Review: WD TV® Live Plus

06.9.10

The folks at Western Digital were kind enough to lend me a TV Live Plus player (WD TV Live). The TV Live Plus Player is an excellent add on for families, particularly families on a budget (that would be most of us, right?).

Here’s what the TV Live Plus is. It’s a little box that you attach to your television. It’s very small actually at 5 in x 4 in x 1.5 in, you could throw it in a bag when you travel.

So what you do is take this little box, plug it into the wall, plug it into your TV with cables or with an HDMI cable (I’d recommend that), and connect it to your router with an ethernet cable (or buy the wifi add-on, but trust me you want the ethernet cable for this). After you’ve done this you go through a very simple set up process with your favorite online entertainment channels, and voila, you’re streaming them all to your TV at Full-HD 1080p.

What’s new and different about the TV Live Plus is that you can actually pick out your Netflix movies from the unit. I know this might not seem revolutionary to you, but other brands and older players did not have a full integration, so in the past if you wanted to order a netflix movie, you’d have to go online to Netflix, add a movie to your queue, and then go back to your device and start streaming it. This is much better, much smarter. I have a competing brand’s player, and I’m enjoying this quite a bit more.

Did I mention it’s small? It’s the silverish device on top of the Playstation.

The TV Live Plus also streams YouTube, Flickr, Pandora, Live365, as well as the MediaFly network which includes daily podcasts from CNN, NBC, MTV, ESPN® and other online content providers. I’m pretty sure those folks at MediaFly must be so embarrassed that they aren’t streaming Momversation… right? (please???) Last night the kids and I watched about a half hour of Annoying Orange webisodes on the family room TV. The orange really is annoying, I’m including an episode here so you can get a good idea of just how much I love my children.

Did you see that? Now imagine watching eight episodes back to back with your son screaming “More! More!” and your daughter imitating the orange for hours thereafter.

I noticed that on Netflix there are tons of cartoons available. If you’re in TV mode with kids, this would save you a fortune, and you don’t have to watch commercials. Woot!

The TV Live Plus retails at $149, and has two USB ports so you can connect your hard drives to it and stream your own content. This is wonderful for home movies, music libraries, photographs or in store advertising.

It is imperfect in that the picture quality is not as good as what I get from my HD DirecTv input. However, I would compare the picture quality of this system to cable television. It’s a nice picture, but it’s not the crazy sharpness that prodded us into getting HD DirecTv. My husband is We are absolute snobs when it comes to watching sports on TV. So long as you have a good, fast internet connection the TV Live Plus will give you a nice high quality picture. If your internet connection drops out your picture will become more pixelated, but you will not experience buffering (you know the delay you sometimes get with online media), so if you’re enjoying a movie you might not notice very much at all. I think a short term drop in picture quality is MUCH better than a buffered movie.

Considering that we spend close to $140 a month to have DirecTv, I think a $149 TV Live Plus would be a great investment. If you couple it with an $8 a month Netflix subscription it’s a high quality, low cost solution.You could get it without netflix and just enjoy the free music services on it, and youtube. I think you can rent a number of movies on YouTube.

As a complete aside, I love that you turn the device off when you’re not using it. Unlike satellite and cable TV, it doesn’t bleed you of power day and night. I get really worked up about devices that run hot when no one’s using them, and this one shuts down completely. I appreciate that.

I’m thinking this could also be a great addition to any dorm room. You know… when the kids aren’t studying… because they’re studying most of the time, right?

Tech Talk Tuesday: The Technology In Our House

01.12.10

Rather than talking about shareware, new sites or apps, I’d like to tell you about the technology in my home. Everything we own, we own because we love it. Not a little, but a lot. When I’ve made purchasing mistakes, I’ve returned the item. So here’s the hardware that lives in my home.

Cameras

Kodak Zi6: Pretty in pink this has full HD capability and it’s what we all use for Momversation. We do not use it at 1080 because not all internet connections support that much content

Kodak Z18: Just about the same, but smaller and a little more ergonomic, it has a microphone jack, and you can get much better sound. It’s really cool. All speakers at the 140 Conference were given these.

Leica DLux: This is my personal camera. I am the snapshot queen. It takes great pictures, and the shutter speeds are great for sports too.

Canon 7d: this takes my breath away. My husband takes amazing pictures with it. I have been allowed to handle it once, but that’s about it. The lens he uses is this.

Kodak Easy Share: This is my daughter’s camera, it’s perfect for kids.

Printers

HP Office Jet G85: It’s a dinosaur, but it’s not broken and I see no good reason to replace it. I’m pretty sure my mom bought it for me about 7 years ago.

HP Deskjet F4280: My brother bought this for Jane’s 10th birthday, she loves it. I love that she has her own, my brother gets brownie points.

MP3 Players

There are four nanos and two iTouches in the house. They’re all just fine, but totally overpriced.

Cellular Phones

iPhone 3G: This is mine, it used to work, now it sucks.

iPhone 3GS: This belongs to my husband, I want to make it mine, only it’s not working well for me.

LG Neon: This is my daughter Jane’s phone. She got it for her 11th birthday, she loves everything about it. My 24 year old relative has the same one, so it’s not just for kids. The slide out QWERTY keyboard is very cool.

Computers

HP TouchSmart IQ846 Desktop: Now that I’ve had this a while, I should re-review it. I’ve added netflix and I’ve called for tech support on a few occasions. It is,without question, the best computer I’ve ever owned. When my husband edits photos on here, I want to pinch myself. – disclosure this was given to me to review from HP

HP Pavillion dv3 notebook: This was also given to me by HP for review. It is stunning and lightweight, the sound and picture quality is amazing, and there’s no reason that this couldn’t be the only computer in the house. It’s a workhorse that’s pretty.

iMac: Oh yeah, sometimes I do make mistakes. I still don’t know why I bought that, no one ever uses it.

Macbook Pro: Each of the kids has one of these in the 13 inch version. Combined with the Leopard operating system, this is the computer that you want for your younger child (I include my 11 year old as younger) the parental controls are spectacular with Leopard, and frankly, the computer came with it.

Macbook Pro 17 inch: My husband uses this as his traveling work computer. He likes it. It’s nice to watch movies on when you travel.

Television

Direct TV HD+: Can you just trust me on this one? Get it.You can put football on the computer.

Roku HD: This was given to everyone at a recent television taping. I really like it a lot. If you are into movies and on a budget, you could forego cable in favor of the Roku and the $8.99 a month netflix subscription. I wouldn’t, because I really like a lot of cable shows, but someone could.

DirecTv Releases their iPhone App

03.29.09

If you’re as addicted to your DVR as I am,then you’ll be the first to get this iPhone App for DirecTv.

You can get it at the App store at midnight tonight (or so I hear).

LA Tech Scene: We Have The Hottest Nerds In the World

03.26.09

I almost can’t write today, my liver is in a state of rebellion, my eyes are glassy and my brain is fried. However, I’ll sit here for a moment and give you a quick recap of Digital LA, where the nerds are beautiful.

The plan was for me to carpool with Kim Prince and meet my husband at Area for a Digital LA event. Long story short, the carpool didn’t work out timewise and I took a swanky Towncar. Guess what the towncar runs on? Compressed Natural Gas! Loved EvoLimo, the driver was lovely, I spoke to the owner on the phone, and if you’re in Los Angeles I would hope that you’d give them a try the next time you need a car service.*

I arrived at Area, waiting in line with everyone, and was immediately greeted by William Marc. He’s sporting a longer, pointier beard, but reliably wearing his black shirt (awesome with the beard) and taking pictures of all.

wm-marc-via-jim-alden-techfrog

As promised Nina showed…

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