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.
See all my 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube coverage here.
I also heard that this new device will allow its tv from an antenna to integrate into the live tv app is this true?
The only OTA tuner/antenna that integrates into the Fire TV’s “Live” tab and channel guide is the Fire TV Recast. This is the case for all Fire TV models, not just the new Cube.
Does the new Cube support USB hubs and plugging in more than 1 USB drive?
Wow, so you can have extra storage for the Cube and also your own media at the same time? Nice.
While you technically can connect two drives, one for app storage and one for external file storage, the Fire TV really isn’t made to work well with it. If you set up each drive separately and then connect them to a USB hub in the right order, the Fire TV will allow you to move apps around and still make the other drive accessible in apps. The problem is that once the Fire TV goes to sleep and wakes up with both drives connected, it may not mount the drives correctly each time. So while it can technically work, it’s not exactly a smooth experience.
Hopefully it isn’t an accident and something they’ll later remove? My understanding is the reason nothing supports NTFS is due to having to pay licensing to use it, no?
Android/AOSP doesn’t support NTFS drives by default, likely due to licensing costs as you said, so NTFS support had to be explicitly added to Fire OS.
my omni tv has always read an ntfs drive
Oh ok, so I guess the smart TVs got it first then. Thanks for letting us know.
It’s weird. After the latest OS update? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mM1L14Cyn8 and 1:12
Does the USB connection to the external drive still shut down when the Cube sleeps as you reported in another article? What impact does this have if you are trying to access the drive straight after waking up the Cube?
Can you play 4k (and HD) MKV/mp4 files from a NTFS external HDD with Kodi? And passthru audio. That would make the Cube must buy for me
64 bit or 32 bit for KODI? only the Fire TV 2 was 64 bit.
32-bit. Still the same, lol.. Those funny Amazon little games.
is it possible to use spinning hard disk drives, or only thumb drives will work ?
Yes, spinning drives work, but, depending on your drive, you may need to use a powered USB hub if the drive is unpowered (like a 2.5″ drive)and the power provided by the Fire TV Cube’s USB port isn’t sufficient to power the drive.
What about the Seagate Portable Drive, 5TB (STGX5000400) think that would be ok to be powered just via usb?
I expect it’ll work, but there’s no way to know for sure until you try.
Is it possible to use the record feature of my IPT V service And record to the USB thumb drive?? Can’t seem to figure it? Do I need to partition the thumb drive or something? Thanks in advance.
Wouldn’t this (NTFS) be an OS feature and therefore available to other devices?
Hi, Elias. the Fire Cube 3 should be able to power a small SSD, correct?
Yes, it should.