I have 4 TB Hard Drives that I am using for storage of Video and audio files. I would like to connect these drives directly to the TV and play the files. I am researching this but my knowledge is so limited. Can anyone give some direction on how to accomplish this?
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USB 2.0 or 3.0 drive? Does the TV have a USB port? Does the TV have a media player for playing files form the USB port? What drive formats does the TV support (FAT, NTFS...)? What containers (AVI, MP4, MKV, TS...) does the TV's media player support? What audio and video codecs are supported? Is your drive USB powered or does it have its own power supply?
The USB is 3.0. The Tv does not have a media player.
My current equipment will not support this adventure of mine. Can I purchase a Blu-ray player that will act as a media player? or is a stand alone media player best?
Certain Roku players have USB inputs that would work and Amazon also sells some reasonably priced media players (check Micca). But some have limits of 2TB drives so read the specs- you might have to buy a smaller hard drive or possibly partition the 4TB if that works (not sure). If you find something better let me know because Iím doing the same thing, but my TV accepts USB. I just have a player for other TVs that donít.
Media players discussed at length here https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/389775-Please-help-me-find-a-media-player-box
My recommendations from that thread:
"This has been discussed numerous times on this forum.
Assuming you have your Blu-Rays backed up as .MKV (i.e separate files with no menus), any of the following will suit your needs. If they're saved as .ISO (i.e a complete copy of the disc with menus, the options are far fewer, possibly a Blu-Ray player or a HTPC or laptop. About a year ago, I swapped out one of my failing WDTVs with a small laptop for my secondary TV. It's not quite as user friendly, but works well with a wireless keyboard.*
*My preference is a Logitech K400 which combines a mid-size keyboard with a touchpad. I've other mini-keyboards including one with a wireless mouse feature (you wave the keyboard to maneuver the mouse, but the K400 is the most convenient.
$50 - $100 - Android Box or Raspberry Pi (as Jagabo suggested). Stick with the 4 star+ boxes on Amazon and the build quality is generally solid with higher cost giving you additional streaming features that you may not need.
$100 - $150 - Blu-Ray player. Be sure the player will play DVD .ISOs (if you have them) and .MKVs. Newer players may not support all types of video files.
$150+ - KDLinks, Nvidia Shield, laptop, HTPC. Note that the newer KDLinks models (e.g. A400) run Android and IMHO, doesn't warrant the premium over a $100 Android Box. While the Nvidia Shield is highly praised, most of the praise is for it's gaming capabilities, not the video capabilities.
After using an old laptop (actually a 2-in-1 tablet) for my second TV, I'm seriously thinking about replacing or supplementing my beloved WDTV with another laptop or small PC. The main advantage being that I can play video files other than .ISOs or .MKVs.
As for storage, get an external drive and connect it directly to the box. 8TB externals are best bargain now at less than $150 (less than $20/TB) with 6TB and 4TB externals available for ~$25/TB. As much as possible, connect and disconnect the drive on the side (the rectangle connector) that connects to the box. The USB interface on cheap external drives are prone to failure and I highly suspect it's the poor connection/construction of the USB connection that attaches to the drive. If the drive fails or starts acting odd (and out of warranty), remove it from the case and it's likely fine once you install it into a high quality external case.
Edit: Unless you're planning to view the files on another device than your TV (which you've stated is the only place you'll be watching on), a NAS is unnecessary. I have two large multi-bay external drive cases connected to my WDTV for my main viewing and a second smaller enclosure (with a drive filled with the videos I usually watch there) connected to the laptop on my second TV. On the rare occasion that I want to watch something that's not in the second enclosure, I just walk it over from my large case to my smaller one."
The primary advantage of Roku, Fire or other streaming boxes is ease of use for streaming. IMO, Kodi (which is often pre-installed on Android boxes) isn't as user friendly. The Micca Speck was a good choice before Android boxes came down in price.
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