is priced at about $130 without any pre-supplied storage.