Western Digital introduced a refreshed version of its TV streaming player Tuesday: The WD TV Personal Edition, as the device is being called, combines personal media playback with Miracast mirroring, but there’s an important downside: the device doesn’t have a Netflix app, and it doesn’t sound like this will change anytime soon.
The new WD TV’s suggested retail price is $100. It looks and sounds a lot like its predecessor, the WD TV Live, and comes with 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi as well as an Ethernet port for connectivity, HDMI, Composite A/V and optical audio out ports and a USB 2.0 port for external storage.
WD has always put a big emphasis on local file playback with these devices, and the new one also supports a wide variety of formats, including MKVs and FLAC audio files. For the first time, WD is also making an SDK available for developers to build custom apps, and users will be able to sideload some of these apps via the USB port.
Another addition is the Miracast support, which makes it possible to mirror the screen of supported Android devices onto the TV. WD TV also comes with pre-installed apps for YouTube, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Spotify, Vudu, Slingbox and many other services – with two notable exceptions: WD has dropped support for Netflix and Vimeo, and a spokesperson told me that there are no plans “at this time” to add these apps to the new device.
That’s kind of a bummer and hard to understand in a world where every half-decent Blu-ray player supports Netflix playback. I always liked WD TV players, in part because of their solid support for personal media, but I don’t see myself buying a streaming player that doesn’t support Netflix, and I’d imagine many consumers feel the same way.