How to play videos from external microSD or USB drives on the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick

The Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick were primarily designed to stream media over the internet, but they can also be used to play local video files. Many users access their local video files over their home network, but if setting up a shared network folder seems too daunting of a task, it’s probably easier to just play video files off of a microSD or USB drive connected directly to your Fire TV or Fire TV Stick. Here is a breakdown of everything you need to know to play video files from an attached external microSD card or USB drive.

Storage Type (USB / USB via OTG / microSD)

External storage support varies based on which Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick model you have. The 2nd-gen Fire TV can access videos from its microSD slot or its USB port. The 1st-gen Fire TV can only access videos from its USB port, because it does not have a microSD card slot. The 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick only has a single micro USB port, but you can use it to access videos stored on a USB drive if you use a USB OTG cable. The 1st-gen Fire TV Stick does not support media playback from external drives, even if you use an OTG USB cable.

As far as media playback is concerned, it doesn’t matter if you access videos from a microSD slot (2nd-gen Fire TV only), a USB port (1st and 2nd-gen Fire TV), or an OTG cable (2nd-gen Fire TV Stick only). All USB drives are compatible, including flash/thumb drives, spinning external hard drives, and external SSD drives. You can even use memory cards in a USB card reader.

Storage Location

The path to the directory where your external storage is located will vary based on which model Fire TV or Fire TV Stick you have and which type of external storage you are using. The paths are as follows:

2nd-gen Fire TV – microSD: /storage/sdcard1/
2nd-gen Fire TV – USB: /storage/usbotg/
1st-gen Fire TV (software version 5.0.0 and newer) – USB: /storage/usbdisk/
1st-gen Fire TV (software version and older) – USB: /storage/extUsb/
2nd-gen Fire TV Stick – USB via OTG Cable: /storage/usbotg/
1st-gen Fire TV Stick: No External Drive Support

Storage Format (FAT32 / NTFS)

All Amazon Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks only support external storage that is formatted using the FAT32 file system. NTFS, exFAT, and all other file systems are not supported. If your device is rooted, it is possible to use NTFS drives if you follow this guide.

FAT32 only supports files up to 4GB in size. If you want to play video files that are larger than 4GB, you have to split the files, which is explained in this guide.

File Containers (MKV, AVI, MP4, MOV, etc…)

It doesn’t matter to the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick which file container is used, but it might matter to the app that you use to play the file. All the apps listed below support a wide variety of file containers, like .mkv, .avi, .mp4, and .mov. If you’re creating your own files and need to choose one, I would select MKV, but otherwise, this is not something you really need to care about.

Video Codecs (H.264/5, x264/5, HEVC, Xvid, etc…)

Without getting into the gritty details of video codecs, the important thing to know regarding them is that only the 2nd-gen Fire TV and 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick support H.265 (a.k.a. HEVC) and x265 hardware accelerated playback. While those codecs will play on 1st-gen devices, it will be a poor experience. You can see that in action here. All Fire TV and Fire TV Stick models support H.264, x264, Divx, and Xvid hardware decoding. If you have a 2nd-gen device, H.265 and x265 encoded files are best because they provide the best quality at the lowest file size. For maximum compatibility across all models, it’s best to use H.264 or x264 encoded files.

Apps (Kodi, SPMC, MrMC, VLC, etc…)

The Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick do not have a built-in app to access video files on external storage drives. You will need to install an app to play your video files.


VLC is a free app in the Amazon Appstore for the Fire TV. It is the simplest option to play video files from external drives. It does not have any of the fancy features found in other apps like Kodi, but it gets the job done. When you launch the app, it should automatically find and list the video files stored on your external drive. If it doesn’t find the files, scroll down to VLC’s “Browsing” section, and select the directory associated with your device and drive, as listed above in the “Storage Location” section of this article.

Kodi / SPMC / MrMC

Kodi, SPMC, and MrMC are all slightly different version of essentially the same core media player app. These are very powerful and feature rich apps, but they do have a bigger learning curve than something like VLC.

Kodi and SPMC are free, but are not available in the Amazon Appstore for the Fire TV, so you will have to sideload them. This is easy to do and takes only a few minutes if you follow this guide. MrMC is not free, but it is available in the Amazon Appstore, so it is simpler to install and keep updated.

To access your video files on an external drive within Kodi, SPMC, or MrMC, you need to select “Videos” from the main menu in the app, then select “Files” and browse to the directory associated with your device and drive, as listed above in the “Storage Location” section of this article.

  1. Wayne says:

    Can an AFTV view a VOB file or the files of a DVD?

  2. Tony says:

    Do they have the same processor and graphics chips?

  3. Cedric says:

    Useless instructions. I have a USB thumb drive plugged in, with movies on it. Now what? VLC Player can’t find the drive. Sigh. Come on Amazon Fire TV. You can do better than this!!

  4. Carl says:

    Can 2016 Fire TV Stick play VLC video from storage, without a network connection? I want to lend some videos to a friend, to view, but don’t want them to have to mess with networking or maybe there’s no WiFi, just launch VLC and play the videos.

    I bought the 2016 Fire TV Stick but was disappointed what it would not launch any apps after I told it to ‘forget’ my WiFi password.

    • steve says:

      I have the same question. Did you ever figure this out? Many thanks, Steve, Cary North Carolina

    • Bk147 says:

      If you hold the home button down when you get the message that here is no network connection it will allow you to get to your apps and from there play your video files. I have only tested this for a short time, I did find that after going back to the fire stick after a day of being plugged in and left connected to the TV that the message would keep popping up, even after I got to the apps. My work around was to unplug the power and reboot it, which allowed you to bypass the no network message again.

  5. Kevin says:

    The Fire TV will only recognise SD or USB drives formatted in FAT32 (not even FAText – windows 10 default). I had to use linux to reformat my USB drive as a FAT32 one. You can then use a media player like VLC or KODI to play movies on the drive (remember the 2GB limit though).

  6. AC says:

    My Fire TV Gen2 confirms that my USB drive formatted in FAT32 is successfully mounted. However, I cannot find the same to access and run the contents… please help.

  7. Robbie says:

    Is it still possible to play files larger than 4GB from a microSD card plugged into the back of a Fire TV2?

    I split mine with WinRAR as described in another part of the AFTV website and ensured that Kodi was set to ‘Combine split files’. However, Kodi can only see the smaller, MP4 files in that folder.

    • Stephen says:

      If I connect a USB otg cable to my firestick micro USB to attach a USB stick to play movies via kodi, where does the firestick get its power from?

    • the IT guy says:

      no, it’s not possible cuz the FAT32 File system limitations. You need to find other devices to do so, but not a fire TV. Maybe a micro PC will be more suitable for your needs.

  8. Stephen says:

    If I connect a USB otg cable to my firestick micro USB to attach a USB stick to play movies via kodi, where does the firestick get its power from?

  9. Laxmikant S Bhumkar says:

    You are really master of Amazon Fire TV Stick

  10. Sujoy says:

    But how to connect the external , there is only one port . Plz attach some images or vedio.

  11. Darren Johnston says:

    Amazing how much investigation and research is required to accomplish the most basic of tasks. Two thumbs up Amazon for including a micro SD slot where Apple TV did not (and would not). And yet, terrible execution. Do you REALLY think we’re using expandable memory slots so we can download more Apps?! Games!? Sigh. Shouldn’t be this difficult to load up a micro SD card with OUR OWN media (movies, music, photos) and use the NON-EXISTENT, BUILT-IN, BASIC-A** software to access and play that media. NO, I don’t want to download yet another pointless app, upload all my media to some random server in God knows where, and create a username and password, all so I can stream from my computer what I could just be playing off the Fire TV.

  12. Joanie says:

    I would like to transfer some pis and files to the usb thumb drive. Please tell me how to do that. Thank you.

  13. Joanie says:

    I would like to transfer some of my pics and files to the usb thumb drive. Please tell me how to do that. Thank you.

  14. Darryl G says:

    Do you know of an app that can format a hard drive attached to the fire stick?

  15. Mario says:

    Too bad this OTG cable connection idea does not work with 4TB drives. FireTV 4K can’t even see the drive. I’m surprised in this day and age there are still limitations of sizes and compatibly.

  16. Barry Fox says:

    John Dawson of hi-fi/video company Arcam used to express his frustration over all the menu options, copyright warnings and adverts for other movies, that bedvilled DVDs. “What people want” he said, “is one button for ‘just play the friggin movie'”.
    Now we have the HDMI stick obstacle course; why can’t we have one stick that works with all online subscription services (and a card slot for USB sticks). People could then choose what they want to pay for.
    But that makes too much sense – like having a standard layout for all TV remote controls so we can learn to use them in the dark

  17. Bella Gorden says:

    It is easy to play Spotify on Amazon Fire TV if you have Spotify installed on your computer. Or you could use Tunelf Spotify Music Converter to download Spotify music for free for playing on Amazon Fire TV without limits.

  18. John Weems says:

    As for playing music from Spotify to Amazon Fire TV, I’d rather choose a professional AudKit Spotify Converter ( to keep the original quality and other ID3 tags. Plus, converting Spotify output format to MP3 and other common formats.

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