How to Play a Thumb Drive on Your TV: A Guide from History Creators

How to Play a Thumb Drive on Your TV: A Guide from History Creators

One of the most common questions we receive from our clients is: "How do I play the thumb drive on my TV?"

At History Creators, we choose to use thumb drives over DVDs for several reasons. First, they are more cost-effective since making lots of DVDs can be expensive (one thumb drive can often hold your entire collection). Thumb drives also provide better quality video and are more durable because they don't scratch like DVDs. Lastly, thumb drives are a smarter choice for the long run, as DVD players are becoming less common. If you have a computer, they’re also simpler to use —just plug it in, browse to your thumb drive, and click on your movies to play.

But using a thumb drive with your TV can be a bit trickier. Let’s go through how you can watch your movies on your TV.

Simplest Solution:

Many digitizers recommend simply plugging the thumb drive into your TV's USB port, which usually works well and is the easiest way to go.

But there’s a catch:

However, it might not work on all TVs. Different TV brands, like Sony, Sharp, LG, and TCL, each have their own specific way they prefer to read files from a thumb drive. The files on thumb drives are usually organized in one of two formats: "ExFat" or "NTFS." These sound technical, but they're just different ways to set up the files on the drive. We generally use ExFat for our thumb drives because it's compatible with most computers and many TVs. But some TVs might need the NTFS format, which is more common for Windows computers.

When we start working together, you can send us a photo of your TV, and we'll figure out whether it needs ExFat or NTFS, so we can set up your thumb drive the right way.

But, if you have several TVs from different brands at home, or if you're sharing thumb drives with family, things might get a bit more complex and a different solution may be needed.

Our Recommendation:

For universal compatibility, we recommend purchasing a USB media player. This device functions similarly to Roku, Apple TV, or an Amazon Fire TV stick but allows you to stream videos and photos from a USB drive. It connects to your TV via an HDMI cord and is powered separately. A USB player ensures you can enjoy your thumb drive movies on any TV without any hassle—perfect for family viewing parties during holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Prices typically range from $30 to $60.

We recommend the Micca Speck USB player. You can find it on Amazon by searching "Micca Speck.” You can explore other brands by looking up "USB player."

Alternative for Laptop Owners:

If you have a laptop, you can connect it to your TV using an HDMI cord. For modern Apple laptops, you might need an HDMI adapter. Tech-savvy users can also utilize casting technologies like AirPlay to stream directly without cables. If you have an Apple TV, you can stream movies uploaded to your Apple Photos from a Mac.

In Summary:

While directly plugging the thumb drive into your TV might work, we recommend the Micca Speck USB player for seamless playback on any TV. Alternatively, connecting via a laptop or using streaming technologies are viable options for the tech-savvy.

Enjoy your viewing experience with History Creators!