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Discussion Starter #1
I have a number of DVDs and I have a ripped and stored on a USB key. What's the cheapest option to make this work on an Elite? What I am considering:

- Just plug in the USB key and hope I can use it to select and play a movie (but am unsure if that will work)
- Get an android tablet that hooks into HDMI input port

What's your setup?
 

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I use a USB. Has to be mp4 format from what i'm told. I've had no problems. My only problem with it is you can't resume where you left off when you turn off the vehicle, unless i'm doing something wrong or haven't set something up properly.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
TLDR version -

1) you can put all your movies on USB stick and play them that way as long as you rename all files as .mp4 extension. Problem with this approach, you turn off the car and the movie will restart (and not resume where left off). Also you can't fast forward to where you were before and can only watch a movie once it starts. No bathroom or lunch breaks while a movie is running (unless you wanna keep the car running).

2) Use a chrome cast into the HDMI port and using a tablet create an access point that the chromecast is connected to so you can cast the movies that way. Solves the problem stated in above solution, but you know have to deal with cables, a dongle that can both keep powering the tablet and feed video to HDMI port. basically you are building your own entertainment system, which is not ideal.

If anyone else has found a better solution, please share!
 

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I use a USB stick with MP4 files. Be aware that not all USB sticks are supported. I tried 3 different brands before I got one to work. SanDisk is working fine, and I can fast forward, using the remote, but it is not a very fast, fast forward.
 

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We use a Roku 3 and stream via Plex or when our hotspot isn't cooperating, we have a 128gb flash drive in the Roku that has some compressed movies and shows on it, played through Roku Media Player. This solution allows resume and tons of content but we are currently struggling with hotspot connectivity. Thankfully I bought and set up the flash drive for just this reason.
 

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I've tried both the roku route and chromecast route. The Roku had a weird green HDMI problem, and the Chromecast's need for internet was annoying. I also tried an Android tablet with an MHL cable, but the audio and video would not sync up.

I ended up settling for one of Microsoft's wireless adapters and casting from an old Android cell phone to the wireless adapter. This worked flawlessly, and allows us a 'monitor' in the front where we could see the progress of the movie and select a new one when it was over. This is all using sync'd plex media.
 

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I tried a external HDD and a flash drive and both worked but as other have stated there is no resume and "fast" forward isnt really that fast so it got real old, real quick trying to resume. I've thought about some kind of Laptop or NUC device with HDMI output and remote with Plex installed since i have a TON of movies download but have not implemented anything. We've actually just resorted to going to thrift stores and picking up $1 movies for the kids and using the built in DVD/Bluray player.
 

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@farsed, if you can justify the $20 monthly payment to AT&T, then Roku is the simplest solution. In my case it is a no-brainer because that $20 is my one and only monthly bill for phone and Internet access, I already have access to Amazon contents because of Prime membership, and access to practically all pay-TV channels through employment, then there is all the free stuff (PBS Kids, YouTube, etc.). The "green" HDMI problem mentioned by @block is well documented and not really a problem: it is an issue only when Roku's output resolution is set to Auto; the RES screen's native resolution is 1024x600, when set to Auto Roku would use the closest match, 1280x720, but there is some kind of HDMI compatibility issue and it appears red is missing entirely; if Roku is hard set to output 1920x1080, then during boot-up the RES screen shows a green tint initially but becomes normal once Roku switches to 1920x1080.

I used Chromecast in my setup for about seven months. If one has the AT&T data plan for the in-car LTE uplink, then it is easy: 1) for streaming content, just use a compatible app on your phone, locate what to watch and then cast it to Chromecast; 2) for local content, use an Android app such as Bubble UPnP (I am sure there are others, this is the one I used) which can load media files stored on my phone (I have a 128GB micro SD card loaded) and cast it by choosing a Chromecast as the renderer - this is far better than using the primitive video player built-in to RES that reads from a USB stick as you far more extensive control over the playback, and it does not tie up the one and only data-capable USB port. There are two caveats if one does not have in-car Wi-Fi, however: 1) when Chromecast powers up, it needs to have Internet access, otherwise it will never completes booting and become "Ready to Cast"; once it is ready it will continue to function later even if Internet access is removed (until the next power up cycle), so one may try to work around it by allowing it to access the Internet via one's mobile phone but unfortunately that leads to the next obstacle which is 2) when a phone is configured as a hotspot to allow Chromecast Internet access, it becomes a router forwarding traffic between the Wi-Fi side (hotspot) and the LTE uplink to the Internet, and Google Cast stops functioning on that phone even though its Wi-Fi side is on the same network as the Chromecast device. So to make it work you need a spare phone or tablet and that begs the question of why not just give each kid a cheap tablet.

I started with Chromecast because I had been using it at home for a couple of years, but switched to Roku when it became a pain to disconnect my phone (I use Android Auto all the time) repeatedly because my kids asked for it to find what they want to watch or to control playback. With Roku they have their own remote that allows voice search across all the "channels" of contents.

And by the way, simply renaming media files to have an .mp4 suffix doesn't guarantee that RES will be able to play it via USB, actual video CODEC needs to be H.264.
 

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I tried all the options mentioned here and the only one didn't work for me was the USB drive, maybe it has a not so compatible file system or hidden files the car doesn't like. After testing everything I went back to the DVD option, it is way more convenient in terms of speed, reliability, you save time not having to wait for devices to connect to the internet or configure things, and it resumes the video where you left. If you are creating your own DVDs avoid menus, the entertainment system can go completely bananas (no sound, control not functioning, etc).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I tried a external HDD and a flash drive and both worked but as other have stated there is no resume and "fast" forward isnt really that fast so it got real old, real quick trying to resume. I've thought about some kind of Laptop or NUC device with HDMI output and remote with Plex installed since i have a TON of movies download but have not implemented anything. We've actually just resorted to going to thrift stores and picking up $1 movies for the kids and using the built in DVD/Bluray player.
Are there any USB powered media HDDs out there that have a display and and play/ff/rr/stop button with HDMI output? That should be the ultimate solution is what I am thinking.
Or maybe short of that, a hack can be an Arduino or Raspberry Pi with a 256gb SD card and some sort of attachment to browse/start/stop/ff/rr media files.
 

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I put movies / shows on a USB stick and then use a Roku in the van. It hooks up to the HDMI / power source and we have endless content for road trips. Sometimes the system doesnt recogozie it, you have to play with it by pulling out the hdmi cord / power and putting back in...have not figured out why but its not that often.
 

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on my 2015 Touring, I have used Micca Speck G2 1080p Full-HD Ultra Portable Digital Media Player (from Amazon, around $40). Loaded tons of movies to USB. One can pause / resume / ff / rev. Very cost effective solution if no internet connection is needed.
 
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