Western Digital has introduced a new media player, WD TV Play, that aims to take the Apple TV head on.
Like the Apple TV, WD TV Play is a media streamer that lets users play content from popular services like YouTube, Netflix and Hulu Plus, as well as other services like Pandora and Spotify. However, unlike the Apple TV, WD TV Play users can also play their own media via USB drive.
Apple TV users of course have access to the content available in Apple's iTunes store, as well as content shared on the local network via iTunes Home Sharing. WD TV Play, on the other hand, uses industry standard protocols to enable streaming of content available on computers on the same network.
WD TV Play is capable of playing full-HD content and comes with a USB port, a HDMI port, composite video out, optical audio out, Ethernet port and in-built Wi-Fi. A full-fledged remote is bundled, though users can also download smartphone apps to control the unit. WD TV Play also supports casual gaming as well as RSS feeds. You can even hook-up an external keyboard via the USB port for getting to that YouTube video quickly.
All in all, the WD TV Play looks like the complete media playing solution for most users. At $69.99, it's around 30 dollars cheaper than the Apple TV and the Roku 2 XS, another popular offering that offers similar capabilities.
We got in touch with Western Digital to check on plans to introduce the product in the India market, and the company said there's no definite India launch date as of now. The company expects to have clarity on India availability soon.
WD TV Play specifications
Video - AVI (Xvid, AVC, MPEG4, VC-1), MKV (H.264, x.264, AVC, MPEG4, VC-1), TS/TP/M2T/M2TS (MPEG4, AVC, VC-1), MP4/MOV (MPEG4, AVC), WMV9, FLV (AVC)
Photo - JPEG, GIF, TIF/TIFF, BMP, PNG
Audio - MP3, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA, AAC, FLAC, MKA, AIF/AIFF, OGG, Dolby TrueHD
Playlist - PLS, M3U, WPL, M3U8, XML, CUE
Subtitle - SRT, ASS, SSA, SUB, SMI, MKV (embedded sub)
Interface - Ethernet, USB 2.0, HDMI, Composite A/V, Wi-Fi, Optical audio