Back in June, I had the wonderful opportunity to try out some of Western Digital newest networking gear. The reason why I couldn’t write about it then was the fact that they had yet to debut some of those products.
The method by which we receive our entertainment has changed significantly over the past couple of years. No longer are we tied down to wires and cables, the wireless revolution has taken hold and it doesn’t seem like things are going to change for a while. Now more than ever are people streaming to watch movies, TV or listen to music. Now when most people are asked what would be the key in getting the best signal for streaming they would say having super fast internet. While I don’t disagree that a fast connection is important, from my own experience you have to have a very powerful wireless router in order to fully use that internet speed. In addition, with all the different devices in the home using the same signal you need to have a router that can really kick out bandwidth.
Believe me when I say that D and I have learned from experience. While we would like to consider ourselves moderate users of the internet with two laptops, a desktop, one Ipad, multiple cell phones and Xbox and PS3, as well as various other miscellaneous toys there is a ton of machines fighting for connection to the internet. Even with a dual band router we found that we were not getting consistent performance and speed. It really became apparent that we needed a router that was specifically built to handle the type of traffic that current technology requires.
Enter the Western Digital My Net N900 Router
Specifically designed for the rigors of the new age of streaming vide. The N900 knows when you are streaming media and tries to boost the signal to that device to provide the best possible viewing experience. Considering that we already had a relatively new and pretty powerful router in place already, imagine my surprise when we experience a significant increase in performance and reliability when switching over to the N900.
In addition, my biggest issue regarding new routers was the pain that it is to install. You have to download something on to you laptop and go through a whole process in order to get things going. Not to mention the hassle of trying to make sure that the internet still works once you make the switch. I have heard so many stories about how someone made a change and ended up calling either the router customer service or the internet provider to try to trouble shoot connection problems. With the N900 set up wasn’t an issue as I was able to do everything remotely from our Ipad. I was able to upload new software to the router as well as perform all basic and advance setups without having to turn or another computer.
Add in the fact that it is a dual band router with seven Ethernet ports, great range and the latest encryption available and the My Net N900 is a pretty serious home router. If the N900 is a little too much for you needs there are also other models which provide the great set up features but are a little lighter in terms of speed and performance but also a little lighter on the wallet.
I have been waiting for something like Mybook Live for a long time. While the security of third party cloud storage is great, especially since it removes the anxiety of having the data at home, it takes forever to upload a lot of information as well being able to download remotely. In addition, some people just don’t feel secure sending all their private information to a faceless entity somewhere in the world and hoping for the best. My Book Live help alleviate some of those concerns, as it provides you with private cloud storage all in your home.
Basically you hook up the My Book Live to your home router (mine being the My Net N900 which has obviously been optimized for the My Book Live). Once hooked up you are able to upload, back up and access the data from anywhere in your network and almost anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection. Put a bunch of music or video (though this may not work very well outside of you network) and you are able download and stream the media from any machines including portable one like tablets and smart phones. It also comes with an app which allows you to access and interact with the information on the My Book Live seamlessly.
I didn’t experience any issues setting up though it does take a while to figure out the best way to back up your files. I will also say at first, backing up might take a while especially if you have a lot of data, but soon after it will run in the background of you. All you need to do is upload the special software that come with the My Book Live and follow along with the instructions. Once set up you are able to retrieve backed up files at any moment. Unfortunately, you are not able to retrieve these files remotely. For remote access you have to upload your information separately into My Book live. The great thing though, is since you are uploading from your own network it is much faster than 3rd party providers.
The WD TV Live turns your regular box set into a smart TV capable of accessing sites like youtube, Pandora, Hulu etc all while in HD quality (if available). I have always wondered why we couldn’t pick and choose the channels we watch. In my perspective we probably waste over half the money we pay our cable provider on channels and show we don’t even know exist. The WD TV live has been great for us as it has allowed us to do two things we never thought we could live without before: 1) we got ride of DVR and 2) we got ride of the cable TV box we had in the room that we connected with the WD TV live.
All the set up that was required was plugging it into the TV and connecting to the wireless. As you will notice all the Western Digital product are made to interact with each other. For those of you who have a large collection of videos and a My Book Live, you are able to connect and stream the videos from the storage device without having to put too much effort at all. In addition, the file format of your video files shouldn’t be a problem anymore as the WD TV live can play most or all of the popular video formats out there, no need to worry if it came from a Mac or Windows PC.
Have a Slingbox, with the WD TV live you are able to connect to the Slingbox and watch live tv again without having to do anything other than a push of a button.
Overall, the WD TV Live has helped us revive one of our older TVs into a being one of our main hubs of entertainment, in addition of cutting cost we would have been paying the cable company.
Disclosure: I received the N900 Wireless Router, MyBook Live and WD TV Live for review purposes. I also attended a pre-unveiling of the product in June. This post represents my unbiased opinion.