Upping the ante in the ever-competitive streaming set-top box market, Western Digital this morning announced that its newest WD TV Live media player is the first to include Spotify, the popular streaming music service that recently launched in the U.S..
Like previous models, the new Wi-Fi-enabled device, which is priced at $100, also provides access to several streaming video services, including Blockbuster, CinemaNow, Hulu Plus, and Netflix, plus Pandora's Internet radio service.
But it's the inclusion of Spotify—which has also been added to the company's other streaming player, the WD TV Live Hub, with 1TB of internal storage—that sets the new WD TV Live box apart from its competitors, at least for the time being. Western Digital says that Spotify's popular features, such as the ability to create and manage Spotify playlists, share songs with Spotify friends, and see and subscribe to friends' playlists, remain intact on the player. It appears that the player supports only the $10-per-month Spotify Premium music service, which has no ads, better sound quality, several off-line modes, and the ability to play music on mobile devices.
In addition to Spotify, both the WD TV Live and the TV Live Hub now also include Dailymotion, a video service that provides user-generated content, plus videos from independent content creators.
WD TV Live can connect to a home network using either Wi-Fi or a wired Ethernet connection, and it includes two USB ports, a single HDMI output, and support for 1080p video. The unit comes with a composite video output for
Unlike an earlier version, it doesn't have any legacy video connections for connecting to older TVs that lack HDMI inputs. [Note: WD clarified the outputs for us after we posted the story-Ed.]
The new WD TV Live media player is available now, both directly from the company and at a number of retailers.
—James K. Willcox