Western Digital TV Live Hub Review

The Western Digital TV Live Hub is a compact and stylish media centre for the home. Despite its diminutive size, it contains a 1TB internal hard disk drive for local storage of media files, an Ethernet port for connection to your local network so that it may access and serve up files within that network environment, and A/V ports (HDMI and component) for connection to your TV.

The TV Live Hub is just a media centre and NAS storage device however, with the capability of being able to feed content to your TV. It does not have a TV tuner, nor the ability to install a USB based TV tuner. That’s a bit of a shame, as I think it would be a nice feature if this were also able to receive – and thus record – live free-to-air content. Were this the case, then it would also be performing the task of a video recorder, and in all honesty, I can think of no good reason why this should not be the case.

Except that it’s not. I expect that I’ll get over that …. about now.

Hookup is easy: use a HDMI or component cable set to connect its A/V output to your TV. Connect a standard Ethernet (cat 5) cable from your modem/router to the Live Hub, and the power plug into a convenient power point, and you’re ready to go. While there’s a power switch on the front panel, I expect that most owners will use the supplied remote control to operate this.

For most typical installations, the hub will automatically detect and sets its network settings.

Once turned on, it’s very easy and intuitive to use. On your TV set, select the appropriate input source for the way in which that you’ve connected the hub to your TV. Like many similar devices, there’s a horizontally scrolling menu from which you may choose the first level of functionality that you need. You then drill down through the relevant sections and options for the choices that you’ve made, using the arrow and OK buttons on the remote to navigate your way through the menu options offered.

When you’ve found the file that you want, just press OK and the file will either play or display, depending upon the correct contents for the type of file that you’ve selected.

As well as locally hosted content (stored on the internal 1TB disk drive) you can browse to other computers and network storage devices that are homed on your LAN, and there is also a set of pre-installed clients for popular internet services like YouTube. And while there’s an installed Pandora client, this service is unavailable to users who live outside of the USofA.

Content may be easily moved to the device from other computers on your LAN, just through using normal network access to the hub, and the hub also has two USB ports, which will allow you to attach a normal USB keyboard (to simplify input if need be) or to load and watch content that may be stored on an attached USB memory stick.

Support for full HD video output is provided, and output viewed on a suitable TV was excellent.

With the built-in 1TB disk drive, the TV Live Hub offers a compact and simple solution to the dual problems of network attached storage and having a media hub that can be accessed all the way throughout your household.