In an unexpected move, Amazon has added support for NTFS USB drives to the 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube. This is surprising because no Fire TV device in the past has ever supported NTFS formatted storage drives. Whether they were a Fire TV, Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Stick, or Fire TV Smart TV, they all only supported FAT32 drives out of the box and required some complex manipulation to support any other drive format.
Connecting a USB drive formatted to use NTFS, be it a flash drive, hard drive, or SSD, to the Fire TV Cube’s full-sized USB-A port results in the drive being mounted and accessible by any app. With past Fire TV models, connecting an NTFS drive caused an error message to appear, which prompted you to format the drive. For NTFS drives to work on older Fire TV devices, you have to either use an app that had the ability to mount NTFS drives itself, which meant the drive could only be accessed within that one app, or add support for NTFS to the OS yourself through some other means, such as by rooting the Fire TV.
On the Fire TV Cube 3, files stored on NTFS drives show up in any app that supports external storage, such as Kodi, MrMC, and VLC. The Fire TV Cube’s new built-in media player app also sees files stored on NTFS drives just fine.
Like most Fire TV models before it, the Fire TV Cube does support storing select apps on external drives to free up space on the device’s internal storage, but this still can’t be done with NTFS drives. Just as you have always had to do, you must allow the Fire TV to format the drive before it can be used for storing apps. The Fire TV uses a file system common to Linux for app storage drives, so you won’t be able to store both Fire TV apps and your own files on the same drive.
Of course, the Fire TV Cube still supports FAT32 drives as well, but the addition to NTFS support means you are no longer limited to files that are smaller than 4GB, which was a common issue with Fire TV’s that only supported FAT32 drives. No other file system format that I tested, such as ExFAT or APFS, was supported by the Fire TV Cube. I also tested a few older FireTV models, like the Fire TV Stick 4K Max, to see if support for NTFS drives has been added to those devices but, unfortunately, I did not find another Fire TV model with NTFS support.