- Editor's Rating
- Tons of video options
- Dynamic icons and widgets
- Occasionally clunky menus
- No error messages (if something doesn't work, you won't know why)
The TV Play is the newest smart player in Western Digital’s line of media streaming devices. Originally displayed at CES 2013, the WD TV Play has received an Editor’s Choice nod from DesktopReview for its high volume of video options and its low price.
Priced at $69.99 USD at the time of the review, the WD TV Play is $30 less expensive than the company’s previous smart player, the WD TV Live. The device supports subscription video streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix, radio streaming services like Pandora and Spotify, and web portals such as YouTube and Vimeo. Users can also stream live TV with the inclusion of Slingbox’s Slingplayer app.
The WD TV Play has a modern black design with blue trim and a blue LED indicator light. It’s compact and weighs just over five ounces. The back of the device features HDMI, composite and optic audio out puts, along with a gigabit Ethernet port and an AC power jack. There is also a USB port on the side of the device where users can plug in USB drives to play their own content through the WD TV Play. Users can also play their own content via network share on a PC or a network attached storage box.
Western Digital has updated the user interface and remote control for their newest smart player. DTR found the user interface is much more efficient than previous versions, but noted it’s not perfect and doesn’t stand up to the UIs on Apple TV or the Roku. The new UI showcases the WD TV Play’s dynamic application icons and widget features. DTR noted the AccuWeather application icon, which switched between a live weather update and a five-day forecast. The Facebook widget will also display notifications in real time. The redesigned remote control features three dedicated buttons preprogrammed for quick access to Netflix, Hulu and Vudu. Users can reprogram the remote if they don’t use those three services. Western Digital has also developed Android and iOS apps that turn a user’s smartphone or tablet into a remote for the WD TV Play. DTR found the iOS app worked smoothly, but had some difficulties getting the Android app to function properly.
Overall, DTR was impressed with the WD TV Play’s offerings, especially for the low price, noting the expansive video options and dynamic icons and widgets. Reviewers at DTR said “there is nothing on the market that offers as much as the WD TV Play for such a low price.” DTR did find that app selection became difficult with the different categories and pages, but was overall very impressed with the device.