Why can I not play media files from a Mac formatted external hard drive on my HDTV?

MIndezz May 31, 2011
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I have just purchased newest Western Digital external hard drive with USB 3.

I formatted it for Mac OS extended, so I could obviously store files from my Mac. Although when I connect my hard drive to my HDTV it would not play or even recognize files on it.

I used to do that with my PC and other hard drive all the time – and it used to play media of all kind of formats. Is it because it was reformatted for Mac or what?

Thanks for answers

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  1. Jet W.
    March 31, 2012 at 1:53 am

    I am having a similar issue.  When my media player pulls up a file it sees an additional file with the same name with an underscore in front of the name.  Since I need/want to use autoplay the player is failing.  I can't set up my media on a loop.  Anyone figure out how to export QT's from a mac that don't have that extra file?

  2. Niju Sangani
    February 21, 2012 at 5:34 am

    hi i'm niju.
    i format mac doc external then its support both pc and mac,even we can copy mov file from mac to pc.not sure 

  3. Simple_Mind
    February 8, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I did this and it appeared on my Playstation 3 as BD Utilities or something along those lines. Going into that it has a folder about Caches in which has to blank files. Not sure whats going on there at all. I'm new to all this stuff so a simple step by step guide really helped. I had everything crossed that it would work this time. Please tell me there is a simple answer out there because I'm going nuts trying to work it out.

  4. Mike
    May 31, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    I would say you are facing two problems here:
    1. Partition Table
    2. File System

    By default Mac OS X will format the Hard Drive using GPT Partition Table (or Apple Partition Map for PPC Macs). You will have to reformat it using Master Boot Record because Apple Partition Map is solely supported by Apple and I highly doubt current HDTV's, Set Top Boxes or whatever can read GPT. 
    As for Windows GPT support is also limited: Vista and 7 fully support it, XP 64bit only for data, XP 32bit does not.

    The second point is the bigger problem here: Mac OS Extended (HFS plus) is pretty much unique to Apple. Some Linux distros can read it, Windows requires special File System Drivers which are mostly commercial. I don't know of any general device like a HDTV or STB that can read this format.

    As already mentioned your best option is FAT32 with the limitation that files cannot exceed 4GB. exFAT might work for your Windows computers (Vista and 7 support it, XP with a Hotfix) but again, does your HDTV support it? I highly doubt it. exFAT is one of those tropic file systems that just recently got some attention.

  5. Mindez
    May 31, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Thanks, Austin. I suppose thats my biggest problem, even if i reformat my HD as FAT32 i will be able to transfer only 4GB at one time. Most of my HD space is blue ray movies which are bigger than 4GB... Still planning to install windows 7 on boot camp, that would solve the problem i suppose. Still though, wish it was easier way than that :)

    • Tina
      May 31, 2011 at 6:36 pm

      Mindez,

      did you consider exFAT?

      It's supported as of Mac OS X 10.6.4. It has some of the advantages of FAT32, but it supports larger file sizes, larger partitions (Windows restriction for FAT32), and it creates less fragmentation.

      And since it's a file system predominantly used for flash drives, it's likely that your HDTV will recognize it!

      • Mindezz
        May 31, 2011 at 7:08 pm

        Thanks Tina, so if i reformat it as exFAT it will be able to work with both mac and pc including files larger than 4 GB?

        • Tina
          May 31, 2011 at 7:48 pm

          It will work with Windows 7 and with Mac OS X version 10.6.4 and up.

          If you have Windows XP, you have to download and install this hotfix from Microsoft.

          If you have an earlier version of Mac OS X, then I'm sure there is a patch, too, but I don't know anything about it.

        • Mindez
          May 31, 2011 at 8:04 pm

          Thats cool :) it works with XP now, unfortunately my HDTV is still unable to read any of the files on HD.. 
          Tanks very much for help guys!)

        • Austin Boston
          May 31, 2011 at 8:53 pm

          Did you try both xFAT and FAT32? What format are the files you are working with?  May be a codec issue. And even if they are BluRay (HiDef) there are applications out there that can create very high quality .avi files that are closer to the 1-2 gigabyte range instead of 3-4 gigabyte range.  And thanks for mentioning xFAT Tina!  I'm always forgetting that one.

        • mindez
          May 31, 2011 at 9:09 pm

          Im 100% sure files format has nothing to do with that as i checked hd settings on TV and it shows its total memory = 0.00GB

    • Jaydog01
      October 16, 2011 at 5:09 am

      Hey Everyone,
      I have been trying to solve this problem also.... after many hours of trying different things, i have finally found the perfect solution. 

      I bought myself a new WD Passport elite 1Tb and it would not work with my PS3. I also wanted it to work with my MAC and my PC. All the information i read from various forums, said that this can't be done because MAC is HFS and PC is NTFS formats. The PS3 only recognizes FAT32. And, even if you do reformat your drive to a FAT32, so it can be read on both PC and MAC and then PS3, the big problem is... you can only transfer up to 4gigs at a time!! Who wants to do that, especially if you want to watch blue rays?!! So, how do you solve the problem with 3 different issues?

      Here's how. If you split the partitions on your drive to use both EXFAT and Fat32 you will be able to transfer more data then 4 gigs on the both sides.Yes, even the FAT32 side. I have got it transfer up to 60gb of movies. Holy crap thats awesome! I can now watch anything i want on my PS3 and transfer large amounts of data from both PC and MAC!!!

      Here's how you do it:
      Step 1:
      On my MAC i used the "Disk Utility" and selected my passport drive. Then click on the partition option at the top. Click on the 1st Partition. Then under the Volume Scheme Part, select "2 Partitions". Then go over to the Volume Information side and name it something like "Don"t use" because you literally will not be using this partition.Then make this partition format EXFAT. Then make this Partition the smallest size allowed, which is 1.07gb. 

      *** This partition can be used on PC or Mac but not on a PS3, which is why i made it so small. For me, this is my movie drive that will be used mostly with my PS3. you can make this partition any size you want, depending on the size of your drive.

      Step 2:
      Now you have to format the second Partition. Click on the 2nd Partition. Name it something like "Movies", so you know this is the partition that you will be using to store your data for it to work on the PS3. Then make this Partition FAT32 by selecting MS-DOS (FAT). The next step is automatically done for you as the Mac will assign the remaining space on the drive to this partition. My drive was a 1 Tb, so it made this 999.10 Gb size. 

      *** This partition can also work on a PC or Mac, But If you plug the drive into a PS3, This is the only Partition that will be recognized!

      Step 3:
      Then select options at the bottom and make this a "Master boot". Click ok. Then click Apply, and then Partition and wait till its done.

      Congratulations!!! You now have a drive that will work on both PC and MAC and that will play on PS3 or XBOX!! 

      The whole point of Formatting your drive this way, is so you can transfer more then the 4gb that you are limited to by just using FAT32. The last test i ran allowed me to transfer over 60gb of data. I hope this helps you guys! Happy gaming and movie watching!!!!

      • Algerson Vincent
        December 22, 2011 at 6:41 am

        this don't work....

      • Lozza
        May 25, 2012 at 10:25 am

        AWESOME!! This has been driving me nuts!! I was so happy to finally have saved enough to buy a decent Mac, and was starting to think that after all that, i wouldnt be able to watch movies etc on my HD TV!! Thanks loads!

  6. Austin Boston
    May 31, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    It is probably because it of the way you formatted it.  Not all devices will communicate on same platform.  Like my PC won't recognise a Mac extended hard drive and my ps3 won't recognise a NTFS hard drive.  That is why I always keep one of my external Hard drive formatted as a FAT32.  FAT32 is the most widely recognised format and will work on almost any device.  Only downside is that you can only transfer files as big as 4 gigabytes at a time.  Open your disk utility on your Mac computer.  Select your external hard drive.  Reformat it as a FAT32 and try that.  Should work then.  Cheers hope this helps!.

    • Jaydog01
      October 16, 2011 at 5:05 am

      Hey Everyone,
      I have been trying to solve this problem also.... after many hours of trying different things, i have finally found the perfect solution. 

      I bought myself a new WD Passport elite 1Tb and it would not work with my PS3. I also wanted it to work with my MAC and my PC. All the information i read from various forums, said that this can't be done because MAC is HFS and PC is NTFS formats. The PS3 only recognizes FAT32. And, even if you do reformat your drive to a FAT32, so it can be read on both PC and MAC and then PS3, the big problem is... you can only transfer up to 4gigs at a time!! Who wants to do that, especially if you want to watch blue rays?!! So, how do you solve the problem with 3 different issues?

      Here's how. If you split the partitions on your drive to use both EXFAT and Fat32 you will be able to transfer more data then 4 gigs on the both sides.Yes, even the FAT32 side. I have got it transfer up to 60gb of movies. Holy crap thats awesome! I can now watch anything i want on my PS3 and transfer large amounts of data from both PC and MAC!!!

      Here's how you do it:
      Step 1:
      On my MAC i used the "Disk Utility" and selected my passport drive. Then click on the partition option at the top. Click on the 1st Partition. Then under the Volume Scheme Part, select "2 Partitions". Then go over to the Volume Information side and name it something like "Don"t use" because you literally will not be using this partition.Then make this partition format EXFAT. Then make this Partition the smallest size allowed, which is 1.07gb. 

      *** This partition can be used on PC or Mac but not on a PS3, which is why i made it so small. For me, this is my movie drive that will be used mostly with my PS3. you can make this partition any size you want, depending on the size of your drive.

      Step 2:
      Now you have to format the second Partition. Click on the 2nd Partition. Name it something like "Movies", so you know this is the partition that you will be using to store your data for it to work on the PS3. Then make this Partition FAT32 by selecting MS-DOS (FAT). The next step is automatically done for you as the Mac will assign the remaining space on the drive to this partition. My drive was a 1 Tb, so it made this 999.10 Gb size. 

      *** This partition can also work on a PC or Mac, But If you plug the drive into a PS3, This is the only Partition that will be recognized!

      Step 3:
      Then select options at the bottom and make this a "Master boot". Click ok. Then click Apply, and then Partition and wait till its done.

      Congratulations!!! You now have a drive that will work on both PC and MAC and that will play on PS3 or XBOX!! 

      The whole point of Formatting your drive this way, is so you can transfer more then the 4gb that you are limited to by just using FAT32. The last test i ran allowed me to transfer over 60gb of data. I hope this helps you guys! Happy gaming and movie watching!!!!

      • Nikaa_87
        February 10, 2012 at 10:15 am

        HI,

        i did everything as you said, and my PS3 does recognise my hard drive however I'm still not able to transfer anything larger then 4gb. 

        Any ideas? 

        Thanks, 

        Nika

        • Infinite
          May 17, 2012 at 7:01 am

          FAT32 has a limit of 4GB for files. From what I understand, there is no way around this, except to create another partition on the drive which has a system that does allow files >4GB e.g. NTFS.

          I'm unsure if having more than one partition on a drive affects its readability on PS3 or other devices.

          Namaste.

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