What is the Best External Hard Drive for TV?

What is the Best External Hard Drive for TV

What is the Best External Hard Drive for TV? 

You might have not noticed, but you can most probably record shows and movies with your TV. Any modern TV has this feature. The thing is, however, you would need external storage space if you want to record almost anything since most TV-s come with about 8.2 GB of storage. That is enough for one of two movies, but not much more. You need at least a couple hundred GB-s, optimally 1 or more TB-s to record movies and series without worrying about quickly filling your free space. In this article, we wanted to help give an answer to the question: what is the best external hard drive for TV? 

The SAMSUNG T5 Portable SSD 1TB is the best external drive you can buy for recording content displayed by your TV. It is high-quality, fast, reliable, and can hold around 500 hours of HD footage.  

Though according to us and the Amazon bestseller lists, the Samsung is the best external drive you can get for a TV, it might not be the most available or attractive option for all, since, for one, it isn’t very cheap and for two, there are even faster ones out there. Read on to find out more about the best external drives you can buy for your TV!

Jess here. I made 6-Figures in IT without needing a degree. If you like my blog, you can support it by checking out my progress to $188k per year in tech. (P.S. Now, I work remotely.)

What is the best external hard drive for TV? 

As we mentioned before, we believe the Samsung T5 portable SSD 1 TB is the best external drive available for the purpose of recording video from your TV. We could start talking about how fast the Samsung is, about how fantastic it looks, or how the price isn’t unreasonable for an SSD, but the problem is that there are actually faster, better-looking, and cheaper external drives out there. So why is Samsung the best one then? 

Well, it is mostly because of the balance of these features. We will mention a couple of products later on which are faster or cheaper than Samsung’s product is, but none of them hit the bull’s eye like Samsung. You get 1 TB of SSD space for around 120-130 USD, extreme data transfer speeds of up to 540 Mb/s, two cables (USB A to C, USB C to C), a sleek design, and unwavering reliability. Other products are usually specialized or excellent in one domain but fare worse in the rest (1000 Mb/s transfer speed but costs 160 USD and isn’t as compact, for example). 

When buying an external drive for your TV, it is useful to buy an SSD, since high transfer speeds are crucial if you want the footage to be properly saved onto your device without it getting destroyed in 2 days because of the workload. There are HDD-s that can do this, but you will only need one good SSD, and you are set for years with this issue. When you will want to transfer all these recorded movies and series to your laptop or PC for example, doing so from an HDD will just take an immensely long time, so investing once in an SSD will save you a lot of trouble. 

We have also tested the Samsung T5 1 TB SSD for ourselves since we don’t believe in recommending products that we haven’t tried. We were more than pleased by the performance of the product, which is no wonder seeing as though it is a high-quality product made by a reliable brand. We would highly recommend it for any type of use. 

The next one we would like to mention, due to its superior speed is the SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD. It can transfer data at up to double that of the Samsung SSD, which means around 1050 Mb/s. That is insane speed, which means that the transfer of an average movie wouldn’t take longer than 2 seconds. And that is a whole movie. Even though the price isn’t unbearable higher than the Samsung’s at around 150-180 USD, it just crosses the line (both in speed and price, actually) to be unnecessary.

Why would you pay 30 dollars more for a very fast drive if you are not going to use it to transfer 4k footage to your PC daily? The Samsung is more than enough for general TV-recording, but if you happen to be a video editor, professional graphic designer, or perhaps a hardcore gamer, do check this product out, it won’t disappoint you. 

The second alternative to the Samsung is the Toshiba Canvio Basics 1 TB External HDD, which we brought onto this list to represent the slower and more budget-friendly option. If you don’t need something as high-end as the Samsung (though the high-end classification really is relative to the buyer’s needs), you would rather just have a cheaper alternative which will record the movies and series you are watching, without any specific or high speed-requirements, the Toshiba Canvio is for you.

Like the whole HDD class in general, what this product represents is value for money. You can get 1 TB of HDD space for around 50 USD, which seems to be surreal after all the prices mentioned before in this article, but this is the magic of HDD after all. 

The last option on this list will be the Fantom Drives 1TB 7200RPM External Hard Drive. It is a quicker (and somewhat more expensive) alternative to the previous HDD. The 7200 rpm (revolutions-per-minute) makes this HDD about 35% faster than the previously mentioned Toshiba, which operates at 5400 rpm.

This makes for faster and more reliable transfer speed, not getting anywhere near the speed of SSD-s, but more than enough for everyday use. It is bulkier and noisier than the other devices on this list and has only one USB port, which is why we left is for the end, but regardless of these minor issues, it is a well-built machine we would recommend. 

Can you plug an external hard drive into a TV? 

Yes, you can plug most external drives into modern TV-s. All modern TV-s have multiple USB and HDMI inputs, which makes it easy to connect it with your external drive. Most people wouldn’t intuitively think of using an external drive with a TV, but not only is it possible, but it is also great fun to record and rewatch movies and series you enjoy.

However, do watch out for the type of external drive you’re buying for your TV, since there are specialized drives with all different types of inputs and outputs and you wouldn’t want to spend money on an external drive just to realize you cannot use it for the intended purpose. Stick with big names like Seagate, WD, Toshiba, Samsung, etc. and you most probably won’t run into such problems. 

Can you connect your external hard drive via HDMI?

There might be a small issue when you unbox your external drive and want to plug it in your TV: some TV-s only have HDMI ports. Though they are very rare nowadays, you might still stumble upon a TV that doesn’t have a USB input, and you might wonder at that point whether your expense was in vain.

Thanks to today’s technology, it isn’t, but you will have to spend a little more money. External hard drives built for general use that have HDMI inputs are so rare they are virtually non-existent, so that won’t be the solution to your problem, however, you can buy an HDMI – USB converter, which costs only about 10 bucks, and is the perfect solution to such a frustrating problem.  

How to format your external hard drive for your TV? 

In order to use your external drive for TV playback, it must be reformatted to the  FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, or exFAT File System. Though this might seem like a daunting task for someone who isn’t into IT, we can assure you it is simple if you just follow these steps: 

  1. Connect the external drive to the computer.
  2. Click on the Start button and then click onto My Computer/This PC.
  3. In the My Computer/This PC window, right-click on the drive icon, in which your external drive should appear.
  4. From the menu, click Format.
  5. In the FORMAT device window, under File system, choose the drop-down menu and select FAT32, then click Start. 
  6. When the warning message pops up, click OK to continue.
    Important: Formatting your device will delete all content on the storage device. 

To format a USB stick to FAT with a Mac: 

  1. Connect the drive to your computer/laptop.
  2. Open Disk Utility in settings.
  3. Click to select the external drive in the left panel.
  4. Click to open the Erase tab.
  5. In the Volume Format: selection box, click the MS-DOS File System (same as FAT).
  6. Click the Erase button one time.
  7. At the confirmation pop-up, click the Erase button to start formatting your external drive.



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