You’ll agree with me that DVD/CD players have surely run their race. Apple first started kicked off DVD/CD-ROM options in their Macbooks 3 years ago. Soon Microsoft followed suit by discontinuing support for DVD playback in Windows 8 and later version of its operating system.
But the real reason DVD/CDs are dying is because there are a number of far superior alternative options that have emerged as Patricia wrote in this post. While the good old DVD discs were cheap and easy to use, they were limited in storage. A DVD can only store up to 4.7GB of data which is usually a single movie or two. Also these discs were prune to failure due to scratches.
This is where External USB Hard Drives(USB HDD) come in. They are equally cheap yet have 100 times plus more storage than a single DVD disc. You could replace a whole pile of DVD discs in your living room with a single USB HDD freeing up a lot of space.
While its true that DVDs are so yesterday on PCs, most people still use DVD players as home entertainment devices. They are relatively affordable consumer electronics. A Philips DVD player goes for a price of Ugx 219,000 while a Samsung HDMI DVD Player is priced at Ugx 320,000. DVD Players work well with the old CRT TVs via Composite AV ports. You just plugged the thing to your screen and it just worked.
But as I earlier wrote, Flat screen and smart TV are replacing the good old CRT TVs. There are several good options of Flat screens in the Ugandan market to choose from if you want to jump ship. These next generation TVs include the composite AV ports you can still use to hook up any DVD player of course. But more importantly they have USB ports and features that enable you connect a USB flash disk or external USB HDD to your TV.
External vs USB-powered USB HDD
Okay, if you have decided to ditch your DVD Player for more versatile USB HDD, lets take a look at your options. For starters, when shopping for an external USB HDD, you should know that they are two types; those that are powered by an external power supply such as your wall socket and then those that are self-powered through their USB port.
Those that need external power supply often have big storage sizes that warrant external power supply. For instance 2 Terabyte (2TB) and above USB HDD usually require external power, while 1TB and below don’t.
Therefore if you wish to go for the bigger size USB HDD, then make sure your home entertainment system has some extra power ports lying round for the drive.
USB HDDs in Uganda
Now there are a number of USB HDD brands in the Ugandan market to choice from with varying prices. We recommend that you stick to known, proven brands when it comes to USB HDD because this is data we are talking about. Fake or unknown brands while cheap might overtime lead to data loss. Imagine entirely losing your customized home media library you’ve collected over time? I personally can’t forgive myself.
Anyway we recommend you stick with Seagate, Western digital, Hitachi, Sandisk, Toshiba, Transcend USB HDD.
Transcend 500GB USB HDD goes for a price of Ugx 217,500 on Jumia Uganda. A Seagate of the same size is priced at Ugx 210,000. A Toshiba 1TB (1,000GB) USB HDD is priced at Ugx 225,000. But if you’ve a big media library, then you’ll have to look at 2TB+ options. A Trascend 2TB USB HDD is priced at 390,600 while a 4TB Seagate USB HDD is going for a price of Ugx 832,000 all on Jumia Uganda.
Hooking up USB HDD to the TV
So now that you’ve got yourself that USB HDD loaded with your Movies, Music and photos. It’s time to hook it up to the big screen. Your Flat screen or Smart TV should have USB ports in the back for this to work. It should also have some software features that recognize the external drive together with photos, music and videos.
Codecs are particularly important here. Codecs are simply pieces of software that can playback various music and video formats such as .mp3, .wav, .mov, .avi, .m4v etc. Most TVs can play .mp3, .mp4 out of the box and recognize several image formats such as jpeg, png.
The other important thing to note is that if your media library is too big, then your TV might act slow or even fail to load the files on the USB HDD. We experienced this with a 2 TB Seagate USB HDD with over 1.8 TB of data when we hooked it up on a Samsung Smart TV. So you want to keep your media library small or manageable.
But if you insist on keeping a huge media library, then simply hooking up your drive to the USB port of your TV is no longer an option. You’ll have to explore other options such as buying already made or creating a DIY dedicated HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer), or streaming boxes like Roku, Apple TV or building one using a Raspberry PI. This is out of the scope of this post. Perhaps I shall explore those options in later posts.
Once hooked, you can navigate through media files on the USB HDD using your TV remote. Your TV comes with an in-built media player that understand your remote playback controls. So just sit back and enjoy.