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WD Live Hub Unveiled Today

WD's Live Hub media center/server

Today, Western Digital (WD) announced the debut of its new Live Hub media center. Actually, it was unveiled at a press bash at Siren Studios in Hollywood, last night. Awesome party. Live Hub’s 1 TB hard drive will store music, videos, vacation slideshows, photos and other personal entertainment. For you non-techies, a terabyte is in excess of over one thousand gigabytes. That’s big. Sporting 2 USB ports, Live Hub is also expandable. Live Hub supports a wide variety of video formats. It is also a media server – connection to your home network via Ethernet gives you access to video streaming, photos and music from any Mac, PC or material on the Internet. Video can also be streamed to a WD TV Live media player or any DLNA/UpnP compatible TV, Blu-ray player or game console. Users also can stream content from their WD TV Live Hub media center to iPadsTM, iPhones® or AndroidTMsmartphones using third-party applications. It is also compatible with Windows® 7, including the “Play To” feature.

But wait, there’s more: Live Hub offers Facebook integration, which lets users upload photos and videos, share their status, view their wall and get the latest newsfeed from their network of friends – all on your TV. Also, Live Hub allows viewing of Netflix, for movie streaming, YouTube, Flickr and Pandora. New movie releases can be purchased or rented via Blockbuster’s OnDemand service. Other features include personalization of screen backgrounds and user interface themes.

Video resolution is stated at 1080p. The Live Hub provides multiple streams in multiple zones: you can stream a movie in one room, while viewing photos on your TV upstairs. Connectivity includes HDMI 1.4, optical audio output, composite and component outputs. With its simple-to-connect back panel layout, Live Hub certainly has tremendous flexibility and minimal connectivity issues. The handheld remote works intuitively. All that being said, the image quality was not that of a high performance product – a bit grainy, which was noticeable on several types and sizes of video displays at last night’s launch. With an MSRP of $199.99 (hold it, Best Buy just raised their price to $229) and only available in the U.S. at Best Buy stores, consider the Live Hub as a great value.

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