Does anyone out there know of tv's like this, so i can just plug in a flash drive, or usb-based HDD, and watch a movie? I was told there are tv's like this 5 years ago. I saw a Vizio on Walmart's website, and after checking the specs on it, it does say that there is a USB port on the tv, but it says in parenthesis "Service Only". I would assume that it's just for service, like when a tech gets a hold of it to service it.
If anyone can tell me which tv's have a USB port for inputting movies to the tv, i'd appreciate it. I'd also appreciate any keywords to look for when trying to find one online, like at Best Buy, Walmart, Fry's, etc. I could go a different route, and just buy a DVD player with a USB port, and watch movies that way, or get an XBOX360 and set up the Media Center on it, to play games, watch videos, listen to music, etc. I was just wondering which tv's would have a USB port built in.
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Some USB ports for multimedia use on tvs will facilitate music (mp3) and pictures (jpg) only. Video support is not that common, and quite restricted at that. But some do support DivX/XviD videos. Few do support H.264 videos.
If your goal is to view downloaded videos (i.e. encoded without your control), then you would be better off using a media player (like the WD TV), which does support a very wide variety of formats.
With USA/Canada market televisions, this is a rare feature, and even the sets that have it usually disappoint. The problem is that the overwhelming majority of video files floating around were at some point formatted in or from PAL, and North American brand-name hardware generally chokes on PAL. You see this also in PC software that converts DiVX and AVI files to DVD, like AVS2DVD and DVDflick, that crash and burn with a number of PAL-based files, even if you tell them to make a PAL dvd. Many, many of these files are just plain badly done: they get by on the skin of their teeth using PC and HDD media players, but take them out of that arena and hardly anything else will play them properly.
Of course there's always an exception, if you find this feature at all it will most likely be on a second-tier brand like Vizio which doesn't bother with stupid region restrictions and plays PAL or NTSC with no headaches. It will still probably disappoint by choking on half the files you try to play on it, and you may not like the overall PQ compared to big-name brands. Eventually I expect all TVs to have exactly the capability you're looking for, but we aren't there just yet: mfrs are just now starting to realize the youth demographic couldn't care less about DVD or BD anymore, they just want to plug in memory cards, sticks, iPods and media players. Give it another two years, and this feature will be more available and functional.
Usually in a given brand of HDTV, you will find more codec support as you move up to the more expensive models that also support networking. The only way to find out which codecs are supported and the restrictions is to download the manual for the TV you are considering. Read all the small print notes.
As others have said, if wide codec support is your main goal and if you don't need networking and other high end TV features, it is much more cost effective to use a media player. Also note that HDTV firmware is seldom upgraded except to correct serious problems. Media players compete on upgrade support and are cheap to replace.
Last edited by edDV; 27th Nov 2010 at 08:39.Recommends: Kiva.org - Loans that change lives.
Why pay $500 more for a TV that will do a mediocre job of playing media files (limited container, codec, and resolution support) when you can buy an external player that does much better for $100.
snafubaby - As others have pointed out such TVs always have restrictions on what they will play. This may or may not be a big deal to you depending on what you have. High def is often not supported nor is DTS. People who have such TVs often have to spend a lot of time converting their files just to get them in a format the TV can deal with.
I'm just going to be blunt here - your other plan to get an Xbox and use it as a media center is terrible. The Xbox and PS3 have been left in the dust as media player for AT LEAST 3 years now. They are very much inferior to options like the various Western Digital media players or similar products by other companies and have been for YEARS now.
And if you have a home network the media players can access your files directly from the network. You won't have to copy them to a flash drive.
Philips dvd players have USB ports & you can attach stuff, I have a 400gb HD on mine, they are usually under $50.
I thought most modern tv's had this facility. I bought a Samsung 6 series LCD back in May and I have the movie playing USB port, although I've never had reason to use it. Tested it, and it works fine, BUT, you do not get a full screen sized picture, just a small preview sized one in the centre. So, there are drawbacks with this system.