How can I use my WD Elements drive with my Samsung HDTV?

K December 3, 2011
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I’ve seen similar posts to this but cannot figure out the answer either, so I’ll ask my question afresh.

I have the WD Elements SE portable 1TB HD and my Samsung TV won’t read any of the files on it. However, it DOES see that it the HD is there.

I have 3 sorts of files on the har drive – .avi, .mv4 and .mp4.

The HD is formatted Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

All three sorts of files work when I connect the HD to my computer (Mac).

I have seen a lot of speak about formatting to Fat32, but three issues with this – one, I don’t know what this means; two, I don’t know how and three, I’m concerned if I do this then my Mac will no longer read the drive (or however I should technically describe this) and thus that I won’t be able to actually PUT the files on the HD in the first place.

SO – what I want to be able to do is save the files to my HD, then plug it into the TV and watch them. Very, very basic wish, but seems not a basic way to get to it!

I’m sorry if the answers to my questions are very obvious but I’m not much for computer tech-speak, and when I went searching for the HD in the first place the guy I bought it off assured me it would be capable of doing what I want (eg, save movie files to it and watch on computer) without any issues.

I’m willing to accept that he may have been way off (though he said he does it, so not sure?), so now I’m looking to understand what I need to do to make this happen.

Any answers would be great, and in plain English speak please… and hopefully in an easy-to-do way for laymen like me!

  1. Jack Johnson
    May 1, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    i foud the best way to sort this is, i did 3 partitions on my ext hard drive.
    one with Mac OS Extended (case sensitive Journaled)
    second & third with MS Dos (Fat)

    use the mac one for time machine
    second Fat one for pics & music to viw on samsung tv.

    third Fat one i let samsung tv re-format it so that i can also use it as pvr for recording tv.

    it works great

    • Christina
      July 1, 2012 at 1:40 am

      You're a genius!

    December 4, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Hello, If you want your TV to read your external drive it has to be formatted in FAT32.  One disadvantage of FAt32, is that it does not allow files bigger than 4GBs.  The advantage of FAT32, is that it can be read in different operating system like mac, linux and windows.  Mind you, there are some TVs that are to read NTFS formatted drives but in your case it is better to use Fat32 so that you mac can read it too.

    The reason your TV, can not read the contents of your drive is because it is formatted with HFS, which is a format compatible with MAC but not with your TV.  There are several formats for hard drives, ntfs, fat32, (fat16, fat), ext2, ext3, ext4, hfs, etc.  The most widely used format for PC is NTFS, which is the default for most new computers.  Fat32 is an older format which can be used in linux, mac and pc.  Fat16 and fat are the precursors of Fat32 and are not widely used anymore.  Ext2,3,4 are formats compatible with linux.  Hfs is compatible with mac.

    If you want to format your external hard drive to Fat32 in a mac you can use the mac utilities to format it.  Before doing that, make sure to copy any files you have in your hard drive to a folder in your mac.  Once you format a drive, you loose all the information on it.  You can do the following to format  drive:

    -- connect external to mac
    -- go to Applications
    -- select utilities
    -- select disk utility
    -- click on partition
    belonging to your external hard drive
    -- select the partition (there should be only one)
    -- choose msdos(fat) as your format
    -- click on

    Once your external is formatted with Fat32, copy/move the files back to your external from your mac.  Once that is donw, all you have to do is connect your external hard drive to your TV and provided the files in your drive are compatible with TV, it should be able to read files and you should be able to view your movies. 

    You would have to read in the TV's manual about the formats that the TV recognizes.  I am sure that .avi an mp4 should be read by your TV.  I am not sure about .mv4.

    • john jones
      March 1, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      My External Harddrive is formated to NTFS and plays videos of my HD ....however it fails to open up some folders which contain videos in them. it presents an error sign saying the folder cannot be opened have any ideas in which why this maybe the case ....funny enough my friend has a samsung tv of a lower model d5000 which plays all these vids with no issue despite it being formatted to NTFS whilse mine the d8000 fails to do so

      • FIDELIS
        March 9, 2012 at 10:41 pm

         Hello, what kind of files are stored in the folder your Tv cannot open?

  3. Mike
    December 4, 2011 at 7:59 am

    If you read through your HDTVs manual you will find that it only supports FAT32 ~ maybe also NTFS.

    Mac OS Extended Journal (HFS+) is a proprietary file system and even a Windows PC can't read it without the appropriate tools or drivers installed ~ let alone a TV.

    I'm afraid you will have to reformat your Hard Drive
    * This will delete all data on the drive

    1. open up Disk Utility (/Applications/Utilities/)
    2. select your external drive ("1TB WD Elements" or whatever it is called)
    3. click on the Partition tab
    4. select the following settings:
    Partition Layout: 1 Partition
    Format: MS-DOS (FAT) 
    the name will change to "UNTITLED" but you can change it to whatever you want
    click the Options button at the bottom and select "Master Boot Record"

    When everything is set click Apply at the bottom right.
    Again, this will delete all data from the drive so you will want to backup it beforehand.

    • Emily
      July 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      This works great for me! Thanks so much for the advice!

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