How to Watch Movies on PS3 From an External Hard Drive

by Matt Skaggs
Alex Grimm/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Your PS3 offers many features in addition to playing video games. These options can allow you to use your PS3 as an entertainment center for watching DVDs or Blu-ray movies, streaming online content and viewing photo or video files on external devices. If you have a movie on a USB device, such as a flash drive or hard drive, you can watch that video on your TV using just your PS3. Playback works just like viewing a video saved on your PS3 that you saved from the PlayStation Network.

Step 1

Turn on your PS3.

Step 2

Connect the external hard drive to an available USB port on your PS3.

Step 3

Navigate to the "Video" section of the XMB menu of your PS3.

Step 4

Highlight the external hard drive, which will be displayed as a "USB Device."

Step 5

Press the green triangle button on your controller or remote; then select "Display all."

Step 6

Navigate to the video you want to watch. If the video is within a folder, you will need to select the correct folder just like you would on a PC.

Select the video file to begin playing it.


  • The PS3 is not compatible with all video file types. It is compatible with MP4, AVI, DivX and WMV formats. Other types of videos, such as MKV files, may not play at all on the PS3. If you know the video file is on the external drive but it does not display when you use your PS3, then the file is incompatible with the PS3 console.
  • Even if you have an HDTV, video files you play from an external drive on your PS3 may not be in high-definition. The quality of the video file is what matters; if the video itself is low-resolution, it will be in low-resolution on any TV you play it on.


  • If you have permission, you can also copy the video file to your PS3's hard drive if it has enough space. This option is available by pressing the triangle button when you highlight the video file.


Photo Credits

  • Alex Grimm/Getty Images News/Getty Images

About the Author

A lover of technology in all forms, Matt Skaggs began writing professionally in 2010, specializing in Windows computers and Android devices. His writing has appeared on many websites providing a plethora of technology information and tutorials. In 2008 Skaggs graduated from Bob Jones University with a Bachelor of Arts in humanities.

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