I turned to Homebrew firmware in hopes that I might find a way to browse and play music through my WDTV without having to turn on the TV. This limitation is not important when watching video but can be a real pain if all you want to do is to start a music playlist. I am aware that some of the Homebrew wizards have been working on projects that may one day offer this functionality but for now, using the WDTV as just a music server can be a bit frustrating.
The other day, I ran across a brand new iPhone app called Zappo TV that may be the Holy Grail for people like me. The app is still a bit rough around the edges but it has a lot of promise. Zappo TV can play audio and video through the WDTV via most media servers. I have tested it with WMP and TVersity. It also works with iTunes playing directly from the iPhone.
This app is new and is very much a work in progress. It has a couple serious limitations at the moment, most significantly the lack of playlist or shuffle functionality. I have been told that both of those capabilities are in the works, however. It does not currently work with Pandora but does link to a number of other Internet sources such as You Tube, Shoutcast, Facebook, Flickr and Picasa.
When this app adds playlist, shuffle and Pandora, it will turn my WDTV into the most useful component attached to my home entertainment system. As this app evolves, it will almost certainly make the remote included with the WDTV unit obsolete.
Zappo TV works with most of the WDTV versions. The app runs on all versions of the iPhone as well as the iPod Touch. I am not sure about the iPad but if it does not work on that device now, I am sure it will down the road. You need a WIFI connection and the WDTV has to be on the same network as the iPhone.
Oh, did I mention that this app is currently free? It is ad supported with unobtrusive ads that stream across the bottom of the screen. It can be downloaded at the iTunes App Store or by visiting the company web site here. http://www.zappo.tv/
This app could be a real game changer.