WD TV Live: New 1.01.11 firmware update available, plus our Wi-Fi test results


As the self-proclaimed “biggest fan of the WD TV Live” ’round these parts, I figured I owed it to my fellow enthusiasts to share some good news about this lovely HD media player. Western Digital has released the first new firmware update, 1.01.11, for its WD TV Live box o’ fun.

Unlike its older sibling, the WD TV, the new, Internet-connected WD TV Live HD media player can download and install firmware updates directly via Wi-Fi / ethernet. If you are not automatically prompted to download the new 1.01.11 update the next time you turn the device on and connect to the Web (as I was) for some reason, follow these simple directions:

  • Turn your WD TV Live on
  • Make sure you are connected to the Net
  • Navigate into “Settings”
  • Select “Upgrade Firmware” (or something along those lines)
  • Sit back, enjoy a nice beverage, and let the Live take care of the rest

So what all is included in this first firmware update? Quite a lot, actually…at least according to the official release notes (PDF). But let’s just check out the highlights (per WD’s product update page):

* Added more USB WLAN adapter support. Click here for list of compatible adaptors.
* Added cover art display function when viewing music files in album view.
* Added user selectable on/off for fade in and fade out effect while browsing files.
* Resolved issue of no audio when there is only a single, center channel audio stream in a video.
* Other bug fixes and product improvements (see release notes).

Great, so now we’re all on the same page firmware. With that out of the way, I want to share my recent experience using Wi-Fi on the WD TV Live, as I was only able to test a wired ethernet connection back when I did our initial hands-on review.

For testing purposes, I made sure to use one of the approved Wi-Fi USB adapters per this list. Thus, I used the Belkin F5D8055 N+ Wireless USB Network Adapter (with my wireless G Linksys router).

Generally speaking, the WD TV Live’s network and Internet capabilities worked as advertised. I was able to stream video (non-HD, full DVD quality rips) over my home network with little to no noticeably latency. Connecting to and streaming videos from YouTube (including HD) worked like a charm, albeit with some (expected) buffering hiccups here and there. Connecting to Pandora and Live365 both worked very well, and streaming audio over my home network was a breeze, complete with album art being displayed.

Perhaps the most helpful feature (at least for me), is the ability to copy and paste new media files on the attached storage. In other words, I was able to copy a newly ripped movie from my desktop in the office, over the home network, and onto the attached hard drive. While not the quickest of transfers, I experience no problems copying/moving/deleting files over Wi-Fi, and thus have eliminated any need to physically move the hard drive to add new media to in the future. All in all, I give the Live’s Wi-Fi capabilities two thumbs up.