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From Thumb Drive to Monitor: Getting your Presentation Running on the Show Floor

08/06/15 by Brandon

Flash DriveWe get a lot of questions from clients on the show floor about how to plug their thumb drive into the USB ports of the monitor in order to play their presentations (PowerPoint, Keynote, etc). The problem is that does not work! Letís first talk about the types of USB ports that are typically found on a monitor. They could be a:

  • Service port to service the monitor
  • Photo port where you could scan in some photos to loop through
  • Power port where you can power in some other devices, like charging your phone

Just because there is a USB port does not mean itís going to play your files. The issue is that the monitor does not have the software to run a presentation, like PowerPoint, and neither does the thumb drive. So either you have to convert the file, or use a source with the presentation software program on it like a laptop. Now of course nobody wants a bulky laptop taking up space in their exhibit. What we suggest to everyone is to give us your PowerPoint presentation and let us convert it to a format that will work with the monitor or, preferably, a media player. Why a media player? You just plug a thumb drive into the media player and then the player will have a more compatible connection, like HDMI, to the monitor. You can mount the player right on the back of the monitor and with a simple electrical connection and electrical splitter, you are all set to go.  A media player will still not be able to just play the presentation as it also does not have the presentation software. Typically a media player supports the following formats:

  • Video: MKV, AVI, or MPEG4
  • Audio: MP3, WMA, or FLAC
  • Image: JPG, BMP, GIF, or PNG

So you have to convert your presentation slide by slide to one of these formats in order for it to work in the media player and onto the monitor. That is where the confusion is as you will not be able to directly connect your thumb drive with the presentation into the USB port on the monitor. The media players we recommend are the ones which convert to more formats and have the ability to easily, with a remote, do audio repeats, continuous loops and many things that a monitor may or may not have. Especially if you rent the monitors on the show floor. It will be different each time and this media player can go with you to every show. In summary, when you see a monitor with USB ports, please do not automatically think that you will be able to play your PowerPoint or Keynote presentation on it via a thumb drive. Invest in a media player, have your exhibit company or your video department covert the files to a format that will work with the media player and then you will have this portable system ready to go at every show no matter what monitor you use.