Watching downloaded files on TV

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Lindap, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. Lindap macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2013
    Hi All,
    I am new to Mac and have a new MacBook Air. I have some downloaded TV shows that I downloaded from Torrent. I had to reformat my external hard drive to be able to write on it with the downloaded files. With this done and can watch them on my Mac, I want to now watch them on my Smart TV, but the TV doesn't recognize the drive. Any reason for this? Any help would be appreciated.
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    The reason is, the HDD is using a file system/ format, the TV does not recognise, namely Mac OS Extended (HFS+).


    Overview of the four major file systems (called "Formats" in Mac OS X) used on Windows and Mac OS X, compiled by GGJstudios. You can use Disk Utility to format any HDD to your liking.

    Any external hard drive will work with PCs or Macs, as long as the connectors are there (Firewire, USB, etc.) It doesn't matter how the drive is formatted out of the box, since you can re-format any way you like. Formatting can be done with the Mac OS X Disk Utility, found in the /Applications/Utilities folder. Here are your formatting options:

    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Don't use case-sensitive)

    NTFS (Windows NT File System)
    • Read/Write NTFS from native Windows.
    • Read only NTFS from native Mac OS X
      [*]To Read/Write/Format NTFS from Mac OS X, here are some alternatives:
      • For Mac OS X 10.4 or later (32 or 64-bit), install Paragon (approx $20) (Best Choice for Lion)
      • For 32-bit Mac OS X, install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free) (does not work in 64-bit mode)
      • For 64-bit Snow Leopard, read this: MacFUSE for 64-bit Snow Leopard
      • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36).
      • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and Lion, but is not advisable, due to instability.
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support NTFS
    • Maximum file size: 16 TB
    • Maximum volume size: 256TB
    • You can use this format if you routinely share a drive with multiple Windows systems.

    exFAT (FAT64)
    • Supported in Mac OS X only in 10.6.5 or later.
    • Not all Windows versions support exFAT. See disadvantages.
    • exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table)
    • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support exFAT
    • Maximum file size: 16 EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 64 ZiB
    • You can use this format if it is supported by all computers with which you intend to share the drive. See "disadvantages" for details.

    FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
    • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
      [*]Maximum file size: 4GB.
    • Maximum volume size: 2TB
    • You can use this format if you share the drive between Mac OS X and Windows computers and have no files larger than 4GB.

    Or you could just get the Apple TV, it plays most torrentable .mp4 files right from the start.
  3. Lindap thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2013
    Thanks for that. I had contemplated an Apple TV, but thought there must be another way that I can watch these shows now.


    So, does this mean, after reading the thread, that if I plug the EHD into a HDMI cable, the TV will recognize the files?


    And yes, I formatted the Drive in HFS+ in Disk Utilities.
  4. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Depends on the HDD. If it is a media HDD with an HDMI out, then you can do as you stated above. If it is just a simple external data HDD with USB or Firewire or other ports, then no, you cannot simply connect it via HDMI, since no HDMI port will be on the EHD.

    Consult the manual of the TV what format it can read, it will probably be NTFS and FAT32, thus you either get a new HDD and format it accordingly, using the Master Boot Record partition map scheme, or you format the already available HDD again, losing the data already on there.


    Links to guides on how to use Disk Utility, the application Mac OS X provides for managing internal and external HDD/SSDs and its formats.
  5. Lindap thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2013
    Thanks very much Simsala for your time in answering my questions.
  6. JonLa macrumors 6502

    Dec 22, 2009
    Depends on the smart tv - if it has a USB socket then copy the files onto a USB pen drive (not an external HD) and see if it can pick them up. Mine will read from a memory stick but not a full hard drive (it's a samsung).

    the next problem will be whether the tv supports the codec used to encode the video - mine will play a lot of my dvds that I've originally ripped using handbrake into mp4 format for use on the ipad.
  7. Lindap thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2013
    Thanks JonLa, I will try a USB drive separately.
    New problem: bought Apple TV, configured it to my iTunes account, now it sees everything in my iTunes account on my PC but the TV shows that I downloaded are in the external hard drive and saved in HFS+ format on the drive that I downloaded in my Mac. Can I select a drive on Apple TV to be able to watch the shows or do they have to be in my iTunes account? Does everything that I have downloaded have to go through iTunes to be played on Apple TV? Many thanks for consideration.
  8. mtngoatjoe macrumors regular


    Jun 10, 2008
    If you don't want to copy the files to the iTunes library on your internal drive, then open the iTunes preferences and disable the option (I think it's called "Copy Media to iTunes Library" or something similar. Then, drag and drop your files into iTunes. If that doesn't work, it's likely the files are in a file format that iTunes doesn't understand (if that's the case, you'll need to re-encode them using Handbrake). Once the videos are in iTunes, they should be available through your AppleTV.
  9. pine88 macrumors member

    Feb 15, 2013
    I'd return the Apple TV and get a WD Live Gen 3. I can confirm it works flawlessly with HFS (journalling disabled) and has no problems playing any media - even 25GB higher bitrate .mkv's.

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