External storage solutions specialist Western Digital introduced the WD TV Live Plus HD media player, which makes it possible for Netflix members to instantly watch TV episodes and movies on their HD television set. The Netflix interface enables members to browse and add movies to their instant Queue on the Netflix Website from the television, as well as stream personalized Internet content from YouTube, Flickr, Pandora and Live365, in addition to the MediaFly network, which includes daily podcasts from CNN, NBC, MTV, ESPN and other online content providers.
Covered by a one-year limited warranty, the media player lists for $149.99.
The on-screen menu brings together all of the users' available media, while the network capability enables users to stream movies from PC or Mac computers. Compatible with Microsoft Windows 7, the media player also enables the Windows 7 Play To feature so users can initiate and control the streaming of video, music or photos to the media player and home entertainment systems from a Windows 7-based PC on their network.
Similar to the Western Digital models that preceded it, the TV Live Plus HD connects directly to a user's HDTV and plays nearly any file stored on a connected USB drive such as portable hard drives. It also features media processing strength that enables playback in full-HD 1080p resolution. In addition, the device plays movies, music and photos stored on other USB devices such as digital camcorders and digital cameras.
According to research firm Parks Associates, the average broadband household will see its digital media storage needs grow to nearly 900GB by year-end 2014. Parks' findings reveal that the sales of connected consumer electronics devices, such as connected TVs and digital media adapters, is expected to more than double from 57 million units in 2009 to 115 million units in 2013.
"While Netflix can be found on an increasing number of products such as Internet TVs, Blu-ray players, video game consoles and other stand-alone devices, the WD TV Live Plus HD media player is unique as it allows digital media buffs to access and play all of their own personal HD media stored anywhere on their network or USB drives," said Dale Pistilli, vice president of marketing for Western Digital's branded products group. "At the same time they can easily stream Netflix, Pandora, YouTube and other Internet favorites to their HDTV."