Can one drive rule them all?

vbimport

#1

Guys, my standalone old Philips DVD player just died. Simultaneously, my computer’s old and formerly trusty Plextor DVD drive seems to now behave erratically. Also, note that my laptop has no optical drive, so it is completely unable to use any optical media.

I could just go out and buy replacements units.

But it just dawned on me: maybe I can solve all 3 of my needs (play media on my TV, use data disks on my desktop and laptop) with just one drive: an external USB optical drive.

Such a drive will obviously work for reading/writing data disks using the computers. And it should also play all media on your computer as well, as long as you have the right software. Indeed, I want to use it to rip data from any formats (e.g. with AnyDVD). All these features make a drive very appealing over a consumer player.

But does anyone know if such a drive will be able to play media on my TV?

I have a LG 47LA7400 which is a smart TV. That TV has USB inputs which for sure work in playing, say, .avi files stored on a thumb drive.

I just need to know if my TV will work with an optical drive connected via USB. Anyone have any experience?

I realize that using a drive like this instead of a dedicated consumer player means that some things will have to be sacrificed (e.g. there is no remote control for drives, unlike players). Any other limitations that I should be concerned with?

My preliminary model research found these 2 promising drives:

  1. LG BE14NU40 (External Blu-ray Writer)

  2. BUFFALO MediaStation BRXL-16U3 (16x External BDXL Blu-Ray Writer)

The above 2 units are full size, I think because they have their own power cables and supplies. Some people have commented that this is good as it makes them both more powerful and also able work with USB 2.0 as well.

In contrast, there are also sexy slim drives like these:

a) LG CP40NG10 (Super Multi Blue Slim Portable with 3D Blu-ray Disc Playback and M-DISC Support)

b) LaCie 9000281 (Slim Blu-Ray 6x USB 3.0 Optical Drive)

But I have seen people complain that slim drives like these sometimes only work with USB 3.0 ports (maybe because some USB 2.0 ports/cables lack the power capabilities of USB 3.0?)

Any other models of external drives that I should consider? Any with not only USB 3.0, but also HDMI?


#2

Attaching an optical drive to the USB port of your television will not make it possible to play video on your TV - your TV will have no idea what to do with the drive or the disc.


#3

[QUOTE=vortexman;2696266]I have a LG 47LA7400 which is a smart TV. That TV has USB inputs which for sure work in playing, say, .avi files stored on a thumb drive.[/QUOTE]
This seems like an assumption. Does the owner’s manual say it will play those “for sure”?

(There’s one easy way to find out, of course - plug in a USB with an AVI file, switch the SmartTV’s input to that USB and see how smart it is.)

For this to happen, the SmartTV will need to know the file-format of the storage device, too - FAT32, NTFS or something else. Then it will have to have a built-in ROM chip that’s a Player for those file-types.

The USB Power Issues shouldn’t come into effect - USB 2 or 3 still requires a file to be read and transferred, and ‘data speed’ shouldn’t be an issue - there are plenty of USB 2 TV sticks out there that contain signal-accepting TV streams and passes it thru a USB port to a computer for ‘real time’ watching. That’s more data-thru-put than a movie-file consumes in play-back only mode.


#4

[QUOTE=ChristineBCW;2696295]This seems like an assumption. Does the owner’s manual say it will play those “for sure”?[/QUOTE]

Nope–manual is silent about this specific question.

[QUOTE=ChristineBCW;2696295](There’s one easy way to find out, of course - plug in a USB with an AVI file, switch the SmartTV’s input to that USB and see how smart it is.)[/QUOTE]

USB thumb drives, with, say, .avi files on them, have always worked fine on my smart TV. As you noted, you merely need to point the TV to the USB input and then can double click on the .avi and all works. (Well, I have seen some .avi files fail–they must be using a codec that the TV does not support?)

I went out yesterday and bought a LG CP40NG10 (Super Multi Blue Slim Portable with 3D Blu-ray Disc Playback and M-DISC Support) at Best Buy. One of the salesmen claimed that it would work on my LG smart TV, while another one was skeptical. While this player works great for everythign (CDs, data disks, DVD movies) on my old XP workstation, it does NOT work, unfortunately when I plug its USB cable into the TV.

So, at least for my LG TV, USB optical drives do NOT seem to work like USB thumb drives.

My guess: this is due to my USB thumb drive being an NTFS format device that is supported by the TV with zero restrictions, so any connection interface works. In contrast, the optical drive with a DVD movie in it is a different file system that the TV will not work with over USB (probably requires a HDMI cable?).

If true, the evil copyright cartels have ruined yet one more piece of technology, and given honest people yet one more reason to get pirated materials instead of legal ones.

I just stumbled across the Samsung SE-506BB/TSBD 6X USB2.0 External Slim Blu-ray Writer Drive. The product description says:

Writer can also function on your multimedia Television if it has a USB input, so you can watch Blu-ray and DVD’s on your own TV!It enable Smart TVs to play personal video files, picture files, and MP3 files. (The TV must have proper decoders to play those files.)Commercial DVD or Blu-ray movie titles won’t be played.

So you cannot use it for playing back commercial media files. Seems to confirm my suspicions…

Anyone know of a drive similar to the LG CP40NG10 or Samsung SE-506BB but which has an HDMI outut so that commerical media files are playable on a TV?

Or should we all resign ourselves to Bittorrent from now on?


#5

My TV a Sharp Aquos plays a hard drive in a dock via USB with no problem.
I rip DVDs to it & play them.
The only drawback to some people would be the slight loading pause between .vobs.
I don’t know if that will help you.
You can rip quite a few movies to an 800GB HDD.


#6

[QUOTE=vortexman;2696454]

I just stumbled across the Samsung SE-506BB/TSBD 6X USB2.0 External Slim Blu-ray Writer Drive. The product description says:

So you cannot use it for playing back commercial media files. Seems to confirm my suspicions…

Anyone know of a drive similar to the LG CP40NG10 or Samsung SE-506BB but which has an HDMI outut so that commerical media files are playable on a TV?

Or should we all resign ourselves to Bittorrent from now on?[/QUOTE]

That would be new to me, that is if an optic drive can playback hooked to tv though I suppose it could be possible.
If that is true, you could rip a dvd then burn back to a blank disc then play that in the optic drive.
Yet that is going around the world, best way is to rip disc to a format that an external drive then plug that into tv.

The built in tv media player likely has no idea how to deal with an optic drive that has a commercial disc played back, yet it can play “friendly” formats on a hard drive.

Your tv media player should play mpg, vob, mkv, ts files and possibly others.
I generally rip movies (if I intend to playback from ext. hard drive) to mpg or mkv…sometimes ts files and then play them.

Still though I am “old school”, using “wired” connections only for playback.


#7

VORT, we buy a lot of Euro-DVDs and then DeRegionalize them but they still remain in PAL-Video Format, not NTSC.

We find many flat-screens that are now infected with the ability to refuse to play PAL-Video’s. Regardless that they’re Region-Zero’s.

Even more telling is that we can see the DVD-BluRay Player flash the LOAD-READ prompts, but the Flat-Screen this issues the Invalid Command. I can put that same Player on another Flat-Screen, and the PAL-disk plays fine. So I know it’s The Flat-Screen that does it.

When we’ve been shopping, we take along a few PAL-Region-0 disks and get the salesfolks to do some player-hookups, or we’ll take a cheapo unit with us. The salesfolks scoff at this until they see it tested across one flat-screen after another.

There is indeed a group that absolutely wants people to not view Euro-DVDs in North America. I haven’t found the reciprocal process in Europe.