How can I watch movies on my TV that are stored on my external hard drive?

marycork August 18, 2010

I recently bought a freestyle Seagate external hard drive. I wish to watch my movies that I have stored on it on my TV. Do I need to buy a connection to do so? Thanks.

    May 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm


  2. chris p
    May 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    i av films on a flash drive and i want to watch on tv but tv does not av a usb connecter socket is there a cable i can by instead

  3. chris p
    May 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    i av films on a flash drive and i want to watch on tv but tv does not av a usb connecter socket is there a cable i can by instead

  4. kelly
    May 8, 2012 at 12:56 am

    People who know stuff about technology : I have a 2TB WD hard drive. I want to play the movies I have on it through my LG DVD player. I'm told I can do this but I need to download something to make it compatible. What do I do?

    • Bruce Epper
      May 8, 2012 at 8:37 pm

      Since you didn't provide a model number of your DVD player there will be assumptions made about what it can handle. With many LG DVD players, videos must be in AVI format using the DivX codec. There are many converters out there that can take video files in most formats and convert them to any of the other supported formats. These converters rely on the codecs that are already installed on your machine to do the repackaging. So, you will need to have the DivX codec installed (as well as the codecs that are used in the source file) which is available at and a converter such as FormatFactory ( The DivX site also offers a converter, but I believe that is a paid option to convert to a DivX file although other conversion options are available in the free (locked) version.

      May 8, 2012 at 10:29 pm

      Hello, can you provide us with the dvd player model? That way an answer tailored to your model can be given. Most times dvd players are able to play avi, divx and matroska formats.

  5. lisko
    March 10, 2012 at 7:26 am

    I have my movies on my computer and I want to watch them on different tvs around the house. All the tvs have an RJ45

  6. Dannyburnell123
    February 21, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    can i wach films on my hard drive with a usb to hdmi adapter to my tv it doesnot have a usb port only hdmi

  7. Nrooney
    February 18, 2012 at 10:25 am

    One solution is to use an Xbox to stream from a nas device such as a wd my book. That what I do, works well. Either by wifi or ethernet.

  8. Chris Sarkis
    February 4, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    Basically I have hundreds of DVD's and they are taking up a hell of a lot of room so I'm thinking about putting them on an external hard disk of a couple of TB and plugging that into my TV and was just wondering if that is possible?
    Another question is the software on the external hard disk, would it allow for a search function? Because trying to find a film by pressing down on a remote would take some time. 
    Or would it be simpler to use a laptop with a large hard disk and do it that way?

  9. Scotwatson
    February 2, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    my hard drive used to work on my 3D surround sound player then i formated it and now it dosent what do i need to do to get it workin again?

    • loy
      April 27, 2012 at 1:48 pm

      I would guess reformat it in FAT32.. some older systems can't read NTFS

  10. michael
    December 25, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    When I connect my external hard drive to my DVD player I can listen to the music or look at pictures when i click on the video it tells me no program find what do they mean by that

  11. Shoota
    November 23, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Tina, i recommend you get a fukn life ya nosey mole. If you have nothing interesting to say then go away. Go join a lonely wives club somewhere so you can stick your nose in someone elses business. Sick of looking at your face.

  12. Draven7299
    November 18, 2011 at 2:51 am

    I am trying to get my movies to play from my WD 2TB EX HD, that is connected to my laptop which in turn is connected wirelessly to my blue ray player/media player.  Now i can already play the movies that are on my laptop because i already have the windows media player streaming wirelessly to the Blueray player.  But i have not figured out how to properly play movies directly from the ex HD via my computer.  I know i could buy a wireless router with usb connection for ex HD but i dont want to spend the money.  I know im missing something but i can't figure it out obviously...already tried sharing my exHD and tried homesharing(Windows 7) the exHD and i tried even adding the exHD to the windows media player library (A "Play To" feature) in order to stream the individual file but it failed saying that ""Failed to retreive media information from media server".  Weird because the compatability is there, the files all play when i connect the exHD directly to the Blueray player and how are the files on my computer streaming but not the ones on my exHD...i dont know, WTF! Help please.

  13. Guest
    November 16, 2011 at 11:21 am

    why do you keep telling people to ask new questions when they are relevent to this topic / discussion? why duplicate questions and posts it makes no sense teh advice you are giving is poor, im sorry but its more useful to rad a discussion based on similar questions and answers than it is to keep openign multiple questions to find the same unanswered result. Just my 2 cents worth

    • Tina
      November 16, 2011 at 12:31 pm

      If this was a standard forum, where questions that receive new comments propel to the top of the list and thus grab the attention of people who answer questions, then you would be right.

      However, this is not how MakeUseOf Answers works. So from my experience of almost two years, questions asked within a comment thread sit there and receive hardly any attention. People who do see them are typically those also looking for answers, i.e. people who can not offer a solution.

      Hence, the best way to receive a response, is to ask a new question. It also gives you the chance to describe your specific situation, then get the exposure of the Answers front page, as well as the chance of having the question featured as a toughest question on the MakeUseOf main blog.

  14. Angelo5114
    November 14, 2011 at 4:33 am

    Adouble : What's going on everyone, I think i've found the answer! You need to Partitioned the hard drive and Format it MS-DOS (FAT32).  This fixed the problem and now all the movies no matter what way they are download works! 

  15. Friarnz
    November 13, 2011 at 2:13 am

    Hi people never been to this page B4
    Was reading how you all argue about FAT32 and NTFS on your external HDD's.
    Now as far as i know all externals are manufactured with Fat32 as this is the simplest form of format as its quick to produce. B4 u load anything on your externals its very easy to reformat to NTFS if u so desire. I have used both formats and never had a problem but as said i reformat my externals to NTFS. Now as far as TV's go mkv,some mp4's will not play as tv's do not recognize this type of movie format, so when you d/load your movies off a site or wherever make sure they are of the avi format. This will solve heaps of your problems for using USB to TV and i have a very late model TV and dont have to use a self powered HDD. Hope this is of some use to you

    • td
      May 8, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      i have ntfs and it still dont work

  16. Berryholley
    November 5, 2011 at 12:41 am

    i have 2 hard drives one has its own power supply (western digital) the other is a seagate that does not have its own power.the wester digital works on my dvd player.
    the seagate i formatted to fat32 it playes some video and some autio but most cases not both im trying to learn how to convert autio and video so it will read both.not sure any answer tks

  17. Pawandyes
    October 10, 2011 at 7:45 am

    I have a 500GB external Hard disk (Seagate) with about 300 movies in it. I play them directly on my TV all the time. 

    I have a LG 42" TV which has 2 USB ports, 1 HDMI port. I simply connect my external (self powered) hard disk into the USB drive in the TV and then use the TV remote to change the "Input" from TV to "USB" and I am connected on the TV to the self powered external Hard Drive and I am free to select any of the movies stored in the HDD using the TV remote.The TV was bought in Dubai and brought to India...Your TV must have a USB port.I have noticed that a lot of TV's in India do not have a USB port (but have a HDMI port only). Inthat case you would need a USB to HDMI converter to connect HDD to TV.Hope this works for you.

    • Tina
      October 11, 2011 at 6:33 pm

      Thanks for sharing your solution, Pawandyes!

    • awallafashagba
      October 18, 2011 at 6:12 am

      This does not always work however ... I tried this with a WD drive last night and it didnt even recognise the drive - My TV is a Sony KDL40CX520 so pretty new and designed for this sort of malarky !

  18. Jon
    August 12, 2011 at 7:04 am

     do a search for the wireless media stick from hsti . it lets you stream from your computer wireless!

  19. Zoe Freeman
    July 26, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    how can i hook up my dvd external drive to watch dvd movies on my TV

  20. Anonymous
    June 6, 2011 at 3:42 am


  21. Anonymous
    June 6, 2011 at 3:39 am

    Hi, i have a 350gb passport i think
    and i have a samsung tv i put my passport in it recognizes it but then it says i have no movies?
    i have 101 movies on there ive tried putting them in different files and change the usb port but  still says i have no movies
    Someone please help me !!!

    • Tina
      June 6, 2011 at 5:56 pm


      please ask a new question.

      • Bababooey
        August 7, 2011 at 7:39 am

        Tina, you need to suck a seriously big dick. Relax. Charles just wants to know how to find his 101 movies. I bet one of the movies on his computer involves you blowing chimps. I'm sure of it. I've seen it.

      • Spurtz
        September 8, 2011 at 6:08 am

        Tina, go home.

        • Jack Cola
          September 8, 2011 at 11:34 am

          That's not something you really should say to the MUO Answers Editor.

        • Tina
          September 8, 2011 at 5:46 pm

          Well, actually I work from home. ;)

  22. Psybdu
    May 28, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Tina go home

    • Tina
      May 28, 2011 at 5:29 pm

      No need.

  23. Psybdu
    May 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm


  24. Mikedjb
    April 28, 2011 at 9:30 am

    What are you talking about?

    • Art12755
      July 12, 2011 at 6:33 pm

      you need to reformat to fat 32 useing windows but beware it will erase your hard drive to so save your videos to your pc first format your hard drive and put your videos back on it. this should work

      • Blackflirt
        October 8, 2011 at 6:34 pm can convert it to fat32 file system with acronis diskdirector without reformatting..

  25. Mikedjb
    April 27, 2011 at 1:39 am

    I have a seagtae go flex 500 gig,external,device is not recognized in my dvd usb port,I need it to read like a pendrive,any suggestions?

    • Tina
      April 27, 2011 at 8:21 pm


      I recommend that you ask a new question. Click the respective button and fill in the question form. Thank you!

    • Hawk
      May 3, 2011 at 1:21 pm

      hey mike,

      one thing you need to find out is if your dvd usb port supports the file type your external harddrive is formatted to: FAT32 or NTFS, I know that when I hooked up my external hard drive to my blu ray player it only supported FAT32 so I was limited to what I could use.

    • Pawandyes
      October 10, 2011 at 7:48 am

      If you have a 500gb external hard disk...your DVD may not be able to deliver enough power into the External disk (I presume your disk is self powered). You will need a external hard disk which is also powered from external source.

  26. Anonymous
    February 20, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Will movies from my Vuze account play on my TV if I get an external hard drive and a media player?

  27. Jack Cola
    August 21, 2010 at 3:25 am

    I would connect a laptop or a computer to your TV and then plug the harddrive into that to watch your moves. That's what I do. But I use my laptop that's connected to the TV to stream video files that are stored on my PC upstairs in my room.

  28. Josh Fox
    August 19, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    I use a laptop, external hard drive, and XBMC as a media center on my HDTV. If you don't like the idea of using an entire computer for this purpose, or don't have the proper adapter on either the computer or TV, I also have another external hard drive and a Western Digital Media player hooked up on the TV in my bedroom, which only had a coax hookup and an RF switch for composite cables. If you don't have TV-out on a spare computer or no appropriate adapters on the TV, I would say the Western Digital box (WDTV) would be the way to go. Mine has had good performance and has played every file I've thrown at it except for FLV.

    • Noel
      March 6, 2011 at 7:32 pm

      Hi Josh, what WDTV do you use?

      • Josh Fox
        March 10, 2011 at 12:26 am

        Noel, I have the second generation WDTV. It's a little aged and I can't seem to find the product page on the WD site, but Newegg still has the product page... just none in stock since it's been discontinued.

        There are newer and nicer versions out now.

        • Shariq Riazkhan
          September 22, 2011 at 12:55 pm

          I'm having Sony bravia LCD TV and an Western Digital 1TB external Usb hard disk (My book Essential) Drive.
          now if i buy Western digital Tv, then can i play movies stored on my external hard drive on TV.

          Simply i want to ask is.

          Can i connect wdtv with my TV and External hard disk and can play contents of Hard drive over TV.

          Details -
          Tv - 4 HDMi + 4 USb and other Computer connectable ports.
          hard Drive - Western Digital My book Essentials (1 TB)           

        • Josh Fox
          September 22, 2011 at 8:00 pm

          Yes, the Western Digital WDTV players will let you play stuff from external USB hard drives on your TV. They can connect to your TV with HDMI or composite video with your choice of audio output. The newer models also let you use online streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, and some others.

        • Koustubh Mench
          September 23, 2011 at 7:09 pm

          u can connect the ext hard disk  to sony hdtv via usb port, worked for me.

        • Adammale
          January 3, 2012 at 12:05 pm

          How fast can the tv read the ext hd compared to usb?

        • adrian
          January 9, 2012 at 9:31 pm

          you said you can plug in external hard drive into sony tv and it plays the movies/i have sony 40 inch 421 series with usb/plays all my itunes but movies too correct?

        • Stacey
          February 23, 2012 at 3:25 pm

          Hi I can't seem too get my wd to play on my tv pleas help do I need some leads

  29. Haisat
    August 18, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    There are few DVD players with USB port. Connect your external hard disk to these and you can watch movies on your tv. These can't play all the video formats. I generally play divx movies or .avi format movies.

    Another way is play your video on laptop or computer and use S-Video cable to watch on TV.

    • Aibek
      August 19, 2010 at 8:18 pm

      Availability of a USB port on DVD player doesn't mean that it can read from an external drive. I have a home theater system with a USB port but, it read from a thumbdrives but not from the hard drive.

      • Pawandyes
        October 10, 2011 at 7:51 am

        You will need a external HD which is powered from external source. The self powered external HDD will not work as the DVD cannot supply it with the 12V that it will need to function.

        • Lloyd Thomas
          November 3, 2011 at 10:46 am


          I have both powered and non power external HD's yet neither work? I have tried re-formatting them from NTFS to FAT but nothing works

      • Aeris
        January 14, 2012 at 8:38 pm

        that is because thumb drives are in fat32 format and your exhard drive is ntfs it can be reformated

    • Mary_crcrn
      August 21, 2010 at 9:23 pm

      Thanks Haisat, will give that a go x

      • Gibbons
        December 11, 2011 at 2:04 am

        I'm wondering if the newest Roku (xs, with a USB port and ethernet port) will stream direct from an external HD to TV?

        • Josh Fox
          December 11, 2011 at 4:15 am

          Yes, the Roku 2 XS can handle and external hard drive up to 500 GB. However, it can only play h.264 encoded MP4 and MKV files. I would hope they are working to get more codecs available in future firmwares, though.

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