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Western Digital WD TV Live

Western Digital WD TV Live

Onscreen animated navigation menus and bundled remote control. Price: $150

Location production doesn't usually involve bringing along your own HDTV tuner. But in reality, you are sometimes faced with the need to play out non-copyrighted video on monitors that will appear within the scenes.

At one point, people hauled around tape decks—and then DVD players—for play out, but these were always difficult to wire to multiple monitors. Western Digital has come out with a useful alternative. The WD TV Live media player allows you to stream or transfer movies from a PC or Mac or a network-attached storage device to feed HD monitors. The family of WD TV media players was released at the end of 2008, and this latest model adds an Ethernet port and support for USB Wi-Fi adapters. Not only is this connectivity useful when filming monitors that are part of a set, but it could also allow you to distribute dailies, for example, to monitors throughout a production facility when you come back from a shoot.

Other notable features besides 1080p HD playback include the ability to play a wide variety of file formats with no need to transcode; the ability to play out video, music, and photos from the Internet onto large-screen HD monitors; two USB ports; and the ability to turn standard USB hard drives into HD recording and playback devices. The small, compact device includes an HDMI port supporting v1.3 of the spec, composite and component video output, and SPDIF digital audio output.

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