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  1. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2014
    Location: Canada
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    Hi All

    My company currently provides monthly blu-rays to retail stores. On that Blu-ray is movie trailers and other entertainment info. We have had a lot of them ask us if we could provide our Blu-rays on USB Drives instead that they can plug directly in the back of their TV's.

    Is it possible to create a video file that will play on all TV's with USB drives?
    And is it possible to create that same file to continuously loop when it gets to the end? (They are about 1h 30m but we dont want people to have to keep pushing play)

    Thank you!
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  2. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2006
    Location: United States
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    Originally Posted by WhileUWait View Post
    Hi All

    My company currently provides monthly blu-rays to retail stores. On that Blu-ray is movie trailers and other entertainment info. We have had a lot of them ask us if we could provide our Blu-rays on USB Drives instead that they can plug directly in the back of their TV's.

    Is it possible to create a video file that will play on all TV's with USB drives?
    And is it possible to create that same file to continuously loop when it gets to the end? (They are about 1h 30m but we dont want people to have to keep pushing play)

    Thank you!
    An mpg or ts container with Blu-Ray compatible MPEG-2 video and Dolby Digital (AC3) audio would work with many TVs. So would a ts container with Blu-Ray compatible H.264/AVC and Dolby Digital (AC3) audio.

    However, some customers are likely to find that their TV won't play the USB sticks you send them. Some TVs have a USB ports which cannot be used to play video, only to display photos or to play music. Others that do have a TV with a built-in USB video player may be unable to play your videos because of restrictions placed on the video encoding, audio encoding and the container files that the player will accept.

    Looped playback would be controlled by the TV. Some TVs can be set up to play the same file over and over, but others may not include that function.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 26th Aug 2014 at 15:34.
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  3. Originally Posted by WhileUWait View Post
    Is it possible to create a video file that will play on all TV's with USB drives?
    No.
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  4. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2001
    Location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
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    Correct. DVD & Blu-ray (and to a lesser extent, S/VCD) are Authored, Consumer Entertainment formats (on disc media). As such, they and they alone enjoy the benefit of (near) ubiquity/universality, compatibility, & tailored playback (including forced looping).

    Scott
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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  5. If retail stores have TV's with built-in media players and they're asking for video on USB sticks, chances are pretty good those USB media players will play all the common formats (in an MKV or MP4 container). h264 video (high profile, level 4.1) and AC3 or MP3 audio should be pretty safe.

    The "continuous loop" part mightn't be possible though. Unless the TV itself has a playback loop option I don't think it can be done.

    My TV automatically plays the next video in a folder after the current video finishes playing. I don't know how common that is, but assuming most TVs do the same you could put a video on a USB stick multiple times and maybe get around the non-looping problem that way.
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  6. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2001
    Location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
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    Yet, they aren't (as dependable as you think).
    There is still a WIDE range of the level of compatibility & versatility in those players. "Pretty good" and "pretty safe" are worthless to a business where getting it right every time is mission critical.

    Playlist playthrough is also hit-or-miss. Even if it is reliable, a 1-hour super-high quality SD clip recorded on a DVD-R-SL can be looped to play at a store ALL WEEK LONG (assuming the power doesn't go out). A USB stick, even with greater capacity, and better codec efficiency, it going to hit the end of the last file in the series and STOP on some of those devices. The comparison is even more striking when using Blu-ray & HD clips.

    Would you bet your business's livelihood on it working correctly for each and every one of your hundreds/thousands of clients?

    <edit>Plus, there's cost. $0.30 - $2.00/disc vs. $8.00-$40.00/stick. Which is more economical? And don't cheat thinking those sticks will be reliably recycleable.</edit>

    Scott
    Last edited by Cornucopia; 27th Aug 2014 at 03:51.
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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  7. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2014
    Location: Canada
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    Thanks so much for all your input I really appreciate it. I think we're probably safer sticking with sending out BD discs monthly to them.
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  8. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2012
    Location: Australia
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    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    Playlist playthrough is also hit-or-miss. Even if it is reliable, a 1-hour super-high quality SD clip recorded on a DVD-R-SL can be looped to play at a store ALL WEEK LONG (assuming the power doesn't go out). A USB stick, even with greater capacity, and better codec efficiency, it going to hit the end of the last file in the series and STOP on some of those devices. The comparison is even more striking when using Blu-ray & HD clips.
    If you can format the drive as NTSC you could probably just duplicate the files using symbolic/hard links as many times as you like. But an optical disc would be more practical.
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  9. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2006
    Location: United States
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    I think you mean format the drive as NTFS. NTSC is an analog TV broadcast system.
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  10. Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    Would you bet your business's livelihood on it working correctly for each and every one of your hundreds/thousands of clients?
    Would you bet your business's livelihood by refusing to supply video to clients in the format they request it? According to the OP, that's what "a lot" of them are doing.
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  11. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2001
    Location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
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    Except in my experience, most clients don't understand more than an elementary level of video+audio knowledge and will often ask for things which are not feasible/economical/practical, and it is the job of the video/audio professional to "gently educate" them by pointing out their options (or lack) using analogies they can understand. Witness the necessity for a site such as Videohelp and the COMMON goofy questions raised here.

    One could always give them the choice/option to use one (BD) or the other (MP4 file on USB), assuming their TVs "pass inspection" (the test of whether it can play that filetype/codec and loop correctly on its own). But then who's going to do all that testing? Would you bet your business's livelihood on the non-techy clients' ability to thoroughly and accurately test all those devices?

    Scott
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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  12. It could be a bit confusing for all the non-techies watching video at home via drives plugged into their TV's USB media players, if at work they deal with video/audio professionals gentry trying to educate them in regard to why video on a thumb drive is too hard or can't be done.

    I wonder how long it'll be before some of those non-techie clients simply state they no longer have the equipment to play discs, or can only play discs if a player is provided along with someone to set it up?

    We don't really know enough about the retailers involved and how much motivation they have to make sure the video is played, or for that matter, who actually pays for it, but when "a lot" of clients are asking for the same thing.....
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