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Play Movies On TV From SSD/USB/External Hard Drive

As television technology has advanced, there are more ways than ever to watch and stream content on our TVs.

However, many people still like keeping it slightly old school by playing movies on their TV from external storage devices, including USB drives, external hard drives (HDD), and solid-state drives (SSD). 

To play movies on your TV from a USB, SSD, or HDD, you’ll need to copy the movies you want to play to the external drive. Once you’ve done this, you can plug the drive into your TV’s USB port. If the drive doesn’t automatically pop up on your TV, you can manually navigate to the drive to play files.

We’ll break down everything you should know if you want to play movies and video files on your TV from an external storage device.

Once we’ve outlined the steps to follow when accessing these files from your TV, we’ll discuss some limitations to keep in mind when playing files on your TV from an external drive. 

How To Play Movies On TV From SSD/USB/External Hard Drive 

If you’ve got some movies on your computer you’d like to watch on your TV, you can use an external hard drive, solid-state, or USB drive to play the files on your TV.

You can follow these simple steps to play video files on your TV from an external drive. If you run into trouble with these steps, you should refer to the following section! 


Step One: Copy Movies To Your SSD/USB/HDD 

To play movies and video files on your TV from an SSD/USB/HDD, you’ll need to copy the files you want to play to the external drive.

It’s important to note that most televisions only support certain video formats. While we’ll discuss this in more depth in the following section, most TVs can play MP4 files from external drives. 

Step Two: Locate Your TV’s USB Port 

Once you’ve copied your movies to your external drive, you’ll need to locate your TV’s USB port.

While the placement of this port may differ between different manufacturers, it’s generally located on the sides of televisions for easy access. Your TV’s user manual will also indicate where the USB port is located. 

Step Three: Plug Your SSD/USB/HDD Into Your TV’s USB Port 

You should ensure your TV is powered on for this step. If your external flash drive, hard drive, or solid-state drive has an ‘on’ switch, you should ensure the drive is powered before plugging it into your TV’s USB port. If your drive doesn’t have a switch, you can simply plug it into your TV. 

Once you’ve plugged the external drive into your TV, the drive should automatically pop up on your TV screen.

Many televisions will automatically provide you with the option to browse photos, music, or videos on the drive. If your TV does this, you can jump to step five.

However, if it doesn’t pop up on its own, you’ll need to manually navigate to your external drive. 

Step Four: Manually Navigate To Your SSD/USB/HDD On Your TV 

If your external drive doesn’t automatically pop up on your TV, you’ll need to manually navigate to the drive.

Ultimately, the steps to access an external drive on your TV will depend on your brand and model. For specific steps, you should refer to your television’s user manual. If your drive doesn’t show up, it might be formatted incorrectly. 

Step Five: Select The Movie You Want To Play On Your TV 

Once you’ve accessed your external drive on your TV, you can select the video files you want to play!

However, if you’re unable to play certain movies on your TV, the files might be in a video format that’s incompatible with your TV. 

Factors To Consider When Playing Movies On TV From SSD/USB/HDD

While it can be handy to play movies from your USB or external hard drive on your TV, there are a few limitations to consider.

From differing steps to access external drives on different TV brands to TVs without USB ports, here are five factors to bear in mind when playing movies on your TV from external drives! 

#1: Steps To Play Movies Will Differ Across TV Brands 

When playing videos from an external drive on your TV, the steps to access your drive will vary between television brands and models.

Furthermore, certain TVs will support more video and drive formats than others. Due to this, some TVs will be more limited than others when playing files from external drives. 

#2: Not All Movie File Formats Are Compatible With TVs

To successfully play movies on your TV from an external USB/SSD/HDD, the video file will need to be in a format compatible with your TV.

Most televisions can play MP4, MPG, XVID, DIVX, WMA, and AVI files. However, MKV, VOB, and 3GPP formats are not commonly supported by TVs.

#3: Only Certain Drive Formats Work With TVs 

In addition to the file format of your videos, the formatting of your external drive will also determine whether your TV can access your drive.

Most TVs are compatible with drives that are formatted with FAT, FAT32, and NTFS file systems. 

#4: It May Be Difficult To Browse Your SSD/USB/HDD 

Even if your TV picks up your external USB/SSD/HDD, you might have some difficulty browsing your drive on your television.

Some televisions may not be able to access movies stored within files, while others may not be able to display the full file name of your videos. 

#5: Some Televisions Don’t Have USB Ports 

The last factor to consider is that not all televisions have USB ports! With some older television models, USB ports may not be included, which means it won’t be possible to watch a movie from a drive by plugging it into the TV.

However, if you have a game console, it’s possible to play movies on your TV by plugging it into the console! 

Conclusion

To play movies and video files on your TV from an external USB, SSD, or HDD, you’ll need to copy the desired files to the storage drive.

When the drive is plugged into your TV’s USB port, it should automatically pop up on your TV screen. Alternatively, you can manually access the drive on your TV. You can then use your television remote to select the movies you want to play. 

Sources: 

https://helpguide.sony.net/tv/faep1/v1/en/04-01_01.html

https://www.samsung.com/hk_en/support/tv-audio-video/samsung-tv-how-do-i-play-media-files-in-usb-devices/

https://www.lg.com/us/support/help-library/tv-usb-file-playback-CT10000020-20150775967680

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/questions/vizio-24-class-led-d-series-1080p-smart-hdtv/6032516/question/79f0d74c-8860-33b2-8777-a512868f622e