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2,793 Tutorials

Play TV recordings from USB stick via HDMI

Understanding media playback via HDMI

Sony 3D Blu-ray player

Our Helproom Editor explains how you can play via your TV's HDMI port TV programmes recorded on to a USB flash drive.

QUESTION I have a TV that can record programmes on to a USB flash drive. My other TV doesn't have a USB port, but it does have several HDMI ports. Can I purchase an adaptor that plugs into an HDMI port, allowing me to watch programmes recorded by the other TV?

HELPROOM ANSWER We understand what you're trying to do here and it may be possible, although not in the way you describe. Many TVs that record to USB drives encrypt those recordings to prevent them being transferred to a computer and distributed. You will have to check whether this is the case with your TV.

Although HDMI ports are designed to transfer digital audio and video, they're not able to transfer files. You can connect an HDMI port only to another HDMI port or, using an adaptor, another type of digital-video connector (such as DVI).

This means you can't connect a storage device such as a USB flash drive to an HDMI port and expect it to read the data stored on it. To play back the files you will need a device that can read the contents of the USB drive, decode the information and output the audio and video content via an HDMI port, which you can then connect to your second TV using an HDMI cable.

Thankfully, these devices can be cheap, depending on your requirements. For standard-definition programmes you can pick up a device that is bundled with a remote control for around £20. If you want to play HD content, though, you'll need to spend a little more, and advanced features such as internal storage and internet connectivity will cost more still.

Many Blu-ray players support playback from flash memory devices in addition to playing DVDs and Blu-ray discs. The Sony BDP-S790 is one such model. 

Be sure to check that the specific file format used by your TV is supported by the playback device you choose. We don't know the model numbers of your equipment, so you'll have to check the specs yourself.

See all How to articles. Get free tech support in the Helproom Forum.

Visit Windows 7 Advisor and Windows 8 Advisor for more Windows advice. Or email our Helproom Editor for bespoke advice.

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