Western Digital has launched an affordable HD Multimedia Player, a $130 compact and light weight media box that supports a wide variety of video, audio and photo formats. Unlike Apple Player, a built-in storage is not included. Contents are supported via attached an USB device, which includes company’s My Passport portable drives, up to two drives at once and playbacks to your displays via HDMI or component output. But the WD has better media supports and promises to deliver motion pictures at its full extend of HD format up to 1080p.
[updated : WD has released firmware 1.01.01 update for this media player]
MPEG-1/2/4, WMV9, AVI (MPEG-4, Xvid, AVC), H.264, Matroska (MKV), and MOV (MPEG-4 and H.264); including HD supports of MPEG2/4, H.264, and WMV9 supports up to 1080p at 24fps, 1080i at 30fps, and 720p at 60fps are among many advanced video codecs of the WD media player capable of. The Apple TV, on the other hand, supports lower resolution of HD videos up to 720p at 24fps or 540p at 30 fps.
Video is not the only media format the WD excels. For audio, it reads MP3, WMA, OGG, WAV, PCM, LPCM, AAC, FLAC, Dolby Digital, AIFF, and MKA files; together with the support of PLS, M3U, and WPL playlists and SRT subtitle. For images, it supports JPEG, GIF, TIFF, BMG, and PNG.
The WD HD Media player comes with kit package, which includes a remote control, a free software convertor for PC (ArcSoft MediaConverter 2.5), and the media player. Available at BestBuy for additional discount, the WD will relieve you of $99.