Western Digital TV HD 1080P HDTV Media Player WDAVP00BE

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My first entry into media player territory.  Being an old computer hack I was a little leary of some of the offerings in this field, but the Western Digital name swayed me. 

The tiny size of the unit amazed me, smaller than an external drive, although somewhat thicker.  I loaded a few dvds onto a spare usb hard drive and also the updated firmware from the WD site.

Unit started up, and when I clicked on update, shut down and loaded the new firmware.  Next I checked out the settings and found a 1028 24p setting that suited the panasonic tv perfectly.

Picture was as good, if not better, as the picture from my upscaling DVD player.  Clicked on the options and subtitles worked fine, contrary to some reviews I had read.  Zooming in and out is reliable and effective.  The audio level was slightly lower than from the DVD player but suitable.

Now the experiments begin.  There are 2 usb connectors on the unit, but if you have a big collection of DVDs, the cost of large drives would be prohibitive.  Tried an unpowered usb hub and behold, hard drives, usb memory sticks were all present in the file folder.

Love the little unit, reliable and apparently well supported by WD.  Just have to see how it will handle 600+ DVDs.  The only downside I found was the supplied ArcSoft conversion software.  Converts to AVI but takes forever to do it.  Size appears to be 720 wide only.  I prefer to run on the DVD format even though the menu system requires multiple pushes to get the film playing.

All in all, a good player for a reasonalble price.  Thanks Western Digital.

Update 30/07/09: 4Tb. (2x 2tb.) drives fitted and dvds uploaded via esata ports.  Initial load into menu of WD takes 30+ seconds.  Latest firmware has improved subtitle readability.  Still love this little device.

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