Western Digital gives its drives a set-top box

First appearing over the weekend on BestBuy.com, Western Digital has officially debuted its WD TV HD Media Player -- a way to expand the reach of its portable hard drives into the DTV realm with the aid of USB.

Introduced as a companion to WD's My Passport portable media drives, the WD TV player acts as a TV docking station for USB storage devices. Photos, movies, and music can be navigated on the user's TV through HD menus with the included remote control. Up to two USB storage devices can be simultaneously hooked up.

Western Digital TV HD Media Player

The device outputs a 1080p HD picture via HDMI, and also has RCA outs for SD connections. With a footprint of only 4.9" x 3.9" x 1.6", it is smaller than both AppleTV, and Roku's Netflix Player, two of the smaller standalone set-top boxes on the market.

It is also currently resting upon the magic price point. The WD TV HD Media Player has an MSRP of $129.99, but is currently on sale for $99 at Best Buy.

Where it takes up only a small amount of space and isn't prohibitively expensive, it lacks wireless connectivity -- the most important feature of the majority of other media streamers, like Vudu, or DivX Connected, or even the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles.

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