I've mentioned before that we converted our DVD library so that we could stream it over our home network. One drawback of that setup was that my main development machine had to be online to host the videos. In addition, when anyone in the house wanted to stream that content, it put a small load on my machine. I really wanted to offload those demands. I looked at the various options on the market, and settled on the Western Digital My Book Live (2TB). The WD My Book Live is a single drive NAS that is DLNA certified. We had recently purchased a Samsung SmartTV (UN55D6000) which is also DLNA certified, so I was looking forward to streaming directly from the drive to the TV with no other components in the mix.

I installed the WD My Book Live on our network and set about copying over our music, movies, and pictures to the drive. We have quite a collection, so this was a multi-hour job. When the copy completed, I switched on the Samsung TV and it immediately found the My Book on our network. It streamed our home movies, music, and pictures perfectly, but each time I tried to stream one of our movies the set would stall on the Loading screen for about a minute before giving the message "Not Supported File Format". Even more frustrating, rather than returning to the table of contents, the set immediately attempted to stream the next file in the directory, which hung the machine for another minute until it responded to the request to exit.

I searched to see if this were a known issue, and which product was the culprit. I found that each product has their own slight issues that, combined, resulted in many users complaining about the same problem. It seems that Samsung's DLNA client makes use of the DLNA server in an unusual way, although still keeping within the letter of the DLNA spec. The WD My Book Live uses the Twonky Media Server to stream content. The version of the server on the device (5.1.9) did not respond appropriately to these requests, which resulted in a failure to stream the video. Other DLNA clients, such as my PS3, stream those same videos just fine from the WD MBL.

My first thought was to figure out what file format our home movies used and transcode our movie library to that format. That is a pretty daunting task considering the size of our library though, and if it sacrificed picture quality I wasn't interested. Fortunately, I found that other users with this same issue had found a solution. It seems that Twonky recognized the issue with Samsung sets and corrected it in the latest version of their software (6.0.34). Western Digital doesn't have any plans to release an official firmware with this version of Twonky, but that didn't stop folks from finding a way to do it on their own. This forum posts describes the steps for upgrading from the stock version of Twonky to the latest revision:


The Western Digital My Book Live is apparently powered by a PowerPC CPU and runs an embedded version of Linux. After modifying the config file for the machine, it is possible to get a terminal prompt and update the Twonky software. In addition to correcting the streaming issue with Samsung sets, it also includes the ability to display album cover art. Using this new version of Twonky is unsupported, and you have to pay a $20 license fee for the upgrade. I'll gladly pay that fee for working software, although I am disappointed that Western Digital doesn't plan to release this as an official upgrade.


Jade Mason