Western Digital WD TV Mini media player

Western Digital's WD TV Mini is a small and versatile media player

Western Digital WD TV Mini
  • Western Digital WD TV Mini
  • Western Digital WD TV Mini
  • Western Digital WD TV Mini
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5

Pros

  • Support for a wide range of codecs and multiple file systems, attractive and responsive interface

Cons

  • No HDMI or 1080p playback, no H.264 or MKV file format support, photo browser can be difficult to navigate

Bottom Line

The WD TV Mini media player will work with almost any video, music or photo file you throw at it. Minor criticisms aside, this tiny black box is the perfect companion to older televisions or those with a spare component port.

Would you buy this?

Western Digital's WD TV Mini high media player might be small, but it can be used to access most types of video, audio or photo files from a USB external hard drive. Though lacking HDMI, the WD TV Mini is a perfect match for older televisions or those that have a spare component input.

Western Digital's full-sized WD TV was already quite small, but the WD TV Mini is the smallest media player we have seen yet. It doesn't have any internal storage but instead provides a USB port to which you can connect any external hard drive formatted in FAT32, HFS+ (used on Macs) or NTFS (used primarily with Windows). This will add to the WD TV Mini's size, of course, but it means you can use a friend's hard drive or swap between several drives of your own.

Due to its size, the WD TV Mini media player lacks an HDMI port, which means you won't be able to play media at a Full HD 1080p resolution. Instead, the media player has two break-out cables which provide composite and component outputs as well as a digital TOSLINK audio output port. The component cable can output video at resolutions up to 1080i, which is sufficient for smaller or lower resolution televisions. Unfortunately, the WD TV Mini media player won't automatically recognise the output, so you'll have to manually change the resolution in the settings menu.

The tiny WD TV Mini media player is accompanied by a similarly small remote control that is surprisingly easy to use. Unlike the remote control bundled with the Apple TV, the WD TV Mini remote is easy to hold and provides sufficient control over the interface and media playback, and even offers the ability to safely eject a hard drive.

The WD TV Mini's minimalist interface is attractive, responsive and easy to navigate. There are separate browsers for video, audio and photos, as well as a file browser and settings menu that allows you to configure display and slideshow options.

The video and audio sections are basic file browsers that allow you to navigate through the hard drive's folders to your desired media file. A thumbnail pane previews the highlighted file; the video thumbnails even begin playing, albeit without sound. The "File Management" browser allows you to see and play all supported files on the hard drive. Though easy to use on a reasonably sized television, the browsers' small text can be difficult to see on small CRT televisions.

Unlike the video and audio browsers, the photo browser compiles all photos into a single thumbnail view. This can make it frustrating to wade through thousands of photos. There is no way to filter the view according to tags, events or even folders, which means you are viewing all of your photos in one large pool of thumbnails.

Provided you've properly named all your media, you can easily find it through the WD TV Mini media player's search feature, using an on-screen keyboard and the small remote.

Out of the box, the WD TV Mini media player provides support for dozens of popular video and audio codecs, and photo file formats. It even supports four different subtitle formats. Unlike the full-sized WD TV, the Mini can even play RealPlayer videos. Unfortunately, support has been omitted for H.264 and MKV formats, two increasingly popular video formats used for 1080p content. These files are still displayed in the file browsers but the media player will complain that the resolution is too high. We would have appreciated the ability to play these files even if downscaled to fit the media player's output. Western Digital can add additional codec support to the WD TV Mini media player in the future through firmware updates, but it doesn't plan to include support for either file type.

You can resume playback of a video you started watching previously but stopped by simply selecting the file again. However, if the media player is reset or the hard drive is unplugged, the WD TV Mini won't remember your position.

The WD TV Mini media player is a cheaper version of the WD TV in a smaller yet still versatile package that's great for playing files off a hard drive if you don't need HDMI or 1080p playback.

Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?