Sometimes I feel as though my whole life has gone digital and I actually miss having tangible things to own such as CD's and DVD's but I do appreciate the fact that my life is much less cluttered without having hundreds of CD's and DVD's and it is definitely much easier to find what I am looking for with having everything on a digital list and is usually just a case of pointing and clicking on what I want to play.
A couple of years ago when I started to really transfer all my movies, music, pictures etc. to digital format I used to be really bad at backing things up and more than once I have lost several items. These days I am much better with backing up and own a vast array of flash drives, memory cards etc. and one of my most used items which is this Western Digital Elements HDMI Drive.
~~~~~ What is it ~~~~~
The Western Digital Elements HDMI Drive is basically a little black box which is used to store a variety of multimedia files such as movies and CD's. You can then connect the box through HDMI to your HD television to watch and listen to all your movies and music. So basically it is a media centre which allows you to free up valuable space on your laptop and also acts as another way of backing up your value collection of media files.
The reason I use it so often is that I have pretty much given up on DVD's and CD's and 99% of all my media is in a digital format. AS I have this media centre connected to my HD television at all times it is just a case of turning it on and choosing which movie or album that I want to watch and saves me the hassle of having to connect my laptop to my television every time that I want to watch a film or listen to an album.
~~~~~ Looks ~~~~~
One of the main reasons I chose this over some of the other media centres on the market is because it is just a little black box and is small and discreet and doesn't take a lot of room up. It looks modern and sleek next to my big screen television but is subtle and discreet enough which is good as I like most people have several different peripherals that also connect to my TV and quite frankly I just didn't have room for another large item with loads of wires in my house.
~~~~~ Setting up the media centre and using it ~~~~~
This media centre is ideal for the less technologically minded people out there as it is just so easy to use. The initial set up takes a few seconds and transferring files from your laptop to the media centre is just a case of cutting and pasting the files over. You plug the media centre to your laptop with a USB cable which is supplied and everything just shows up on screen and I didn't need to download any files to use it. It just shows up on my laptop as an external device just like with a phone.
The transfer speed of the files from my laptop to the media centre is excellent and transferring a HD movie only takes about 15 seconds. After you have finished transferring the files you want you simply disconnect the USB cable and the files are on your media centre ready to be viewed through your television.
Once you have the files you want on the media centre you basically just turn the media centre on and then go to your HDMI channel on your TV and choose what you want from the onscreen menu. This like the transferring is easy and the menu has a simple clean look to it and no one should have any trouble with using it.
There are three different files onscreen to choose from being video, music and photos. The files you have transferred should be automatically sorted in to the relevant file and you just need to use the remote to select what you want and it will just start to play. There are also another two files you can choose for settings and file management.
Even the remote is surprisingly uncluttered and only has a few buttons on it as it is honestly that simple to use and because everything is sorted for you, you don't need any complicated options so the company have decided instead of making it more complicated than it needs to be like a lot of technology items to just give you a small discreet remote that won't scare off the more casual user.
The media centre supports full 1080p high definition so you can be assured that if you transfer a HD movie you will be able to watch it in gorgeous detail. Obviously music quality will have more to do with your television than with the media centre but the music I have on it have never lost any of their quality or been corrupted in any way.
~~~~~ 1 TB ~~~~~
The storage capacity of the media centre is 1 Terra Byte which equates to 1000 Gigabytes so there is a LOT of space on it to fill up with movies, music and photos. I have hundreds of albums, thousands of photos and hundreds of movies on it and am nowhere near filling it to capacity yet. Obviously filling it with HD movies will mean that you get less on than if you put on regular definition movies but even with the highest quality movies you can still get close to a thousand on the box which should be ample enough space for even the most diehard movie fan. Should you decide that you want to delete some of the things you have on it to free up some space then it is just a case of connecting it to your laptop and then deleting the files which takes seconds to do.
~~~~~ Recommendation ~~~~~
I bought this media centre from Amazon and it cost me £108 about one year ago. I happen to think that this was a fantastic price for something with so much storage space and for something which I use so often.
It isn't an exaggeration to say that I probably have it on every single day whether that is to watch a movie, catch up on a TV show or just to listen to some music. I have never had a single problem with it and find it incredibly easy to use in everyday life so on that basis I would have to highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for something that will not only store their digital files but also give them the option of viewing them in HD on their televisions.
This Western Digital hard drive is not just a hard drive but a multimedia player. This box will hold 1tb (terabyte) of data which should keep most people at bay for quite a while. When you run out of space you can just plug another hard drive into one of the usb slots thereby increasing storage for more stuff.
The box is about a third the size of a dvd player its black with a blue led and comes with a remote. The construction is pretty solid. But for some strange reason the unit came with a two pin power adapter so you may need to get a uk adapter.
What the box actually does as well as store your movies, music and photos is allow them to play back on your tv. This is made possible with a HDMI cable (or composite for older tvs), this also allows resolutions up to 1080p. This really makes this drive stand out as far as quality goes. Once connected a user interface can be seen on the tv where you can select you multimedia of choice. For this to work well a descent file structure must be followed or it could all become chaos. This drive will play all the common file formats including avi, mkv and h264 etc. As for sound an optical out is included to allow you to send dolby to you av receiver.
The drive costs £83 at the moment and is worth that cost for the storage alone, never mind the playback options.
Western Digital is an American company known in the world of manufacturing hard disks and other storage media. The company started in 1970 as General Digital, but changed the name in 1971. It is already known as a reliable brand that delivers good products and for this reason I have chosen for this media player.
The Western Digital WD Elements 1TB Play is actually a 1 TB hard drive where you store multimedia files like video, music and photos. What makes this a media player is that it has the option to connect it to your television and your files are offered in the form of a menu that gives you the option to play each file without the use of a computer. This media player is unique that it supports full HD 1080p video output with an HDMI port. With an HDMI cable you can easily connect your media player to the HMDI port on your television and you can view videos in HD quality. You can also:
* Created slideshows with various transitions.
* Zoom, rotate, repeat, shuffle and rotate.
* Fast forward, rewind, previous, next, pause, repeat, random play and zoom.
* Watch with subtitles.
* View Video Menu (if supported by the file).
* Video Preview (if supported by the file).
* Fast forward, rewind, pause, shuffle and repeat.
* View album cover.
Installing the media player is actually very easy and you don't need to install anything. The disk is already formatted as an NTFS partition primarily for compatibility with all updated Windows operating systems. The first thing to do is to connect the power cord and then plug your media player with your USB cable to the computer. The computer will recognize the media player and offer it as an external drive. So you can (let's say it takes 10 seconds) transfer your files to the media player. On the media player are already a number of directories: Videos, photos and music. When you have transferred the files, you can connect the media player to your TV and viola you can play your files. The media player also has the option to connect a USB device like an external hard drive where you access it from the media player.
The menu is easy to use and convenient. The initial screen gives you the option to view your videos, your photos, listen to your music and settings. With your remote you can easily navigated through the menu. The only downside is that your videos are also displayed in your music folders but does not play. Especially if you have lots of folders this can sometimes be confusing.
The remote is compact or small or maybe too small since I keep on losing it every time but he has all the navigation buttons and menu buttons you need.
This media player is exactly what I wanted and looks good. He is very small and nice and compact and is totally black and fits very well with my black television. A problem often encountered with these devices is that they quickly overheat, but so far I haven't experienced that.
What was very important for me is that it was easy to use. It could not be easier and it is a matter of connecting a few cables and you can transfer files. He works with a USB 2.0 and transferring files is very fast. A video file of 300 MB is within one minute transferred and ready to watch.
The only drawback I find the menu which at first glance seem nice and clear, but is not. Because you always see all the folders such as music in the videos directory it can quickly become cluttered. So you need a good structure to your folders, but this is just getting used to.
The picture and sound are excellent, depending of course on your TV, the picture is sharp. I see the difference when I play a HD video file and playing a 'regular' video. You can connect Dolby Surround speakers to the media player but I haven't done so.
A great media player and five stars!