View Full Version : Watching .avi on TV via usb drive. Some work, some don't. Any idea why?

02-10-2011, 02:46 PM
Ok so I have, in the past, downloaded the odd kids' programme and movie. Generally they are .AVI ones and I transfer them onto a USB flash drive and plug it into / play via a Sony Bravia TV.
As the title suggests, some of these movies and TV shows work perfectly but others just come up as being unable to play. The files are generally from the same source and I can't see an obvious difference between the working ones and the others.
Is there something specific I should look for in the tech specs of the files I want to download, a clue as to whether it'll work?
Have always had the same issue, 2 movies, same uploader, same format but only one will work on the TV. They all work on the PC using vlc player so the files themselves appear fine.

It's more of an annoyance than a genuine problem, my data is capped though so being able to avoid problematic files to begin with would be ideal.
Any ideas? Thanks :)

02-10-2011, 02:59 PM
I've just compared 2 episodes of Batman. There doesn't appear to be anything in the 'details' tab that differs between working and non working files. Frame height, width, bitrate, data rate and frame rate don't seem to be the problem if that helps any.

02-10-2011, 07:52 PM
A common misconception with video files is that the extension .avi is a standard format. It is not a video file type in itself but rather is referred to as a "container" Within that container can be any of many different kinds of video & audio formats.
For example an avi can contain Xvid, DivX or RAW uncompressed video amongst others and audio can be ogg, mp3, pcm, ac3, etc etc. Players, particularly those built into consumer hardware such as tv's and dvd machines, can be very finicky about the formats they will play, generally only supporting a couple of specific codecs and possible even resolutions. It sounds like your player is quite limited in it's support, it could be the encoding method or even just the audio codec preventing playback or who knows what. If you can figure out what it does play it would be possible to convert the files.

On top of this of course, I don't believe there is any legitimate way to download movies or tv shows in avi format from the internet so there is not much help I can offer you.
One suggestion though, there are some great little stand alone players such as the WDTV which are fairly cheap and play almost anything using a usb flash or hard drive.

02-10-2011, 09:01 PM
Download a copy of the "Super video converter" - use those 3 words to google it.

If you study the options you'll find there's a setting which allows detailed analysis of a file if you double click it.
This will allow you to compare working and non-working files in greater depth.

The added advantage of Super is that you can use it to re-encode your troublesome file into another file which will work on your hardware.

02-10-2011, 09:40 PM
I have a Bravia (EX700) and it is very picky on what it will play. I tried the free Mediainfo to find the reason, but identical-looking files still wouldn't play.

In the end I gave up. I took the advice of (Chilling Silence I think) and got a WD TV HD mediaplayer. This connects to the TV via one of the HDMI ports. It will play just about anything except wmv. Plus it is great for connecting to Win7 shares or media servers and I use it daily as an internet radio (via a separate monitor).

Basically the Sony file-player is substandard. Even more substandard is Sony's lack of information on what WILL play. I tried their help both via their website and by phone. All I wanted to know was the specs of a file that would play, so that I could encode everything to that. But no joy. I will look seriously at a Samsung or Panasonic next time

(I don't think Super works with Win7)

Sick Puppy
02-10-2011, 09:56 PM
I have a laptop with a S-Video connection, purchased a cable that linked it to my old CRT TV.

I play my programmes using VLC Player, and like you, occasionally I have issues - some play, others won't. I have to load VLC up, make sure the laptop is feeding to the TV only, and then play from a selected playlist, and then I'm good to go. It does work well though - when it works! :thumbs:

Presuming you're loading it into your TV from the USB direct though, you may have issues. Is there more than one process of playing .avi files from USB keys for your TV?

03-10-2011, 04:40 AM
Check with Sony to see if they have a newer firmware for the TV that supports other filetypes.

Look around Home Theatre forums, I don't know about the Sony, but there are lots of hacks for the Samsungs.

03-10-2011, 06:36 AM
Must be a Sony thing.My Panasonic plays anything I can throw at it but the Bravia works about 50% of the time and they were bought at the same time.
I'm going to buy a WD media player as well.

03-10-2011, 08:26 AM
Yeah dugimodo summed it up well.

Think of it like a pencil case. Inside it you can have pens, pencils, erasers. Your TV may be able to play back pencil cases with pens and erasers, but not pencils... Just for example ;)

It's likely h.264 vs XviD / DivX.