Why the TV does not see the external hard drive


Modern TVs have different functions. Among them is the playback of content from external USB sources. Many people have an external hard drive. Unlike a flash drive, it has an impressive volume and allows you to store large amounts of information, for example, an entire film library. But what if your TV does not see the connected external hard drive? For starters, you should learn how to connect it correctly.

How to connect a hard drive

Any external hard drive uses a USB cable to connect. But the user can also use the internal HDD from the PC as a storage medium, which means that the connection methods may be different.


An external hard drive is connected via the TV’s USB connector. It has a special cable included. If the TV is old enough and equipped with USB 2.0, additional power may be required. To do this, you need a cable with two USB plugs — connect both to the TV.

Connecting a drive via USB

Connecting a drive via USB

Outer box

If the drive is removed from a PC or laptop, then there are two ways: use an adapter from Sata to USB, but it is more convenient to buy an external box, taking into account the size of the HDD (2.5 inches for a laptop and 3.5 inches for a PC). In the case of a 3.5-inch drive, it is worth choosing a box with external power from the outlet. This is not very convenient, but it should be noted that such a disk requires more power, and the USB connector does not always give it out.

Box with disc

Box with disc


If the TV does not have a USB connector, or it is busy / broken, then an intermediate device is used. It could be smart prefix, game console, laptop. The connection is made via tulips or HDMI, you need to specify the signal source on the TV, and files from the HDD are launched directly from the selected device

Connecting via a console

Connecting via a console


The drive is also connected to the router — for this, the TV must have support for DLNA and Smart functions. Through a special application, the user will be able to see all devices on the local network, including the HDD.

Connecting through a router

Connecting through a router

When connected to a USB connector, a window will appear on the screen prompting you to switch to an external drive. A standard window with folders will open, you just need to find the necessary content. If the HDD is not automatically detected, then you need to open the signal sources and select USB.

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Why the TV does not see the connected disk

As a rule, there are no difficulties when connecting an external hard drive to the TV. But if the TV does not read the drive, then this is possible for a number of reasons:

  • lack of power to the hard drive;
  • outdated software on your device;
  • incompatibility of the file systems of the hard disk and the TV.

The reason may be quite banal: a large volume drive. As a rule, TVs are not designed to read HDDs larger than 2 TB. This is mentioned in the instructions.

Let’s consider each problem separately.

TV and hard drive

Lack of nutrition

One of the common problems due to which the device does not see the hard drive may be the lack of power for the hard drive to work. If you are the owner outdated TV model, the hard drive will not be able to get the power it needs via the USB connection. Winchesters can be classified into 3 types according to their generation and the amount of energy they consume:

  • USB 1 — 500mA, 5V;
  • USB 2 — 500-1000mA, 5V;
  • USB 3 — 1500-2000mA, 5V.

One of the most logical ways to solve the problem is to connect the hard drive through Y— splitter. Powering the hard drive in this way depends on the number of USB connectors in your device:

  • one connector;
  • two or more connectors.


When the device has several USB connectors, then problems should not arise in this case. Connect the hard drive to two TV connectors at once using a splitter. In this case, the voltage is enough for the full operation of the disk. If the TV has only one USB input, you need to connect the Y-splitter in such a way as to connect the hard drive to your TV, and at the same time use the power supply of a third-party device (phone, tablet, etc.). The hard drive will be powered by the power supply, and the missing energy will be taken from your device.

Advice! To check that the cause of the malfunction is indeed a lack of power, plug the flash drives one by one into the corresponding connectors on the case. If the files on the flash cards are readable, then the USB port of the TV is in working order.

Outdated Software

Another common reason why the TV does not see removable media is outdated software. The function of recognizing a carrier of such a large volume is inherent, as a rule, only in the latest TV models. If the TV has enough power to work with external drives, update the firmware.

If a TV connects to the internet then in the settings section «about the device» or «support» there is a submenu «update». In it, you need to start searching for the latest versions of the software and, if available, install them. If the TV is not connected, then updates can be installed in the form of firmware from USB media (obviously, a USB flash drive is needed for this purpose). How to run this firmware:

  • visit the official website of the manufacturer;
  • go to the «support» section;
  • select the item «software update»;
  • enter the model of your device and download the appropriate file;
  • perform the update.

Firmware flashing

File system incompatibilities

Many TV models do not read hard drives if they do not comply with the FAT32 file system. The thing is that most equipment is designed to work with flash cards, the volume of which, as a rule, is does not exceed 64 GB. With a relatively small cluster size, FAT32 makes better use of the limited memory of a flash card. This is the reason why most flash drives use this file system.

Unlike FAT32, NTFS the system allows faster and safer transfer of data from the media to a computer or other reader. This file system supports large amounts of information and has no restrictions on the size of copied files.

Important: before buying a TV, pay attention to the instruction manual. In it you can find a lot of useful information about the compatibility of drive file systems with the device. There are cases when the instructions indicate models of hard drives with which the TV will not work under any circumstances.

The latest models of TVs from companies such as lg or samsung are able to see a disk with the NTFS file system. In addition to the usual recording of information, such devices are capable of reproducing encoded data.

File system check

Sometimes the problem lies in the formatting features. Certain types of equipment format drives «for themselves». This does not appear when connected to a PC or laptop, but other devices may have difficulty connecting. If the HDD was once connected to a smart set-top box or TV of another brand, and it works with a PC, but the new TV does not understand it, and the reason is not insufficient power, then you should try to format it on a PC and check it again on the TV.

If the device no longer sees the drive

In this case, the phrase “stopped seeing” means that earlier your device could freely synchronize with the hard drive, but after a while it stopped doing it. There can be two reasons for such a malfunction:

  • the presence of viruses on a removable disk;
  • drive failure.

Modern viruses can not only damage individual files on a hard drive, but also completely destroy the file system. Since televisions are rather «capricious» appliances, a virus attack can paralyze it. The only advice for avoiding a visit to a repair shop is checking all downloaded files for the presence of virus programs before transferring the latter to other devices.

To distinguish a hard drive failure from TV malfunctions, you need to check the operation with another removable disk. Plug it into your TV using the same USB port. If the “test” hard drive is perfectly synchronized with the TV, then yours has become unusable. The same check can be made if the TV does not see the flash drive.


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