Author Topic: Quirks with Photo/Video zoom and playback  (Read 1179 times)

June 23, 2013, 09:36:04 AM
Read 1179 times

Elliander

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The following quirks are the reason why I gave this product 3 stars instead of 5 on Amazon in a review. I am certain they could all be fixed with a firmware update.

1.) The WDTV Live does not play certain common file formats. Although recent firmware updates expanded the file types that it can play, FLV files are unsupported. I find that to be very strange because it's still the preferred file format for online videos smaller than HD. This means that if I download an online video I will have to convert the file. It also doesn't support real media, but that is less of an issue .rm files are not really used anymore.

2.) There is no visual indication of if a file is of a supported type or not until you select it to play or view. If it's a video file this is just a minor inconvenience of having to wait a moment then press a button, but for picture files it's really annoying to be cycling through and have to exit the rotation then manually find where you were and select the image after it. I think such files should just grey themselves out and automatically skip over if it can't play them. (no, I am not simply going to remove the unsupported files because the same network drive is used by devices that have no problems)

3.) Displaying of files is done in a weird way. There are two ways to view files. In either way you have to select the media server just once and it remembers it. The main menu has 4 options that can each access the DLNA media: Files, Video, Photos, Music.

If you select "files" you can see two rows of text. It scrolls to the right instead of down so if you have long descriptive file names you have to pause on each and every title you are unsure about and wait for it to slowly scroll. I find that an annoyance in and of itself. Furthermore, it doesn't flag the title as having been watched by any visual indication. Instead it prints out a date to the right by hovering over the selection which is very VERY strange and unhelpful. Combined with the weird way it scrolls and lack of any option to change it and you could easily have pages of files that look exactly the same. You pretty much have to assume that maximum file name length is much shorter if you want any speed in finding things. I would prefer to have at least an option of a single long list going down with more room for displaying file names and something to the far right showing if the file has been played and how many times.

If you select either Video, Photos, or Music you see the same thing: An option to choose from Video, Photos, or Music. Again. It basically means there is wasted space in the menus. That aside, in this method of viewing you see even less because the file names are inside little boxes that do not seem to scroll. The boxes serve no purpose because they don't seem capable of becoming thumbnail images. Not even when viewing pictures.

4.) If you want to view pictures, say, digital comics. Or anything else you want to expand to fill the screen you have to open the image then select options on the remote then press down 4 times then select zoom and press the center button 4 times then press the down button a few times to scroll to the top. That's quite a few steps to take, and it has two main problems. One is that the "post to facebook" option is directly between zoom which means you will want to be very careful. (I would like to be able to disable that option, especially since the whole family can use it) Two is that you have to do this for every single picture. That's right. All those button presses will need to be repeated for every picture. Even though it also has a "next" button on the remote it doesn't work while zoom/scrolling of images is on. There isn't even an option to set by default the image size. I would prefer it if I could tell it to open all images to fill width and have the up/down buttons control scrolling of the image while the left right buttons control which image is in view. There is a nice slideshow option, but there appears to be no way to control how fast it remains on a given image. It also has this stupid "random transitions" that it does between images, and since some transitions take longer than others it can really slow things down. More importantly, some look really strange. I would prefer it if I could tell it which transitions to use as well, but it doesn't give me that option either.

5.) The Facebook service is completely useless. I can see the list of notifications, but I can't click on any notifications. I can't see messages, or even if I have any to read. When trying to view pictures on Facebook it just gives me a browser error. Nothing really works right, and once again it's a disappointment in trying to view photo collections.

6.) Oddly, it is much easier to zoom in on video you are watching, which is a mostly useless feature. I would have preferred a "change aspect ratio" option. I can live with minor character distortions to force a given video into widescreen and that is what I am used to on my computer so it's very strange that WDTV live cannot do that.

7.) There is no digital volume control options. It would be nice if, when playing a video, I could use the up/down arrows to control volume. Since my unit didn't come with any documentation I couldn't find out if it can be programmed to control my TV volume, but if it can't I would at least like it to be able to control a digital volume like in most media players.

July 03, 2013, 02:52:24 PM
Reply #1

Elliander

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Update: Oddly, I am able to play some FLV views. Likewise, some MKV files don't play. So I am thinking that a firmware update should still expand file format playback.

Also, when playing Youtube videos the entire device powers down most of the time when I finish playing a video unless I stop it from finishing. If I press "back" before it's done playing it won't power down, but the button "sticks" so it either doesn't always work or I end up pressing back too many times.