Western Digital has added a new model to its WD TV media streaming series to include a set-top that's priced to compete with Roku's affordable options. While the WD TV Live and WD TV Live Hub typically go for $100 or more, Western Digital is selling the WD TV Play for only $70, putting it right in the middle of its rival's four-unit lineup, presumably targeting the Roku 2 HD, which goes for around $70 to $80.
Spec-wise, the 4.17 x 4.13 x 1.07-inch box offers integrated Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB 2.0, HDMI, composite A/V and optical audio connectivity. It supports a slew of audio, video, photo, playlist and subtitle types, with certain video formats (such as H.264 MP@L4.1 and HP@4.1) being supported at 1080p (you'll find all the codec and resolution details here). Of note, Ethernet and USB ports are missing on the Roku 2 HD.
As you'd expect, the WD TV Play packs software for various online services with 28 listed on its product page, including Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Vimeo, Vudu, CinemaNow, Pandora, Spotify, Facebook and Twitter. Notably absent is an Amazon Instant app, which seems to be one of the biggest dings against the device's score among many reviewers, though it's still earning solid ratings and many are praising its UI.
The WD TV Play's $70 asking price includes a remote with standard playback and navigation controls as well as sponsored buttons for quick access to Netflix, Vudu and Hulu. Western Digital also supplies folks with iOS 4.0+ and Android 2.1+ devices with a free WD TV Remote app, which adds gestures and an on-screen keyboard to the mix. The WD TV Play is available now directly through Western Digital's store.
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