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Linux Powered WD TV Live Plus Reviewed

Oct 21, 2010, 19:32 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Sean Michael Kerner)


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"In the last couple of years a flood of media player devices have hit the market. The goal of the media player is to enable consumers to bring their PC and online media content to their living room television sets. The WD TV Live Plus is the newest such device from Western Digital, a vendor perhaps best known for its hard drive and storage technologies. With the WD TV Live Plus, Western Digital is delivering a device that streams a wide array of content to HDTVs including Netflix and YouTube as well as media from network attached and USB storage. The Device

"The WD TV Live Plus is a small device, measuring 1.57"(H) x 3.94"(D) x 4.94"(W), weighing in at 0.67 pounds (yeah, it's small). There are two USB 2.0 ports (one front, one side), composite A/V (RCA), component video, HDMI and a 100 Mbps Ethernet port. There is no fan, just two exhaust vents on the sides of the device. Yes, this box can get a little bit hot, but it's silent.

"There is no on/off switch for the device: The included remote control is the only way (short of unplugging the unit) to turn it on or off. The remote handles all the media operations, providing the usual forward/back and play/pause buttons.

"Digging into the underlying operating system internals, Western Digital doesn't detail much in the user manual, but does give us a hint with a sentence that notes that the device includes open source software. The company also provides a link to its GPL code download location. Code licensed under the GPL is open source code that requires vendors to make it available to all users. A quick look at the WD's GPL code reveals that the WD TV Live Plus runs a Linux kernel as the underlying embedded operating system."

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