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WD's Elements Play: Storage, Media Player in One

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 16 comments

Combine a huge HDD and HDMI output and you have the WD Elements Play.

Hard drive manufacturer Western Digital quietly announced a stand-alone device for HD media playback. Called the WD Elements Play, the device packs either a 1TB or 2TB internal drive, component, composite, and HDMI connections. This makes it ideal for media storage and easy playback for any standard or HDTV.

"An easy, affordable way to supersize your movies and photos on your big-screen TV, and play your music collection on your home entertainment center," the company said. "Simply connect the drive to the TV and you’re ready to enjoy all your digital media in Full-HD 1080p resolution."

The WD Elements Play provides Full HD video picture quality (1080p) and DTS 2.0 digital audio. It also has several USB 2.0 ports and supports popular formats like RMVB, H264, MKV, PLS, M3U and more. Automatic Play lets the user select a media file to play when the unit boots while an easy, intuitive interface provides DVD-like navigation, photo slideshow capabilities and more.

So far Western Digital hasn't provided pricing or availability.

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  • 0 Hide
    ananke , August 9, 2010 6:10 PM
    So, this is WD Live with a HDD slot inside? Anybody knows what chipset they used in this? Is it Netflix capable?
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    puddleglum , August 9, 2010 6:25 PM
    So how do you get the media on the player to begin with? Just over USB? I don't see any inputs for a tuner/DVD/CD etc.
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    chomlee , August 9, 2010 6:26 PM
    Other than using a 3.5" drive, it doesn't sound like this is anything really new.

    I have a Patriot Box Office that I got from newegg for $140.00 total with a 500 gig 2.5" HD and it works great. I think the only thing that is needed now is the availability of Hulu, netflix, NBC Universal plugins etc. These are the things that Boxee Box was going to change but that has been delayed until november.
  • Display all 16 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    chomlee , August 9, 2010 6:31 PM
    puddleglumSo how do you get the media on the player to begin with? Just over USB? I don't see any inputs for a tuner/DVD/CD etc.

    The beauty of these devices is that if they are network capable, they are seen as a drive on the network that can be copied to etc. So, the answer to your question is that mainly you move files through the usb connection but you can also transfer them over the network if you have a box with a network connection.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 9, 2010 6:41 PM
    as interesting as this sounds i much prefer to see a WD live with eSata connections, gigabit LAN and HDMI 1.4 capabilities, that will just rock especially if they allow it to accept external blu-ray drives
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    nevertell , August 9, 2010 6:44 PM
    chomleeOther than using a 3.5" drive, it doesn't sound like this is anything really new. I have a Patriot Box Office that I got from newegg for $140.00 total with a 500 gig 2.5" HD and it works great. I think the only thing that is needed now is the availability of Hulu, netflix, NBC Universal plugins etc. These are the things that Boxee Box was going to change but that has been delayed until november.

    Boxee FTW!!!
  • 0 Hide
    Gigahertz20 , August 9, 2010 8:11 PM
    nevertellBoxee FTW!!!



    The Boxee Box is not going to be a good media player for those that like to watch HD movies with high bitrates. It has been reported that it will either not play or have trouble playing anything over > 10Mbps. So if you are a torrent person that downloads high bitrate .mkvs or you want to rip your bluray collection and be able to play them back, forget about it. Stick to the decode engines of the Sigma Design processors in the WD TV Live/Plus and the Popcorn Hour line of players if you value high bitrate play back.


  • 1 Hide
    ares1214 , August 9, 2010 8:36 PM
    Thats nice...I care more about GF108 and Bulldozer info though :p 
  • 0 Hide
    Gigahertz20 , August 9, 2010 8:37 PM
    No wired/wireless networking support kills it for me. Also there is no component video output like this article states, the official site says it has component video in the specs as well but the pictures of the device and the interactive 3D view show that it does not.

    This product should be called a media storage player because that is all it can do, play back movies stored on the internal HD. No internet, no network, no ability to play back your movies stored on network shares = fail.
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    tranzparentl , August 9, 2010 9:36 PM
    Popcorn Hour FTW! but seriously, an internal HDD is the main reason the popcorn hours are so much better than the other devices. Maybe this one will be decent. Competition is always good.
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    dstln , August 9, 2010 10:08 PM
    If the price is right, this could be pretty amazing if it works well as an external as well as a media player. Could certainly replace my external for its uses. And yes, I certainly hope it has component (and even s-video) outputs on release. No mention of s-video yet but it has component on the page too, although nowhere to be seen on the product so far.
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    dEAne , August 10, 2010 3:48 AM
    I have bought lots of WD media players but none of its internal HDD. I will try this one.
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    steiner666 , August 10, 2010 4:25 AM
    i personally would rather just have the WD TV HD Live or whatever and use cat5 to let it stream from PC as well as have internet connection for youtube and such. This would be good for someone who needs more simplicity and/or portability though, especially if the price is right. If these run for much over $200 i dont think many ppl will find them worth it.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 10, 2010 1:26 PM
    Gigahertz20,

    WDTV uses a barrel plug with four contacts for component video. That's why you aren't seeing the typical trio of RCA connectors.

    It would be awesome if they used a port multiplier aware sata interface internally so that we could hack in multiple drives. The current WDTV Live makes a decent media server but can only use USB drives locally.
  • 0 Hide
    beachbod , August 11, 2010 6:44 AM
    Not saying this is bad but I use my wii with homebrew installed to do that.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 11, 2011 8:11 AM
    I must say I was so dissapointed after ownig a first gen wdtv then buying one of these wd elements play, thinking that it should be way way better. Although the first gen wdtv is slow to move in menus, it does not crap itself like the wd elements play. At least the wdtv first gen worked and was able to show thumbnails. I have now purchased a wdtv live hub, the hub is 1000x better than the elements play. What ever you do do not buy the wd elements play until they have fixed the interface. At the time of writing this review the firmware was 1.01.10 and has not been updated for 6 months. I would never let anyone i knew buy one, I can not convey in words how bad it is when you compare it to all the other wdtv products.
    Buy a wdtv live/wdtv live hub. Do not buy a "wd elements play". Hope this saves you my pain.

    You do not know what you are missing out on if u are using one of these, this is western digitals worst player ever. Don't believe me google "wd elements play not showing thumbnails"