Over the weekend, a few of us were over at a friends house, and with enough smartphones, tablets, and cables on hand to invade a small country, we set out to watch a downloaded TV show.
The technology available to us on-site:
- 2012 model LCD TV with USB port
- BlackBerry Z10
- Apple Macintosh
- Apple iPad
- Apple iPhone
- USB storage devices
- All sorts of HDMI and USB cables and adapters
The episode of the show was stored on a USB stick (removable storage), which we plugged into the TV, which didn’t have the correct codec to play the video. All we got was sound. That having failed, we tried downloading and installing a firmware update for the TV. The available update was only a minor one, so we didn’t hold much hope for it working – which it didn’t.
iPhones and iPads don’t tend to like any files that they encounter outside of the iTunes ecosystem, and don’t allow users direct access to the on-board storage, and you can’t just plug an unexpected iOS device (such as an iPad that happens to have a different media player app) into the Mac, as it will ask to either sync the media on both devices or to wipe the iPad you just connected. No thanks.
The solution was to get the BlackBerry Z10, put it into ‘USB Mass Storage Mode’ so that we could grab the file from the Mac. The file played as expected on the Z10 – without any special app being required. We used the MicroHDMI port to connect to the HDMI port on the TV, and it worked perfectly.
Smartphones are mostly media consumption devices these days. Make sure your next one allows you to actually use your data. Bonus points for the BlackBerry Z10 being able to just use a MicroHDMI cable, and not having to use an additional $50 adapter (along with an HDMI cable) required for the Apple devices.