Western Digital Live TV Plus and Windows Server 2008 R2
While being laid up for the past bit I decided to play with a few Christmas toys that I had received.One interesting toy was the Western Digital Live TV Plus. This little box has an impressive list of compatible file formats:
- Video – AVI (Xvid, AVC, MPEG1/2/4), MPG/MPEG, VOB, MKV (h.264, x.264, AVC, MPEG1/2/4, VC-1), TS/TP/M2T (MPEG1/2/4, AVC, VC-1), MP4/MOV (MPEG4, h.264), M2TS, WMV9, FLV (h.264)
- Photo – JPEG, GIF, TIF/TIFF, BMP, PNG
- Audio – MP3, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA, AAC, FLAC, MKA, AIF/AIFF, OGG, Dolby Digital, DTS
- Playlist – PLS, M3U, WPL
- Subtitle – SRT, ASS, SSA, SUB, SMI
With built in wired and wireless as well, it looks on the surface to be a great little media player, but of course I wanted to take it to the next level and see if it could handle an active directory infrastructure, powered by server 2008 R2.
I did some research on the net to see if this was going to be feasible and I read some who have gotten it work properly, some who have not gotten it to work at all and some who have some wild ideas on how to get it to work (I have seen some people suggest to turn off the DC firewall or have anonymous file access!). My first rule with new hardware is that you shouldn’t have to lower your security in order to use it. If you have to lower your security to use a device maybe you should question whether or not it should be used.
Anyways I will demonstrate on how to stream content to the WD Live Plus Player (wireless or not) with an active directory infrastructure. I have now used this for multiple units and it has worked flawlessly. In this demonstration I will assume you have
- Access to a Windows Active Directory domain (and be allowed to make changes to it)
- Access to a shared folder containing compatible media.
- Access to a WD Live Plus (wireless or not)
I also assume you are familiar with active directory and can setup network shares. Also being able to setup up the WD Live Plus network settings (via DHCP or manual) is helpful.
For this example I have a setup of two 2008 R2 Servers, teeserver-01 is the DC at teestar-01.local and a media server, teeserver-02. On teeserver-02 there is a folder called media which I want to be able to access with the WD TV Live Plus. My DHCP address pool is 192.1568.1.50-192.168.1.99/24 with servers taking static addresses 192.168.1.11-192.168.5.19. There is also a static reservation of IP’s @ 192.168.1.40-192.168.1.49
First thing to do is to log onto teeserver-01 and go to the administrative tools and run Active Directory Users and Computers (or type dsa.msc in the search box). You want to add a computer to the computers Organizational Unit (OU). To do this right click on the computers in the left pane and go to new/computer. For this example I am going to use the simple name wdbox. Next we need to create a user name and password for the WD Player so now right click Users OU in the left pane and select new/user. Now you will be presented with a screen to enter first and last name as well as a logon name. For this example I am using WD as the first name, Live Plus as the second name and wdplayer as the logon name. Now you can hit next and you will be presented with the password option screen. Here we have to clear the check box where it says user must change password at next logon and select user cannot change password and password never expires.
Now for this domain, the password complexity is turned on and I really want to keep it on, I don’t want to lower the security of the entire domain for this one device. According to Microsoft password complexity is defined as
- Password cannot contain all or part of the users account name
- At least six characters in length
- Contain characters from the following four categories
- a) English uppercase characters (A through Z)
- b) English lowercase characters (a through z)
- c) Base 10 digits (0 through 9)
- d) Non-alphanumeric characters (IE &%^* and so on)
Now this is where a lot of problems occur, if you use any non-alphanumeric characters in the user name or password, you will NEVER be able to authenticate the WD Player with the DC no matter what you do! You must use only numbers and letters here. So for the password I will choose NoneNone01 which will fulfill the complex password requirements and the WD Player requirements. Once you have finished here select next and then finish.
Now we move over to the teeserver-04 and select the media folder and share it with the new user we just created wdplayer. I am not going to go into great detail will this as I assume you know how to share a folder across the network.
The next thing you will want to do is to ensure that network discovery is turned on. This can be found under the advanced share settings of the Network and Sharing center
Now we are ready to tackle the WD Live Plus box. Once you have it pugged in and set it up to the TV, you have to change some of the settings with it. Just a note, you probably will want a USB keyboard right about now, entering the information with the remote will be challenging for sure.
The first thing you want to do is go to the settings/network settings. From here you need to go to the network setup and setup either your wired or wireless settings. I would highly recommend that you use manual setup instead of automatic, this is due to the way that the WD Player registers itself with the DHCP server, it has known problems with domain controllers. Either way both are fairly straight forward, for this example I went and set up the network settings automatically and then simply went and manually changed the IP to 192.168.5.41 and kept all the other settings as they were, saves a wee bit of time configuring the player.
If you are using wireless you will have to select a wireless access point (and possibly a SSID) as well as the credentials to join the wireless network. One thing to note is that if you are using a WD Player that has an external USB wireless, you may get an error saying the media player has limited or no network connectivity and prompts you to (default) cancel or retry. If you know that you have entered the proper information keep trying retry, the WD Player is flakey in regards to this.
Next thing we want to do is test connection, trust me on this, make sure the network is indeed running may save you frustration down the line!
Now assuming that the network configuration has all been done and is running properly, we need to change the device name to wdplayer and the workgroup name to teestar-01. Notice that we don’t use the DNS suffix; we just want to use the host (netbios) name. If you want you can have the auto login for network share enabled if you wish.
One other setting you really should be aware of is the clear login info for network share. This one is very important. You should do this the first time you use the WD Player and if you ever have problems accessing your network shares. Sometimes for some unknown reason the WD Player will not see any network shares, clearing the login info will clear things up.
Now we are all done, the last thing we need to do is to access the network share. To do this just go to the video tab and select it then scroll down to the network shares and select the proper server. In this case it is teeserver-04. Now just select the proper share.
You will be given an invalid username or password error and be given an opportunity to enter the username and password. For the account, just enter in wdplayer and the password which is NoneNone01. Make sure for the account you do not use the host (netbios) name or the FQDN as neither will work.
That is it, you should be all good and be able to log into any share you make on your network with your WD Live Plus Player! Have fun!