Great! You have all your home videos as digital files!

Now let's get watching them on your smart TV.

There are two factors involved in whether your smart TV can play the video files on your USB drive.

  • The format of the drive
  • Whether your TV can read MP4 video files

Let's talk about the drive format. There are three types of USB drive formats we will discuss for video files, exFAT, NTFS, and FAT32. We usually format our USB drives for video files as exFAT to be compatible with PC computers. (Note: Apple made a change that won't allow exFAT drives to work on newer Mac computers.) These USB drives will also work on most smart TVs, but not all. Some smart TVs will require the USB drive be formatted as NTFS. If your video files are small in size, we can also format the drive FAT32. This format has a file size limit of 4GB, but it is compatible with PC and Mac computers, as well as many smart TVs.

Check your TV's owner's manual for specifications on the format of USB drive your TV will accept. If it requires NTFS, then you can follow the steps below to convert your USB drive format.

  1. Put your USB drive into your computer and copy all the files to a folder on your computer.
  2. VERIFY THAT ALL THE FILES COPIED SUCCESSFULLY! You can do this by selecting all the files on the USB drive and then right-click. Click on Properties and note the size of all the files. This will likely be a number followed by "GB" (gigabytes). Now do the same for all the files on your computer that you just copied. The numbers should be the same.
  3. Go to the USB drive, right-click, and choose format. Select NTFS and OK. Important: This will erase everything on your USB drive. Be sure you have completed Step 2 first.
  4. Copy all the files from your computer folder back onto the USB drive. Once complete, eject the USB drive from your computer.
  5. Now insert the USB into your TV, change the Source/Input to the USB and it should recognize your video files.

NOTE: If you don't feel comfortable doing the steps above, and your TV needs NTFS, just return your USB drive back to us and we will convert it for you for free.

USB Drive for smart TV

CLOUD DELIVERY: This option is also available for your video files and is the most popular choice. So if you don't need a USB drive, consider Cloud Delivery. This will allow you to share your files with family and friends, and even stream them to your devices.

Now let's look at the file format. The MP4 file format is very common and can be read by most smart TVs. However, if you've followed the above steps and your TV still won't recognize the video files, it is likely a lack of this capability of your TV. That doesn't mean your TV is defective, it means it wasn't designed to read the MP4 format. This problem is more common with lower-end and off-brand TVs.

Remember, you can also watch your videos on a PC computer. The files can also be streamed via Bluetooth to your smart TV.

Using USB drives on smart TVs

Looking for a better Media Player for your video? We recommend VLC Media Player. It is free, open-source, and works on Windows and MacOS.