I have been watching the development of the firmware for this device since I first purchased it and it appears WD have acknowledged problems with the HDMI sound and fixed them, so…
I have re-procured the WD TV Live Plus from Best Buy (now it’s on sale and $20 cheaper) and have hooked it up exactly as before. So far, it looks like it’s working! I’ll post more in the near future.
Didn’t know the near future would come so quickly…I’ve had it on for an hour and the power supply seems to have quit. Measured the output voltage…zero! Time for a swap.
Swapped out the power supply only at Best Buy. Started watching our first Netflix HD movie last night, but couldn’t stay awake. However, what I did see looked great and no sound problems at all!
There have been several updates and additions since I first reviewed this device. A lot has been added. First glance shows that support for Blockbuster and Deezer are part of the package. Since I’m using Netflix at the moment, I probably won’t take the time to set up a Blockbuster account, unless somebody can give me a good reason.
My use is planned to be pretty specific, mainly for watching movies from my hard drive and Netflix and perusing You Tube and Facebook. We’ll see if what else piques my interest.
Here’s my review of the WD TV Live Plus HD Media Player…or at least my experience!
So here’s my situation. I procured one of these little gems (firmware version 1.03.29_B) on the advice of a friend who was very impressed by it and uses it all the time. “Sure, why not,” I thought. I already have Verizon FIOS digital cable with HD DVRs, over-the-air HD, and a Windows HTPC. Oh, and a Slingbox and a Hava…almost forgot. Why not add a WD TV Live Plus to the mix?
This is really a cool, little device…and I do mean little. You can see from my first picture that it is swamped by the cables and power supply. If you fail to stick the little rubber feet on it (they come on a small adhesive-backed sheet) then the cables will push the lightweight (303 grams or about 2.2 ounces) unit around. There are rubber feet for the bottom, as shown, and the side, if you want to stand it on it’s end.
When I installed the tile and my homemade mantel around the fireplace in our bedroom, I planned for some type of electronics to sit on the mantel by installing some power, ethernet cable and a 4-banger keystone jack wall plate.
If you follow the HDMI cable from the back of the WD device, you’ll see it plugs into the HDMI keystone jack. On the other side (in the wall) is another HDMI cable that plugs into the back side of the keystone jack and runs up the wall to another keystone jack located behind the LG plasma TV. So basically, there are three HDMI cables between the unit and the TV.
Behind the TV is another quad keystone jack and power. This 4-banger has the HDMI connector from below, an ethernet cable (just in case I need it for something) and two RG-6 coax outlets. One of the RG-6 outlets is fed from a standard over-the-air TV antenna and the other is fed from my RF modulators that modulate the outputs of my two DVRs into a single feed that is fed to TVs all over the house, including this one. These feeds are not HD, but they allow us to watch the same TV program simultaneously in any room in the house. It’s great for when you are working, cleaning or whatever and you want to have “background TV” as we call it. You know, one of those Julia Roberts movies you’ve seen a million times…
You can see from my setup that I don’t want anything too large on the mantel in the bedroom.
Well anyway, back the real reason for this post.
When I finally got around to setting this up, I found that it was really easy and intuitive. In fact, I didn’t start reading any directions until I found that I didn’t have any audio over my HDMI connection. I found the setting under the Audio/Video setup where you specify digital audio. This is what you need to do if you are using TOSLINK or HDMI, since both of these are digital audio.
I started watching a Netflix video…no sound. I switched over to audio on Pandora…no sound. I browsed over to MediaFly and, all of a sudden, the audio started working. I watched for a few minutes and then went to bed.
Now it’s tomorrow and I’m checking it out again. No sound. Time for some troubleshooting. I’m going to start by using one HDMI cable between the TV and the WD box and see how that goes.
I plugged a six foot HDMI cable in the back of the unit and directly into the TV…same issue…no sound. Picture is great, just like before.
Might have a bad WD TV Live Plus…
I returned the unit and got a new one. No sound. I switched the audio modes, same result. Turned TV on and off, changed TV inputs…still nothing. Browsed over to MediaFly, didn’t get any sound…then all of a sudden, I have sound! Just like last night. Now I’m watching and listening to cabernet wine reviews. How long will this last?
Well, I found out. While it was operating correctly with sound, I unplugged/plugged the HDMI cable and it continued to work. I changed inputs on the TV and turned the TV off and on and it continued to work. I switched between media on the WD and it continued to work. My last test was to turn off the WD TV Live player and turn it back on. It was at this point that the audio went away again. So, I’ve had two players that do the exact same thing. This suggests to me that there is a firmware issue. I wish I could get hold of the new firmware that is in beta and test it out.
I entered a question on WD’s web site. The text follows.
I am on my second WD TV Live Plus player. I returned the first one. I can sometimes get sound when using HDMI. The audio is set to digital. When switching around, the sound suddenly starts working. You can read all my troubleshooting on my blog: https://idoneitmyself.wordpress.com/2010/07/31/no-hdmi-sound-from-wd-tv-live-plus-hd-media-player-on-lg-42pc3-dv/
The first response (extra stuff removed):
Thank you for contacting Western Digital Customer Service and Support. My name is Jose N..
Have you verified that HDMI is the output selected if you can get the unit to work using the analog cables? See page 41 of the user manual below.
How long is the HDMI cable that you use and does it make a solid physical connection to your WDTV? Does the cable work on any other devices such as a DVD player? Does the WDTV work through HDMI on any other TV or receiver than the one you tried?
I hope that we have met your expectations today and that you are satisfied with our service. If you have any further questions, please reply to this email and we will be happy to assist you further.
Western Digital Service and Support
So my first thought is they really didn’t read my question because the HDMI is working…it’s just that the audio is not consistently working.
The HDMI cable is 6 ft long. I have several HDMI cables that I’ve tried. Like I said in my original problem statement, once the sound works, it continues to work unless I turn the device off.
So, is this a verified HDMI cable problem? Is the HDMI cable responsible for sound that is sometimes there and sometimes not? My electrical engineering background makes me believe it is a faulty design on an HDMI transmitter chip.
If there is a "special" HDMI cable that is required for this device then WD should provide it in the box. It is unreasonable to believe that I should go around shopping for a special HDMI cable, when the cables I have work on all my other equipment. Heck, I have a 25 foot cable running from my Verizon FIOS DVR and it works perfectly fine.
Here’s what I need to know:
1. Is my sound problem a verified problem that is caused by an HDMI cable?
2. What are the measurable specifications of an HDMI cable that works with the device?
3. Should I return the unit again and try another one in six months after the bugs are worked out?