With the growing number of smart TVs and the growing number of file formats and Codecs, how do you know what will work and what will not?  What will the future hold?

Samsung has been the leader in the smart TV world in my humble opinion.  Sony has done a good job with it too, but doesn’t have the versatility as Samsung.  Sony doesn’t allow for AVI or DivX which a tremendous amount of PC videos have been stored as for at least a decade if not more. This puts Samsung ahead.

Perhaps one of the best options for both is the MP4 file.  It is fairly standard for both web/computer and the smart TV. It easily streams and can handle HD codecs with no drag.

Typically smart TV’s will accept AVI, MP4 and MPEG2.  Fortunately there are dozens of file converters that will change video formats for you.  You will just need to read the manual for the TV and find out what formats are accepted.  One really nice feature of most of Samsung’s smart TV’s is the ability to recognize .VOB files.  .VOB files are used on video DVDs.  They are actually MPEG2 codec.  So if you have many homemade DVDs that you want to play on your smart TV and no longer have a working DVD player, you can simply drag the .VOB files from the DVD onto a thumb drive via a computer and be able to watch the videos on the TV.

When creating new videos for the TV, stick with H.264, H.265 or Motion JPEG (often times referred to as MJPEG). Some TVs will play DivX or Windows media player files.  Always make the files at least DivX 5 or later or WMV version 7 or later.

Smart TV’s will also recognize many audio formats as well.  If your TV is hooked up to a nice AV system, you can connect your drive to the TV and have it play MP3, Midi, AAC, WAV or FLAC files. This is a nice bonus most people don’t think of.  But it may be easier then trying to connect your computer into your AV system.   Most smart TVs can decode these audio files in Dolby Digital or other advanced decoding if your sound system supports it.

Eventually, there will likely be a standard in video files.  USB flash drives are becoming more and more popular as well, however I would not be surprised if eventually the TV industry moves to a standardized card with a standardized format.  But that is still yet to be seen.  This is because the memory access speed to the cards is faster then the USB 3.  However, faster USB connections are already being developed.  Mac’s new PCs and some of the newer phones like the google Pixel have the USB-C, which is extremely fast data transfer.