Western Digital WD TV Live Plus Review

Western Digital’s amped up WD TV Live Plus goes beyond Netflix with Flickr, Pandora, DVD menu support, control through Windows, and more.
Western Digital’s amped up WD TV Live Plus goes beyond Netflix with Flickr, Pandora, DVD menu support, control through Windows, and more.
Western Digital’s amped up WD TV Live Plus goes beyond Netflix with Flickr, Pandora, DVD menu support, control through Windows, and more.


  • Supports Netflix, Pandora, Live365, Flickr, MediaFly
  • Extremely small, silent
  • Excellent file support, including VOB
  • Windows 7 “Play To” capability
  • Plentiful outputs for any TV
  • Included component and composite cables
  • Relatively inexpensive


  • Crippled clients for some services
  • No built-in Wi-Fi
  • No support for copy protection
  • Occasionally befuddling interface
  • Some bugs with Windows 7 “Play To”
  • No included HDMI cable

western digital wd tv live plus reviewIntroduction

When a $150 box that could fit in your back pocket now does much of what a hulking $1,200 home theater PC used to do – without making so much of a whisper – it should come as little surprise that set-top boxes for digital media have taken off. Western Digital’s WD TV Live Plus brings full 1080p resolution to the table, plus compatibility with Netflix, Pandora, and the ability to stream files over a home network, along with advanced extras like DVD menu support and Windows 7 “Play To” capability.

western digital wd tv live plus reviewFeatures and Design

The Live Plus isn’t much to behold out of the box, but unless you like to bask in a chorus of blinking LEDs below your TV, that’s a good thing. Like one of Western Digital’s My Box drives, the slate grey box has a bookish design with a rounded front face akin to a book binding, but a footprint more like a pocket dictionary than a novel. Around back, you’ll find a power port, USB port, HDMI port, digital audio output, an Ethernet jack, and two 3.5mm jacks: One for composite cables, one for component cables. The only lights on the front correspond to a power indicator and USB indicator up front.

The box supports a number of online services, including Pandora, Live 365, Netflix, YouTube, and Mediafly, which aggregates content from a number of other services. It also supports most common media formats, including XviD, H.264, AVC, and some oddballs typically found on high-end players, like VOB (which lets you preserve the entire menu structure of a DVD). See the spec list at the end of the review for a full list of formats.


The Western Digital WD TV Live Plus comes with every cable you need – short of the one you’ll probably actually use to hook it up. You’ll find composite audio and video cables, component video cables, a power adapter, and AAA batteries for the included remote. Conspicuously missing: an HDMI cable, which you’ll need to get the full 1080p video quality that’s one of the biggest selling points for the Live Plus.

western digital wd tv live plus review


Adding the WD TV Live Plus to the jumble of equipment already crowding up your home theater cabinet is about as “plug-and-play” as you could hope for a device this capable. Pop the DC adapter in a free outlet for power, string an HDMI cable to it, and hope that it’s close enough to your router to run some CAT5. Twenty seconds later, you’re done.

Like the ViewSonic VMP75, the Live Plus supports Wi-Fi, but you’ll need to buy a third-party adapter to enable it. Western Digital supplies a full list of compatible devices online.

If you want to stream music and video from a network-connected PC, you’ll need to make sure it’s running a uPnP server. Sound complicated? It’s really not: Windows Media Player 12 will do it natively, just make sure to enable media streaming. Software like TVersity can also transcode files on the fly to support file formats the WD TV Live Plus HD won’t handle, just as it will for the Xbox 360 and other media streamers.


How you can share your best gaming moments with friends on the PS4

Check out Digital Trends' quick guide to everything you need to know to save your outstanding PlayStation 4 gameplay moments, share them online, and transfer them to your computer.
Home Theater

Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Amazon Prime: Battle of the on-demand streaming giants

Trying to figure out which subscription streaming service to use while sticking to a frugal entertainment budget? Check out our updated comparison of the big three: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu.
Home Theater

Everything to know about Sling TV: Channels, pricing, and more

Sling TV has grown a great deal since its launch. Now there are more channels and more packages to chose from, with prices to match, and more is being added all the time. Everything you need to know is right here.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.

Take a gander at the best deals on 4K TVs for February 2019

There's no doubt that a good 4K smart TV is the best way to take your home entertainment setup to the next level to enjoy all your favorite shows, movies, and games in glorious Ultra HD. We've got the best 4K TV deals right here.

Don't know what to do with all your old DVDs? Here's how to convert them to MP4

Given today's rapid technological advancements, physical discs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Check out our guide on how to convert a DVD to MP4, so you can ditch discs for digital files.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best movies you’ll find on Hulu right now (February 2019)

From dramas to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Home Theater

They were robbed! From Crowe to Pacino, 10 times Oscar voters got it wrong

With the 91st Oscars rapidly approaching, now is a fine time to look back at several Oscar-worthy performances that were completely ignored by the Academy, as well as others that were nominated and astoundingly denied the little naked…
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: Yesterday, Tolkien, Triple Frontier, and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's trailers for Yesterday, Tolkien, Aladdin, Frozen 2, and Triple Frontier.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: Deadpool 2, The Umbrella Academy, and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Deadpool 2, The Umbrella Academy, Lorena, and more.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (February 2019)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.