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Audio Visual Hire... Sales... Installation... for over 24 years

0845 296 8820

Using a USB on an LED Screen

0845 296 8820

Audio Visual Hire... Sales... Installation... for over 24 years

We are often asked if our range of LED screens will play directly from a USB memory stick. The reason for the question is natural of course, as it would be a great idea not to have to use a laptop or other device but to simply run off a memory stick instead and in so doing, do away with all the cabling and bulk of a laptop or DVD player.


However, for a great many reasons memory sticks plugged into televisions / monitors do not actually do what most people think they will do (or what they want them to do!).  In fact the USB input on screens has severe limitations - often the reasons are complex but rather than saying it may or may not work (and most probably won’t), the following may help you to understand what (although limited) ‘should work’ and more importantly why many things will not.


Firstly, we need to state for the record that any shortcomings are not the fault of our screens as our screens are as advanced if not more than our competitors.

It is the fact that USB memory sticks were invented to allow the transportation of files from one device to another (a bit like a mini removable drive drive on a computer).  They were never intended to be media players - they simply move raw data files from one place to another.  The USB input will often allow simple pictures (depending on the format of the picture) to be displayed and some music files to be played - again (sorry, not all music files).  In truth the exact answer depends on the file type and as most people will find the limitations of the USB input mean that they will not use this method anyway we will not go into specifics here.


The problem is mainly that to play anything but simple picture slide shows (effectively turning the TV into a big version of a digital photo frame), some software and processing power is needed.  These screens cannot play (from the USB input) for example, DVD movies and PowerPoint presentations etc from a USB stick as the media on the stick is nothing more than a computer or media file, and, (thinking of your laptop here) the laptop / DVD player reads this information and (using PowerPoint or PowerPoint player software) in the case of a laptop, or video codec’s in the case of DVD players and then processing this data file via the necessary software and processor which a TV / monitor does not have, opens up the ‘file’, reads it, processes it and displays it. To help understand the limitations, it’s a bit like if you put this same USB stick into a printer you cannot print a PowerPoint presentation or DVD movie, OR, another example, if you put a Microsoft Word file on a USB stick you can neither print it by plugging it into a printer OR display it on a TV - you need the correct software and processing to do this.


In essence the USB input as a media player is NOT much use, but it is NOT what it is intended to do - it will allow some still pictures and some music to be played (as it was designed to do) and occasionally more advanced things.  As the TV’s have loads of other inputs which are meant to plug in a wide variety of other devices we need to carry on plugging these devices into the screens. Apologies if this is not what you wanted the USB input on a TV to do, but it is what it does.