Viewing videos on TV Via an External Hard Drive


Novice Member
Hi Everyone

Can someone out there put me straight, I’ve got a Topfield PVR and because its full I’ve copied some of the video recordings from it onto another external hard drive namely a Seagate.

I’ve done this via my desktop computer using a programme called Antares.

Now what I’ve been doing to date is, as I’ve watched more recordings off the Topfield making more space.

I have then copied stuff back off the Seagate onto the Topfield using the same Antares programme so I can view it on my TV.

I have now got a Hitachi 50HYT62U TV and thought maybe I could just simply plug the Seagate hard drive into a USB port on the TV, instead of having to go through the process of copying onto the Topfield first.

The only problem is the TV is saying there are no recordings, I’m obviously doing something wrong, if someone can make sense of the above can they explain what I need to do?

Thanks to anyone who can advise.


Distinguished Member
Old PVRs often used custom file formats to store their recordings, so is your utility converting them to something standard to .mpeg or is it purely for backup purposes?

Do the files play in a normal media player on the PC? Windows software generally has a much wider range of format support than TVs so that's a good first check.


Well-known Member
Topfield movie files use the .rec extension which, as EndlessWaves suggested, only a Topfield PVR or certain PC video players will recognise - it's very likely that a TV's media player won't recognise them.

It's many years since I offloaded video files from my old 'Toppy', but I do remember having to jump through a few hoops with some specific bits of software in order to download them and then convert them to a more widely recognised format (Antares just does the transfer).

This link, however, suggests that VLC Player might recognise the .rec format these days, in which case you should be able to use it to both play your files on a PC or laptop and possibly convert them to a format your TV is more likely to recognise (eg. MP4) if you want to plug in a hard drive directly.


Novice Member
Hi Guys

Thank you for your replies, rather than answering you all individually, this is what I’ve found so far, as some of you have said the file extension is rec.

Having connected the Seagate to my computer, I can bring up the list of recordings which have been transferred to it from the Topfield and I can see the file extension against each recording as rec.

I can play them on my computer using VLC no problem at all, any ideas on where I can go from there.

This is only a thought, would it be possible for me to download VLC onto the TV, I’m not really up on all this technology, but I do know a lot of things these days can be interconnected.

I believe the TV is a smart one so I assume it can be connected to the internet not that I have ever done that.

Rodders, I agree with you Toppy has its own forum but as some of you have already said its an old machine, and I suppose the site may not be used much these days, so for speed I thought I’d try this forum first.


Well-known Member
I believe there is a version of VLC for Android TVs. Sony are one of the few manufacturers who use the Android OS in their TVs, but most other manufacturers (eg. LG, Panasonic, Samsung etc) tend to use their own operating systems, in which case you're probably out of luck.

There's no harm in checking your TV's app store for any suitable players but if it isn't an Android TV with access to the Google Play store, then my instinct would be that you'll probably need to convert the files.

If you want to convert your movies on the PC using VLC...
  • Open VLC and go to Media - Convert / Save..
  • Add your chosen .rec Topfield file and select Convert / Save (pick a short program while you're experimenting to save time !)
  • Where it says Profile, you need to select a format your TV will recognise. Try Video - H.264 + MP3 (MP4) to start with, as that's the one most likely to work. Leave the other options unchecked.
  • Chose a suitable destination folder and file name for the resulting video file
  • Hit Start


Novice Member
I’ve done a quick web search and it looks as though my TV has a web os, so no joy there.

I’ve had a go at trying to covert the rec file to H.264 +MP£ (MP4) and I end up with a message saying the output file already exists, I’ve clicked overwrite but when I look in the destination folder the converted file shows up as rec. so I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong.


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Well-known Member
Yes, VLC can be a bit flakey sometimes. I would make sure you give the output file a different name to the source file to avoid confusion, then try both the overwrite and keep options in turn and see what happens. Often, I find I can cancel that prompt and the output file will have been created without any problems - it's almost like it's trying to do it twice, hence that error message.

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