You might have noticed that your new TV has a feature called USB Recording. What this feature does is allow you to record live programs to an external hard drive. With a proper hard drive, your TV can even pause and rewind programs. It makes it very convenient to save a TV show for later.
The good news is you probably already have a TV with this feature. The problem is you need a relatively fast hard drive that can write and read data fast enough to keep up with your TV.
Here are the best external hard drives for TV recording:
Best External Hard Drives for TVs (Samsung, LG, Sony, etc):
Keep in mind, these portable hard drives can be used with gaming consoles, computers, Macs, and other devices. Although we focus on the TV USB feature, you can use them for many other purposes. We’ll talk a bit more about how to use and buy a portable hard drive later on.
What to Look for In a Hard Drive:
When buying a new portable hard drive, there are a few features you need to know about. One is the hard disk RPM rate. Mechanical hard drives have a disk inside that rotates when in use, the faster it rotates, the faster your hard drive.
The most common RPM rates are 5400 and 7200. Generally, both of these RPM rates are “Good” but 5400 RPM hard drives are cheaper. 7200 RPM is about 35% faster. On the other hand, if you just need a portable hard drive for storage, such as videos and images, a 5400 RPM drive will do the trick.
Note: Not every portable hard drive manufacturer will reveal its hard drive RPM rate. You’ll have to either test the drive or open the case to find the exact hard drive model.
USB Version Compatibility
You also want to make sure your device (TV, Console, PC, etc) has the same USB version as your hard drive. In most cases, USB 3.0 ports are blue, while 2.0 ports are black. If you’re not sure what USB port your device uses, check its manual.
Most modern laptops and TVs use USB 3.0 ports. Likewise, most modern portable hard drives use USB 3.0 too. To make sure you get the best speed, make sure to plug the USB 3.0 hard drive into a 3.0 USB port, it’s usually blue.
HDD vs SSD
You might have heard about SSD drives, they’re many times faster than normal mechanical drives because they use a different technology with no mechanical parts. Nowadays, most computers come with at least one SSD drive to handle important tasks, such as the operating system.
- Very fast. Average read rate of 550 MBs a second (vs. 7200 RPM 120 Mb/s)
- Durable, No Spinning Parts, Cooler
- More Expensive than HDDs
SSDs are highly recommended for computers, but if you just need something portable, then a portable HDD is more than enough. SSDs also tend to be more expensive than mechanical hard drives. We don’t recommend an SSD for recording TV.
Is a Portable SSD Worth It?
In my opinion, since portable hard drives won’t be in use most of the time, and mainly they’re used for storage, there’s no point in buying a portable SSD. An HDD will meet your requirements, and they’re much cheaper too.
How Long Do Portable Hard Drives Last?
There are many factors that can affect a portable hard drive’s lifespan, so it’s impossible to provide an exact answer. However, most portable hard drives can be used non-stop for at least three years before you might run into issues.
Do I Need to Format a Portable Hard Drive?
In most cases, portable hard drives will arrive in a plug-and-play condition. But many customers choose to manually format the hard drive just to make sure there’s no malware on them. You don’t need to format a portable hard drive, but some people prefer to do it.
How Much Space Do I Need?
That depends on what you plan to use the hard drive for. Content such as games and videos will take up much more space than family pictures. Generally, we recommend buying a portable hard drive that has at least 1 TB of space.
Is It Okay to Leave a Portable Hard Drive Plugged in 24/7?
Even when plugged in, most portable hard drives will go into standby mode when not in use. It’s totally fine to leave a portable hard drive plugged in. It won’t damage the components. As a matter of fact, hard drives are meant to always be plugged in.