Western Digital launches 1080p HD network media player

Western Digital has introduced its WD TV Live Plus HD media player product, offering streaming access to Netflix and other popular online destinations.

The media player can be connected to support streaming media from PCs, HDDs, or any NAS-based product.  It includes full 1080p video playback, which should help make it appealing to a larger audience.  Also, WD has listened to some customer demand and included both Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections, which isn’t included in some rival products.

Western Digital launches 1080p HD network media player

It also uses USB 2.0, HDMI, Ethernet, SPDIF, but doesn’t include a built-in wireless card — it should work with USB wireless devices, with easy onscreen setup using the device’s remote control.

“While Netflix can be found on an increasing number of products such as Internet TVs, Blu-ray players, video game consoles, and other stand-alone devices, the WD TV live Plus HD media player is unique as it allows digital media buffs to access and play all of their own personal HD media stored anywhere on their network or USB drives,” said Dale Pistilli, WD President of marketing.

In addition to Netflix, WD is including support for YouTube, Flickr, Pandora, and other popular websites.  The device doesn’t have internal storage for a HDD, so all content is played from a PC or the cloud.

The Western Digital WD TV Live Plus HD media player is available now with a $149.99 MSRP.

Western Digital is still known for HDDs and solid state drive products, so this is an interesting move that I think will help them branch into new product categories.