For awhile, Roku use to be the only $99 streaming media player in the market that had built-in WiFi, support for 1080p and a great lineup of content. But this morning, Western Digital announced an updated version of their WD TV Live streaming player which now trumps Roku in terms of functionality. The new WD TV Live media player has built in WiFi, versus their previous model which didn't, full support for 1080p and supports local playback of content via USB.
While the Roku also has a USB port and supports the local playback of content, the WD TV Live supports more media formats than the Roku including AVI (Xvid, AVC, MPEG1/2/4), MPG/ MPEG, VOB, MKV (h.264, x.264, AVC, MPEG1/2/4, VC-1), TS/TP/M2T (MPEG1/2/4, AVC, VC-1), MP4/MOV (MPEG4, h.264), M2TS and WMV9. Wetern Digital's player also has content apps from Netflix, Hulu Plus, Facebook, YouTube, Blockbuster, CinemaNow, Pandora and others and also says they are the first device in their category to support Spotify.
I've gotten my hands on one of the new WD TV Live units and will be doing a full review of it shortly. Also, if you will be at the Streaming Media West show in LA on November 9th, executives from Western Digital will be doing a demo of the new device at 1:45pm. You can see those details on the show's agenda page here and that session will be free for anyone to attend.
This is a great time for consumers as there are now three new $99 streaming devices in the market with the Roku 2, Sony SMP-N200 and now the WD TV LIve player. And that's not all. Before the year is out, there will be two more $99 streaming media players released to the market from some other companies, details of which I will talk about when I am allowed.