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New Member
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎04-29-2013
Accepted Solution

Connecting an External Hard Drive to TV

I am wanting to figure out a way or if there is a way to connect an external hard drive to a tv and watch movies from the hard drive. We have a computer connected to our tv and the hard drive on the computer but is there a way to skip the computer and connect the hard drive directly? If so how or what device do we need? I am looking into buying a new tv as a surprise for my husband when he gets home from deployment so is there a certain type of tv that can work with a hard drive? If it matters the hard drives are toshiba and western digital. Thanks ahead of time.Smiley Very Happy

New Member
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎04-29-2013

Re: Connecting an External Hard Drive to TV

This one can be quite the quandry. Some TVs do offer a USB port that is capable of powering an external harddrive. Many times, the port themselves will say hdd over the port in the television. I'm not sure which TV models actually provide this, but they do exist.

 

If you want a hard connection, what is often recommended is to purchase something like the WD TV Live Media Player which is a streaming box (like the Roku 3, Apple TV, etc) that supports many video formats. You can plug the hdd into the WD TV Live Media Player that is plugged into your television, and you are good to go. The other streaming boxes do not support many video formats, so if you want this idea to work, go with the WD series. For instance, apple claims the usb port is mainly for support. Some might suggest hard wiring into blu ray player, but some won't accept an external hard drive and others have limits on the size of the external hard drive. That is something an employee likely won't be able to know without trying it out on each specific player.

 

I hope this helps.

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 4,145
Registered: ‎09-21-2011

Re: Connecting an External Hard Drive to TV

Just check your TV model to see if it supports HDD. If it does, then most TVs are limited in their codec support. Even though your TV says it supports .MKV files or MPEG4 files it may still not play your video as there are dozens of different codecs within the MKV/MPEG name.

The only way you would know for sure is if you played a file. Then if it worked you can convert all files to that format.

Overall I would probably go with an external device as the above poster ran through them
Posts: 5,921
Topics: 95
Kudos: 333
Solutions: 278
Registered: ‎11-30-2015

Re: Connecting an External Hard Drive to TV

Connecting an external hard drive or USB with your favorite TV shows and movies on it to your TV can revolutionize the way you use your TV. Sometimes these options don’t work the first time you try them, or you might not be able do them at all depending on your setup.

 

I always recommend checking the owner’s manual prior to trying either option. There are few key words you are looking for: HDD, USB, and formats. Often times I pull up the manuals by searching manufacturers site for them, and use the handy CTRL + f  feature to find all the information I need.

 

You need to ensure that your TV can support HDD, or USB input that can read files. In that same area it will list the codec that your TV can support. On most Smart TV’s you will have a wider array of formatting you can play, and there are little to no issues to playing from an external hard drive.

 

If your TV doesn’t support HDD or USB inputs in that way, you can always try to connect through a secondary device like a Smart Blu-ray player, streaming device, or gaming console with a USB port. Please check your acceptable formating prior to trying this option as well! 

Mariah|Social Media Specialist | Best Buy® Corporate
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New Member
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎03-06-2016

Re: Connecting an External Hard Drive to TV

The simplest and fastest way to watch movies on your television from a hard drive is to purchase the Western Digital WD TV box. You simply connect the box to your TV, connect your hard drive and you are up and running in less that a few minutes.

 

I am currently running a 4 terrabyte hard drive with 4,000 movies on it. The only probiem I am having is I want to purchase another WD TV box for my vacation home and I have been told that Western Digital stopped making the boxes. So, I just purchased 3 used WD TV boxes on ebay.

 

Another way to connect a hard drive to your television is by connecting your hard drive to an X-Box or a Play Station. I connected hard drives to both and they worked great. I am not as positive about the X-Box, but I am positive that to connect a hard drive to a Play Station the hard drive cannot be more than two terrabytes and you have to re-format the hard drive to Fat 32. Formatting takes only a few minutes and you can get a free software called Swiss Knife to to the formatting.

 

I love having all my movies, pictures and music all on one hard drive. I am currently using the WD TV box and I am currently downloading everyhing to a 5 terrabyte hard drive.

 

I think the problem with trying to use a DVD or Blue-Ray player is those devices do not have enough internal memory to manage the list of files on your hard drive. With those devices you may be able to put a few movies on a USB thumb drive and play your movies, but having your entire collection on one drive is really great and WD TV has been the best and simplest solution.

 

New Member
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎10-30-2015

Re: Connecting an External Hard Drive to TV

If your TV supports  USB HDD playbeck and the resident player app in the TV suopports Your Video codecs you are good to go ,if you have a Sony Andoid TV the (free) Kodi Android  browser/ player app is better than the incuded Sony Video player andalso supports 4K ,there may be a Samsung Tizen Kodi Player app availiabkle also . 

 

I have a 3TB USB HDD that plays Video /Photos or Music ,You tube downloads ,other downloads ,Sony handicam Video etc. straight  into my Sony XBR - X850C  or I can plug it into my HTPC USB to add stuff to it.

 

FWIW I put each DVD or D/L movie into it's own windows sub folder inside a Movie folder on the HDD with the title as the name so the Kodi app orany app can list them that way and other smaller videos go stright into in folder groups like 4K demo loops ,HDR demo loops or You tube videos etc. 

 

I use bit perfect 1:1 uncomressed ISO file rips for DVD rips and kep BD's on thier disc for now anduse the Sony PS3 for reference quality Blue Ray playback into my Sony XBR X850C .

 

Just keep in mind with a USB powered hard drive you can't go much over ~ 3 ft on the USB cable or the drive might slow or not spin up .

 

 

I recomend an external desktop  3.5"  enclosed wall wart powered external expansion NTFS HDD like the USB Seagate Back Up Plus or Seagate Back up or Seagate USB Expansion desk ( that's what I have ) for some reason The WD external hdd's  dont alwas work well with TV's and 2.5" HDD usualy arent as durable as a 3.5" hdd and tend to run warm on extended duty cycles like video playing. 

Not sent from my Best Buy 2015 4K HDR ready Sony XBR X850C or the other 4 Best Buy TV's here but instead Windows 10 14393.rs1
Trusted Contributor
Posts: 5,215
Registered: ‎02-25-2013

Re: Connecting an External Hard Drive to TV

I was also frustrated by the cable from my computer to the TV.  This sounds like a viable option.


However, I ended up getting a Roku since most of our movies are rentals and it works very slick.

 

 

Please leave Kudo’s if you like a post or click Accept as Solution if a post answers your query. I am not an employee of Best Buy and all opinions left on this forum are my own.
New Member
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎11-27-2016

Re: Connecting an External Hard Drive to TV

I have a samsung smart tv and a western digital 2tb hdd that I just got (bought the tv in 2015 but I belive all samsung tvs bought after 2013 support thumb drives and hdds ) since there is a built in file viewer. I say file veiwer since you can only look at the files not delete or change in any way. All pics are displayed even super high resolution 4k video and movies as long as they are mp4. If you have diurnal format you can skat download a video converter for android,ios,mac,windows whatever to change to mp4 format. I use a otg cable to transfer movies to thumb drive or hdd.I rarely use the desktop for anything. But I do have a note 4 and there's not much it WON'T DO.
New Member
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎10-15-2017

Re: Connecting an External Hard Drive to TV

Please tell me the solution. My Smart TV is reading the pen drive but it doesn't read my external hard drive of 2 TB. Kindly tell me the solution if any. Can it be solved if I use any particular connector to connect TV and hard disk?
Posts: 5,921
Topics: 95
Kudos: 333
Solutions: 278
Registered: ‎11-30-2015

Re: Connecting an External Hard Drive to TV

Hello Lucky275,

 

Welcome to the Best Buy Support Online Forum Community! Did you check-out the tips provided in the accepted solution?

 

If your TV is reading the movies from a USB based drive it shouldn’t have difficult reading them from your Hard Drive. Did you double check your TV supports the content format? Also, please note most TVs are only able to play content ripped from the original source.

 

Respectfully,

Mariah|Social Media Specialist | Best Buy® Corporate
Give Kudos if you like this post or Accept as Solution if it answers your query!