Why does my TV have USB ports?

Where do I find the ports on my TV?

On the majority of smart TVs, you will find the ports on the back of the set, usually near the right or left side of the chassis for easy access. While many TVs consolidate all of the ports into a single panel of connections, some sets have two — one for the primary HDMI and USB connections, and a second for less-used ports, like Composite video and Ethernet.

(Image credit: LG)

In some instances, a TV will have a separate box that includes all of the usual TV ports, connected to the TV by a single cable. This is the case with Samsung’s OneConnect box, found on several of it’s high-end TVs, as well as select OLED models from LG.


2. Connecting computer peripherals

While this isn’t exactly common like the first point above, you can actually connect a couple of computer peripherals like keyboard and mouse to your TV via its USB port. This is particularly useful if you own a Smart TV with built-in applications like web browsers, Netflix, Facebook etc. You can connect a wired or wireless keyboard to the TV as a more convenient way of inputting passwords and a mouse to better scroll through web pages.

These are definitely easier and better navigation options compared to the native handheld remotes that come out-of-the-box with most Smart TVs.

13. Do Smart TVs Automatically Connect to Your USB Drive?

Smart TVs can read your USB drive automatically.

Unlike plugging it into your computer, you won’t get a prompt, but you can always check the media file manager of your smart TV to make sure it’s recognized.

  • On the remote control of your smart TV, you will find a button for the USB drive.
  • You can click on it to open the media file manager of your TV.
  • All the compatible files and folders will be displayed on your screen.

3. What Can You Do with the USB Port of Your Smart TV?

The USB port of your smart TV can serve different purposes. Here are good examples of how it can function.

Firmware Updates

If your Internet connection is not stable for firmware updates, you can take an external storage device, such as a flash drive, download the update on the drive, and connect it to the TV through the USB port to update the firmware of your smart TV without being connected to the Internet.

Firmware updates ensure a smooth operating experience, as they can also improve hardware performance, including Bluetooth and video displays.

Input and Navigation Devices

You can also use the USB port of your smart TV to plug in input devices so you can have better navigation of the smart TV interface.

Instead of relying on the on-screen keyboard and arrow keys of your remote control to type, you can use a keyboard to make searching faster.

Charging Port for Gadgets

The USB port of your smart TV can be used as a charger in case you can’t find the wall charger of your device. You can plug in any device that charges into your TV’s USB port for charging.

These include devices such as smartphones, tablets, and even smartwatches.

While it will charge your devices, take note that it won’t be as efficient as if you were charging through a dedicated wall charger or power bank. USB ports can only put out a certain amount of power through its ports.

What Should I Do If My Smart TV Does Not Recognize the Flash Drive?

If your smart TV comes with a USB port but it does not recognize the flash drive you have inserted, your flash drive may be in the wrong format.

Some smart TV does not support specific formats. It is best to check this on the website of your manufacturer.

You may also try to reformat your USB. You can do so by plugging it into your computer and finding it in the file manager.

Remember that formatting your flash drive would erase all of the contents it has right now. You can safeguard your other files to another location if you still want a copy of them.

Right-click your USB flash drive. Click the “format” option, and choose a particular option under “file system” and click start to begin reformatting.

What Will I Do If My Smart TV Does Not Have A USB Port?

If you find out that your smart TV does not have a USB port that allows you to play videos and flash photos, do not fret because there is still another way.

You just have to grab your HDMI cable and connect one end to your computer or television and the other to your smart TV. You can also use a DVI or S-video cable.

More often than not, modern smart TVs have built-in HDMI and DVI inputs. Computers and laptops also have this, so you will not have a problem connecting them using your HDMI cable.

They also offer good quality pictures, and the sound can also be transferred if you want to stream videos. If your laptops or computers and televisions are of the older types, you may opt to use S-video, but it does not offer the same quality HDMI cables offer.

USB-C, USB PD, and Power Delivery

The USB PD specification is also closely intertwined with USB Type-C. Currently, a USB 2.0 connection provides up to 2.5 watts of power—enough to charge your phone or tablet, but that’s about it. The USB PD specification supported by USB-C ups this power delivery to 100 watts. It’s bi-directional, so a device can either send or receive power. And this power can be transferred at the same time the device is transmitting data across the connection. This kind of power delivery could even let you charge a laptop, which usually requires up to about 60 watts.

Apple’s new MacBook and Google’s new Chromebook Pixel both use their USB-C ports as their charging ports. USB-C could spell the end of all those proprietary laptop charging cables, with everything charging via a standard USB connection. You could even charge your laptop from one of those portable battery packs you charge your smartphones and other portable devices from today. You could plug your laptop into an external display connected to a power cable, and that external display would charge your laptop as you used it as an external display — all via the one little USB Type-C connection.

RELATED: Can You Use Any Charger With Any Device?

There is one catch, though—at least at the m

There is one catch, though—at least at the moment. Just because a device or cable supports USB-C does necessarily mean it also supports USB PD. So, you’ll need to make sure that the devices and cables you buy support both USB-C and USB PD.

4. Power supply

Yes, your TV requires to be plugged to a power source to function. However, using the USB port(s), your TV can also power other devices like smartphones and TV dongles (some Chromecast devices and Amazon Firestick) that require a power source.

Depending on the manufacturer and model, a TV can supply as much as 5V and 500ma of power to small devices.

USB-A, USB-B, and USB-C Port Types

Several major types of physical layouts exist for USB ports:

  • USB-A (Type A): The rectangular USB Type-A connector approximately 1.4 cm (9/16 in) length by 0.65 cm (1/4 in) height is typically used for wired mice and keyboards. USB sticks normally feature USB-A connectors also.
  • USB-B (Type B): Less common than type A, USB B devices are nearly square in shape and are commonly found on routers, computers, printers, and game consoles
  • Micro USB: So-called Micro USB versions of both USB-A and USB-B also exist – smaller versions than their base counterparts, popular on mobile devices. Older but now obsolete “mini USB” versions can also be found on many old devices.
  • USB Type C: With dimensions of 0.84 cm by 0.26cm, this newer standard is designed to replace both A and B with smaller ports to better support the thinner form factors of mobile devices.

To connect a device having one kind of port per device with another type, simply use the correct type of cable with appropriate interfaces on each end. USB cables are manufactured to support all supported combinations of types and male/female options.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is my USB port not working? In some cases, a broken connection or a software problem could be to blame. Dirty or clogged USB ports can sometimes interfere with performance as well. While a simple restart of your computer could do the trick, try these tips for cleaning and fixing USB port issues.
  • How can I play music over USB in my car without a USB port? If you have a cigarette lighter in your vehicle, repurpose your 12V socket as a USB port. You might also be interested in adding a USB connection to a car stereo.