Connected storage provider Western Digital launched a new addition to its WD TV Media Player line of products, the WD TV – Personal Edition. This streaming solution doesn't offer its own internal storage, but instead relies on the user's storage devices like a USB stick, external hard drive or a networked PC. Think of this as an alternative to Roku.
According to the company, the Personal Edition is similar to WD TV Live. That means this version includes Gigabit Ethernet and Wireless N connectivity, full 1080p resolution output, and the ability to play virtually any media file such as MKV, MP4, MPEG-4, FLV and AVI.
However, this model also comes packed with a new "Grid" user interface, allowing users to customize and organize their favorite apps on the home page. Users can also set up quick access to content folders by making shortcuts, and auto-run favorite apps at startup.
In addition to the new interface, the WD TV – Personal Edition includes Miracast, allowing users to wirelessly display their mobile device screen on an HDTV. The device also integrates media ratings from Flixster and RottenTomatoes.
WD's list of highlights shows that the WD TV – Personal Edition is an open platform. The company provides an SDK on the website for "hobbyist's aftermarket custom app development." These developers can run their custom apps straight from USB-based storage.
On the hardware front, the device features a USB 2.0 port on the front and a USB 2.0 port on the back. Also loaded on the back is an HDMI port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and optical output.
On the software front, users have access to YouTube, Hulu Plus, VUDU, SlingPlayer, Spotify, Pandora, Facebook and more; what you won't find is Netflix and Vimeo. To improve the navigation experience, WD offers the TV Remote app for iOS and Android so that users can turn their mobile device into a remote control for their media player.
WD's new media player costs $99.99 and can be purchased at select U.S. retailers and through WD's online store.