Do any tablets support watching movies from an external hard drive?

Bumferry December 28, 2012

I am thinking of buying a tablet but want to know if it is possible to connect an external hard drive to a tablet in order to watch MP4 movies that are stored on there?

The hard drive I own is a Western Digital portable hard drive, powered via USB, but I would like to know if any brand of tablet would be able to allow me to view movies, music or pictures when connected.


  1. Shawn
    February 25, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    This is kinda late but if you need to know yes there are but you may need a micro usb to usb adapter. I have a 7 inch " Archos 70 250GB" and hook my 2 Tb drive to it. It may need its own power supply to the drive. But since my tablet as a hard drive I have full movies (about 60) on it

  2. Bumferry Hogart
    December 28, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Thanks for all your comments. A lot to process, but I think I will leave buying a tablet for the future. Its seems odd that a portable device that is essentially a hand held screen can not be easily used as a movie screen without the addition of extra equipment. All I wanted to do was use my tablet as i do my laptop by connecting an external hard drive and watch films.... probably better off buying a little notebook for the same price and have a keyboard, screen and comparable battery life. thanks anyway guys.

    • ha14
      December 30, 2012 at 6:51 pm

      you are quite right, if you have more experience with notebooks then perhaps is better for you so that to not have surprises when you attach an external hard drive, some tablets perhaps do not function well with all external hard drives.

    • Jeff
      January 4, 2013 at 1:50 pm


      I'm using the acer a500 which has a normal usb port and can plug my portable hard drive (without having to change its format, ntfs) into it to watch nearly any video format (though I did have to get a free app from the play store called dice player). I also connect my compact flash card reader to the port to view jpeg images after taking photo's.

      The tablet is much more portable then a laptop and has good battery life however if you want to do something productive such as word processing your best bet is a notebook/laptop. Good luck!

  3. ha14
    December 28, 2012 at 10:11 am

    How To Stream Movies From External Hard Drive To Your Android Tablet

    few Android tablets will work with external hard drives using a micro-usb to usb adapter, in some cases they cannot provide enough power to run the drive and you would need a separate power cable for the hard drive plugging into a wall socket or something. Smaller 2.5" drives usually require less power so you might have more luck. the external hard drive must be FAT16 / FAT32 formatted.

    Another option is to hook the external drive up to your LAN if your router supports it, then you can just access it from a tablet directly through the network.

    Toshiba AT100
    Unlike just about all its rivals, Toshiba has managed to find room on board the AT100 for full-size HDMI and USB ports – not the mini-variety you typically see elsewhere. What's the difference? Well, a full-size HDMI port lets you connect up your AT100 to your HDTV with a standard HDMI cable to enjoy HD videos on a bigger screen, while a full-size USB port lets you plug in the likes of your external HDD just like you were using a standard PC.

  4. Mike
    December 28, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Your biggest problem is going to be the bus power. Tablets are not really meant to power devices via their USB port. But this doesn't mean it won't work.

    As far as I know any Android device with a USB host port can access a USB hard drive. Depending on the file system you might need additional software.

    There are also external drives for iOS devices. For file playback you usually need some third-party player from the App Store.

    I haven't looked into accessing "existing" hard drives not designed for that purpose but I assume as soon as you got a Dock/Lightning to USB converter you should be able to do it using third-party software.

  5. susendeep dutta
    December 28, 2012 at 6:13 am

    The Samsung Galaxy Tablets although have a proprietary port for data transfer,but if you get a USB adapter( $19.99),then you can plug USB devices to view data on it.See the link below for more information -

    • Douglas Mutay
      December 28, 2012 at 6:53 am

      Very useful information.

    • Gayson
      April 28, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      Thanks!! just made my day!! :)

    • Jadzia
      May 2, 2013 at 8:55 pm

      Samsung tablets only support USBs up to 32G. Screens freeze & goes black if you try and attach anything higher.

  6. Junil Maharjan
    December 28, 2012 at 4:57 am

    I have an Asus Transformer TF300T which comes with a physical keyboard in which i can dock my screen. The keyboard has a usb drive and it supports my 1TB WD portable hard drive. I have often used it to watch videos and stuff from my hard drive.

  7. Sashritha Peiris
    December 28, 2012 at 3:21 am

    I don't think tablets can power external hard drives. They can play movies on flash drives, thumb drives or micro sd cards. Just make sure the tablet you are buying has a usb port for usb flash drive or a micro sd slot if you have a micro sd card. You need a android app like ES File explorer to browse files on a flash drive of micro sd card.

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