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macrumors 68030
Original poster
Apr 28, 2003
Hi all,

I've got a little question for better informed minds than me. Just as the thread title suggests, I'm looking for a streaming box with the best mobile HDD support for playing back video.

Specifically my father has an old TV with no USB ports and I want to let him play (legitimatley aquired) video files in various file formats on his TV in a plug and play manner through a 2.5" self powered HDD. I'll be posting him new HDDs on an intermittent basis, so the thing needs to be absolutely dead simple for him to use.

He has no zero need or capacity for actual online streaming services because where he lives he can't get broadband. I've previously set up a 3G wifi router for him so he has a limited data bundle. I just need the widest range of codec support. I've got a few days on site to set up the box for him, but going forward it has to be extremely simple for him to plug in and access new HDDs.

I was thinking to get a Roku 3 or Amazon Fire TV, but I've not really investigated their codec support. Does anyone have better suggestions, or even know of a box that might include a Plex-like function that will pull down posters and metadata for the files?

Thanks in advance,
Last edited:


macrumors regular
Jun 19, 2009
I recommend a Roku 3(if you can find one) or the Roku Ultra ($120). Both have USB ports that can be used for connecting a thumb drive or external hard drive. The Nvidia Shield ($200) and Mi Box ($69) have USB ports and run Android TV.

Hermes Monster

macrumors 65816
May 4, 2010
I currently plug my HDD into my router and have my apple tv connect to it using the Infuse app - extremely simple to use and has played everything I've thrown at it so far
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