New Western Digital Media Player Offers Blockbuster On Demand

Western Digital Inc. Oct. 26 unveiled an updated media player that for the first time grants users access to transactional video-on-demand movies from Blockbuster. The WD TV Live Hub media center, which is available exclusively from Best Buy for $199.99, also features Netflix streaming, Pandora music, YouTube videos, Flickr photo sharing, AccuWeather.com, and MediaFly repurposed video podcasts from ESPN, CNN, NBC and MTV, among others. Media players, including devices from Roku, Seagate, and Netgear, among others, represent conduits linking the Internet with the television. With consumer electronics products such as connected HDTVs and Blu-ray Disc players expected to be a key holiday retail item, standalone media players are increasing content selections, compatibility and hard drive capacity to remain competitive. Indeed, the WD TV Live Hub features 1TB storage capacity, two USB ports, HDMI connection and wireless connectivity (with separate adaptor). The customizable user interface enables personalization of screen backgrounds and user interface themes, as well as setting of favorites and content ratings. Standard wired or wireless USB keyboards can be used for text input for activities such as searches of local content and YouTube and Facebook interaction. “Connected media players are an exciting new category that is helping to redefine home entertainment,” said Wendy Fritz, SVP, computing, at Best Buy. During an Oct. 25 demonstration of the media center, Jeff Chen, senior product marketing manager for Western Digital, said the box is Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) compliant, allowing it to communicate with most other connected devices found in living rooms. “So far people have been extremely impressed with it,” he said.

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