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How to see USB flash drive on TV

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How to see USB flash drive on TV: You have just returned home after a long journey and immediately invited friends and relatives to show them the videos and photos you made during your stay. After downloading all the files to your computer, you thought about doing things big and copying everything onto a USB stick and then showing it on the living room TV. Excellent idea, no doubt about it. However, if you are reading this guide right now it is because, most likely, you are not very expert in the subject and would like my help to understand how to see the USB flash drive on TV . Did I guess? Then let me explain the detailed procedure to you in order to succeed.

Continue reading this tutorial and you will find all the necessary information to make the files and the stick compatible with your TV, in order to avoid playback problems during your evening with friends. In addition, you will find some solutions to watch the files of your stick even on an older TV that does not have a USB socket. Yes exactly! It is possible to do this too, and just a paltry expense (or even nothing) to do it!

Can’t wait to get down to business? All right, let’s not waste any more time chatting and let’s go straight to the point. Take five minutes of free time, carefully read the next paragraphs and choose the solution that you think best suits your needs. I assure you that everything is much simpler than it seems and that in a few minutes you will be able to view the videos and photos of your trip on TV. I just have to wish you happy reading and have fun!

Format USB stick

Before going into detail in this guide and showing you how to view the contents of your USB flash drive on your TV, you need to make sure that your TV supports video playback functionality. In addition, in the instruction manual you will find information on the supported file system, useful for knowing how to format the USB stick . How to do? I’ll explain it right away.

Windows PC

To format your USB flash drive on a Windows PC , start the File Explorer by  pressing on the yellow folder icon located at the bottom left of the taskbar and, in the newly opened window, select the item This PC in the sidebar to the left. Then locate the USB stick , click with the right mouse button over its icon and press the Format item in the context menu.

In the new window that opened, through the drop-down menu under the File system item , select the FAT32 option (or one of the formats compatible with your TV) and enter the name to be attributed to the stick in the Volume label field , then click the Start and OK buttons to format the USB media.


If you use a Mac , insert the stick in one of the available USB sockets, then press on the item Go present in the top menu bar and click on the Utility and Disk Utility options . Alternatively, click on the magnifying glass icon located at the top right, type Disk Utility in the Spotlight Search field and press on the first result.

Now, select the name of the stick visible under the heading External and click on the Initialize option visible at the top. In the new window that opens, enter a new name for the USB stick (if you intend to change it) and choose the file system format supported by your TV via the drop-down menu available next to the Format item . Made your choice, click the Initialize button , wait for the process to complete and press the Finish button .

How to transfer files to the USB stick

Once formatting is complete, the next step is to insert the files into the USB stick . This procedure is also simple and immediate, but before proceeding you need to know what file formats your TV is capable of reading.

The supported files vary from model to model, so I recommend you read the manual for your TV to get clearer ideas. However, I can point out the most popular file formats that your television can almost certainly play.

  • Images and photos : the latest TV models support JPEG, BMP, MPO and PNG formats, while older televisions certainly “read” the JPEG format.
  • Audio : To be on the safe side, you need to use MP3 files. Newer TVs also support AAC, FLAC, M4A, MPA, OGG and WMA formats.
  • Video : the vast majority of televisions support MP4 files, many models also offer support for AVI, 3GP and MKV videos and numerous video codecs.

If the file you intend to play on TV is not supported, you can convert it to another format. For detailed steps, you can read my guides on how to convert audiohow to convert video files and  how to convert images .

After making sure that your files are playable on the TV, you can proceed to transfer them to the USB stick. If you use a Windows PC , start the File Explorer (the yellow icon at the bottom left of the taskbar), go to the folder in which the contents of your interest are present and select them, then right click on one of these and presses on the Copy option of the context menu. Now, click on the name of the stick visible on the left, click with the right mouse button inside the window and press on the Paste option  of the menu that appears to start the file transfer.

If you have a Mac , start the Finder by pressing its icon (the smiling face ) on the Dock bar, access the folder containing the files to be copied, select them, click with the right mouse button and press the Copy [number] item elements of the menu that opens, then presses on the name of the stick in the bar on the left, under the heading Devices , click with the right mouse button in the white space of the window and press on the Paste item of the contextual menu.

After adding the files you want to play on your TV, click with the right mouse button on the stick visible on the desk and press the Eject [key name] option  from the menu that opens to be able to extract it from the USB socket.

How to see stick on TV with USB socket

The latest generation TVs are equipped with one or more standard USB sockets that are usually located on the side or on the back. By inserting a stick on a TV with USB socket , it is therefore possible to play video files, audio files and photos contained in it.

All you have to do to view the contents of your USB stick on TV, is to insert it into one of the available sockets and start playing it. How? I’ll explain it right away. First, turn on the television and find an available USB socket, then take the stick and insert it inside.

The USB support will be detected automatically and the menu will open with the contents on the stick. In some TV models, a message appears on the screen to access the Media Player section : using the directional arrows on the remote control, select the Yes item and press the OK button .

If instead you do not see any message and the menu to manage the contents of the stick does not start automatically, press the External inputs button  on your remote control (usually it is the button identified by an arrow inside a rectangle ), select the USB option and press the OK button to access.

Now, select the type of content you want to play on TV select one of the items among Photos , Music and Movies (or Videos ) and press the OK button to access the list of files on the USB stick. Once you have found the content you want to watch, select it using the directional arrows on the remote control and press the OK button to start playback.

While viewing the content you can use the controls of a common multimedia player: Play and Pause to start and stop playback; Fast Rewind and Fast Forward to quickly scroll back and forward the audio or video file; Previous and Next to access the previous and next file; Repeat folder to loop the files in the folder and Advance slowly to start slow playback.

After viewing, you can return to TV mode by pressing the Exit button on   the remote control, otherwise press the External inputs button , select the TV item and confirm by pressing the OK button  .

How to see stick on TV without USB socket

Older TVs do not have a USB input, however it is still possible to connect a stick via some devices that can be purchased for a few tens of euros and to be connected to the TV via the SCART socket.

The first solution to consider, especially if the TV in question is not already equipped, is a digital terrestrial decoder with USB input . Through these devices to be connected to the SCART socket of the TV, it is not only possible to watch digital terrestrial channels, but also to play the files contained on a USB stick on the television screen. In addition, you can record TV programs in MPEG format directly on your USB media.

After connecting the decoder to your TV’s SCART socket, turn on the two devices and insert the USB stick into the input of the decoder. Then take the remote control supplied with the receiver and press the Menu button to access the decoder menu, select one of the items from USB film , USB music and USB photo and press on the file of your interest to start playing it.

If, on the other hand, your TV is already equipped with a digital terrestrial decoder and you do not want to make a “duplicate” purchase, you can consider purchasing a Blu-Ray or DVD player with USB input which, in addition to CD / DVD playback, allows to play the files on the inserted USB stick.