How do I select the right USB stick or SD card for storing my decorations?

The most popular storage devices for using AtmosFX Digital Decorations are USB flash drives and SD cards; they’re both small, can hold large files, and compatible with all kinds of playback devices.

Which USB flash drive or SD card you pick all depends on the device you connect them to! Every device is a little different, so you may need to consult your user manual or contact the manufacturer for more information. The tips in this article are general guidelines that should work for most people and most devices.

General Tips

Although it may be tempting to buy the largest storage device possible, we recommend you avoid buying storage devices larger than 32gb.

Drives larger than 32gb may not be compatible with many devices. The explanation is a little complicated, and is based on the file system format of your devices. For more information on that, check out the last section of this article, "File System Formatting".

USB Flash Drives

You can use just about any USB flash drive (also known as sticks, jump drives, and many more names).

Keep in mind that while many external hard drives can connect to a USB plug, they are not the same as USB flash drives. Connecting an external hard drive to a projector or TV USB port is usually not going to work. External hard drives require power to run, which is usually provided by a desktop or laptop computer it is plugged in to. Projectors and TVs usually don't have this ability to power power external hard drives.

One of the great features about USB is that even though the format has improved over the years, it's still the same plug and can be used on older devices. The most recent USB version is 3.0, and it is lightning fast! However, if your USB flash drive is 3.0 and the device is connected to is not, it will only work as fast as the slower device.

SD Cards

Although all SD cards look the same at first glance, there are three different versions of SD cards on the market today; SDSC, SDHC, and SDXC.

SDSC is the oldest version and SDXC is the newest. Each upgraded version runs faster and holds more storage capacity. SDXC is not compatible with many devices, like the AtmosFX 2016 Holiday Digital Decorating Kit. All newer AtmosFX products (including the Digital Decorating Kit, Digital Decorating Kit Plus. and Media Player) can play SDXC format SD cards.

If you are shopping for an SD card to play your decorations, you may want to be sure your SD card is the one of the older formats, or that your device can play the newest version.

File System Formatting

Sometimes an external device will meet all the requirements for compatibility but still won't connect to your device. What gives?

If you run into this issue, it may be caused by a difference in the "file system" used to organize the information on your storage device and the playback device it is connected to.

Click here to see our article about formatting your USB stick or SD card, or for more information and helpful instructions!

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