The Nexus Player works with external storage and USB ethernet

An update to our Nexus Player review ...

Here's a quick update to our Nexus Player review, as we've continued to explore what the little Android TV puck can do. As a reminder, there are three ports on device. HDMI for getting audio and video into a TV (either directly or through a receiver; either works fine), a power port for the ASUS wall wart, and microUSB.

It's that last one that we've been experimenting with, and we've got some good news to report.

You'll recall that the Nexus Player is an 8-gigabyte device, and of that only about 5 gigabytes are available to you, the user, for installing apps and caching data and what not. That's not a lot — and given how large games can be, we'd love to see more storage available. That's where the microUSB port comes in.

Local file support on the Nexus Player

I lose more USB OTG cables than I care to admit. So first I tried just plugging a microUSB flash drive into the Nexus Player directly. It's not the way I'd recommend doing things, as there's not much space back there. A USB OTA cable is the right way to do this. And regardless, I couldn't get the drive to show in a file explorer. Maybe it just wasn't plugged in all the way — again, it was a really tight fit — or maybe it was something else. (If someone smarter than me wants to weigh in on that, that's why we've got comments.) But plug in the drive with a USB OTG cable, and it's showing up just fine. I've played back an .mp4 file, .mp3 file and a .jpg image without issue. Cool.

There's a caveat here, of course. As of right now there are no file explorers visible to the Nexus Player in the Google Play, as you see it on the device. You can, however, sideload to your heart's content, or find apps that are compatible in Google Play in a web browser and install that way. And then you'll have to hope that the app you're trying out can handle not having touch input. There's also no visible way to move apps over to the external storage, but that's not surprising in the least.

Point is, we're really just seeing what works right now. The Nexus Player out of the box isn't really set up to do this in a traditional consumer sense. Will Google change that? Who knows. I wouldn't bet on it.

Other USB peripherals work fine — my Apple keyboard worked without issue, and you can use a mouse, too, if that's how you roll. Of course, now you're working with traditional computer peripherals with what's supposed to be a TV entertainment box, but you go, girl.

Nexus Player ethernet

And then there's USB ethernet. The Nexus Player lacks a proper ethernet port like its ADT-1 brethren and instead is Wifi-only. That is, unless you use a USB-ethernet adapter. It was as simple as plugging one in. The Nexus Player took care of the rest, automatically disconnecting Wifi and running off ethernet.

Maybe not exactly how Google intends us to use the Nexus Player, but it's nice to know we've got options.

98 Comments
  • This is good news, puts Android tv back in my radar, just waiting for a more premium version to be released by another own. hopefully ES File Explorer updates to support Android tv natively and gets a usable ui. Posted via Android Central App on nexus 7 (2nd gen)
  • It's more than that. Google just might not allow file explorers on Androids TV. Will be interesting to see how it plays out. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I don't think it's really up to them. They almost NEVER block content in the app store unless it is illegal or a virus. If someone wants to release a NexusTV compatible file explorer, we'll have one.
  • +1 Posted via Nexus 7 2013 or verizon Galaxy S5 or maybe one day through my moto 360
  • I agree! Android Central, do you know if you can move apps installed to the external storage. "Move to SD"?
    I have only had Nexus devices (No SD cards) since my G1 so I don't know if that option still exists but, it was a good feature!
    Especially with only 8gb
  • He wrote in the article that it can't be done.
  • He wrote that there's no visible way to move apps over to the external storage, but there still may be 3rd party apps (like app2sd) that can do so.
  • I know from experience one can use root apps such as FolderMount to take care of this. I could even attempt it on my Shield Tablet sometime today or tomorrow to check if this does indeed work.
  • What about using a splitter to double the USB port for both USB ethernet and USB OTG? That would be cool.
  • That would be cool if you can hook up a USB hub through the OTG cable and then have a mouse/keyboard connected through that along with the USB/Ethernet dongle
  • It would be a USB hub, not a splitter. And should work fine.
  • This is the golden question, Phil, can you please check and update your article? Also, can you use USB audio on this device now that is officially supported in Lollipop? If I can split, use Ethernet and USB audio - this poorly thought-out device might still have a chance at dying in adolescence rather than shame.
  • i tried it, although usb audio works from my nexus 6 to a usb speaker (kef x300a), it did not work from my nexus player
  • Hey have you tried to run your Nexus 6 via USB to a car that supports USB audio. Mine is backordered so I can't try it yet. I just want to know if the car's infotainment system will interface a Lollipop device the same way it interfaces an iOS device via USB.
  • It doesn't work on my 2015 Fiat 500. I need to try it with a USB OTG cable, but I have a doubt that will do anything different. Edit: This is upsetting because with all the hub-ub about USB Audio being a thing in Android 5.0, this was something I was looking forward to. Yes, Bluetooth works fine, as does an Aux 3.5mm patch cable, but USB audio is better quality and would allow control of the music, since music controls don't work via bluetooth in my car. They work fine on my iPhone 4 that I used as an iPod for a long time though.
  • gotta say at least from a "nerd" standpoint - thats pretty damn awesome. The storage space thing is still an issue for most consumers - just from games that their kids will download. Personally I don't mind it being kind of small - I mean my nephew has gotten a hold of his grandmothers tablet and he goes nuts on getting every game including all 24 versions of angry birds.
  • Damn.. Lol Posted via Android Central App on The Nexus 5
  • Splitter would be great. Think once OEMS get in board storage and Ethernet worries will be a thing of the past and this will be in my living room (in the UK......) More than fingers crossed on all the above. /\_/\
  • @Phil Nickinson - Any chance you could try a USB hub? Also, the specific make/model of the parts you verified worked would be nice to know. Thanks!
  • Yea I am interested in the use hub also...it makes this thing way better. My two gripes about this was no storage and no Ethernet. This can quite possibly solve major issues with this box.
  • What specific USB-Ethernet adapter did you use?
  • Yeah let's hear what are some good wired Ethernet USB adapters to consider.
  • Using a powered hub I added this - inateck HBU3VL3-4 from amazon - appears to be working fine.
    Had to do a s/w update first though.
  • Thx for your continued persistence after the initial setback, Mr Nickinson
  • Very nice.  Good to see AC is going the extra mile as always!
  • inb4 someone hooks up an USB hub to it with ethernet adapters, 2TB HDD, and USB mobile hotspot.
  • Thanks for the update. Nexus Player is back on my payday list. Posted via my Rooted Sprint GS3 FreedomPop(MVNO) (Rooted Sprint LG G2
    (Stock "Contest Won - Sprint Galaxy Note 4/Coming Soon."
    (Stock Hisense Sero 7 Pro
    (Stock Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
    (Stock Tmobile Galaxy Note 3
  • Phil what size HD have you found works with this so far? I'm thinking of loading a 32GB flash drive or even a portable HD with some movies and having that additional library plugged right in.
  • I can't say for sure but it probably works up to 2TB. Posted from my Motorola Moto G.
  • More than enough for me. Between the streaming services and Play Movies, have anywhere up to 2TB for my old stuff is plenty. I'll have to look into this, might be ordering a Nexus Player and Zenwatch this weekend.
  • This really puts the player on my list Posted by my soon to be retired Note 3
  • Then you'll have to change your name... Posted via Android Central App
  • Why? I have a Nexus tablet and love it, it is the phones that have so far sucked. Oh and the cult of Nexus around here almost puts richard to shame collectively.
  • Wow I'm actually the opposite of you. Lol love my nexus 5 and strongly dislike the nexus 7. Posted via Android Central App
  • I am just hoping they finally get it right with the 6...but wont hold my breath on the camera being much better (OIS should help). They really cannot screw up the battery this time because of the size of the damn thing.
  • This hub with USB OTG support might be the ticket; I just ordered one to try out. http://www.amazon.com/UGREEN-Function-Compatible-EReaders-Tablets/dp/B00...
  • That hub may have the OTG cable integrated, but without included AC power it's not a very good solution depending on what you'd want to plug in to the Nexus. A better option would be a cheap OTG cable connected to something like this: 7-Port USB 2.0 HUB w/ AC Adapter
    https://www.androidcentral.com/e?link=https2F2Fcli... Monoprice carries cheap OTG cables as well.
  • Way cool news, I can't wait to get mine, been on order since day 1. Now if we could access Google Drive and run programs from there... This device will just keep getting better with new programs. Posted via my Nexus 5
  • This Nexus toy is a gimped piece of sh!t. Why the hell would anyone buy it over a good android tv box like a Minix X8???
  • First off the Minix X8 is $40 more that the NP and runs 4.4 and from what I understand will always be locked at that rev. The Minix has more I/0 ports and memory, but its CPU and GPU are not any faster than the NP. In fact the Intel Atom is a 64 bit architecture and the GPU on the Minix is slightly better than the lightweight crappy Mali 400, the Mali 450. Then there is the build quality which I would trust Asus over Minix, and then the firmware, I'd trust Google over Minix.
  • Because they want Android TV. I realize that's it's a weird, strange thing for people who aren't you to want something different than what you want, but it does happen sometimes. Posted from my Droid Turbo, Kelly and Ozone
  • They only think they want android tv. Most folks sadly don't know that Minix and others like it even exist. If they did know, I'm sure they would choose the superior and infinitely more capable product, even if it cost $40 more. I have the X7 and it's rock stable and easy to use. 16 gb of storage, hdmi, ethernet, USB hard drive support, SD card, optical out, etc etc etc. ... It's only marketing. Google could release a similar product, but choose to release a lowest common denominator piece of crapola.
  • This is version one and kinda a test run. Lets see if they improve on it.
  • Talk about crapola, the minix 7 really, thats what you're beating your chest about. Double the ports, half the power with 720p, wow. http://www.digitaltrends.com/desktop-computer-reviews/minix-neo-x7-review/
  • The guy writing that review is an idiot. I have the Minix X7 running at full 1080P on my 60" Sharp LCD TV. The stock interface is fine, or you can simply run Nova launcher or similar for a stock like Android experience. Connect a wireless air mouse/keyboard for a great interface. It has double the ports and much more functionality like a real android device. Full Play store support, etc. The Nexus player is crippled crapola.
  • I think if most people wanted to sit in front of their TV with a keyboard and mouse they would've already plugged a PC into it....interface matters...and just like most wouldn't want to operate a PC in their living room, I suspect most would not want to operate an OS designed for a touch screen on their TV with a mouse and keyboard
  • The air mouse and keyboard is a remote. It is sized like a remote, and has regular remote buttons on one side and a keyboard on the other. Minix A2 air mouse. The interface works beautifully. No need for touch screen
  • 1) The user interface on the x8, or kit katt is designed for touch screens. Android TV os is designed to work with remote like a tv. 2) Build quality another concern. 3) I don't think you can get Netflix in HD on X8.
  • Great build quality on my Minix, Netflix looks great too.
  • Give it a rest already. People get it. You like the MiniX and you have some deep seated hatred for a device you don't own.
  • Pretty cool stuff. Posted via Android Central App
  • I still would not waste $100 for something that won't be functional. 8GB is a joke.
  • Well, now that you can plug in a flash drive or potentially an external hard drive...8GB doesn't seem so bad.
  • Except for the fact that you only have about 5gb of actual usable storage for apps and games (some are a few gbs alone) external storage is only good for vids/pics/music and misc files Posted via Android Central App
  • Who is using external storage in this day and age? Get a NAS or plug a drive you already own into a PC or mac and run Plex server. Now you can play any movie, TV Show or music right from pretty much any device you have. I have 8 Terabytes of storage hanging off my iMac via a drobo and I can play any of the media I have on it from any number of devices I own. Internal storage is minor at best since by the time there are a ton of apps for this they will be working on the next model. But if you want better control you can side load XBMC. Which won't require you to pay for plex pass.
  • I can see someone making a device which plugs into the space under the Nexus tv, which gives you a breakout box. for a USB hub, ethernet and power and hdmi.
  • That would be pretty cool.
  • It's almost like they don't get it. If they want to compete for living room space against Roku and Apple TV, they have to release a ready to go product that isn't going to require contacting the techie family members to make it work well. Joe and Jane Average User are not going to go through adding cables, drives and witchcraft to make it do what other boxes do out of the gate. It's a first release and most of their 1.0 devices seem more like prototypes than finished products. This news is GREAT for us nerds, geeks and tinkerers. It will not help them sell boxes for Christmas especially when family members will ask those of us following the stuff which would work best for them. The answer is "the one I have to spend the least amount of time working on for you to use it." Add more storage space and just make the options the standards. The race to the bottom of price isn't always a good race when a Roku for the same amount "just works" as a user friendly device.
  • I use my VUE at the hotels where I stay. Sometimes wifi isn't very good and I'd like the option of using an external DVD player. My Vue recognizes my external DVD drive, but there are no software players for DVDs. That would be nice.
  • Somebody wake me up when it's easy to install Android TV on an Amazon Fire TV box.
  • I bought one.. Also bought a new router to support the AC wireless.. They should make ext sd slot standard like they did with the chargers awhile back.. If they make a new version with all the things we are bitching about now on it we are going to have to protest or somthing lol... Great news about the ext storage now to find my otg cables..
  • Must admit, I'm pretty disappointed with the Nexus Player for basically one reason. External Storage. Google launched a device built to differentiate itself from a basic streamer by having an app/game store and being able to use lt as an Android Game console. They even built a controller for it. Yet didn't build in a uSD or SD card slot to store games/apps on and have that integrated into the system. Whats the f.cking point of that. All that effort to additionally make it a game console, only to then have 5GB of storage , enough for 3-4 big games. After that it resorts to becoming just a streamer and nothing else. All the effort to make it an open market for app/game devs and for consumers to buy and run apps/games is then completely erased. Its like building an RV with a great motor, living space, GPS and mapping system, an inbuilt guide to all RV holiday spots across the US - but then give it a fuel tank that can only take you to the local store. So poorly thought out.
  • I are ordered the nexus player and a controller, when I realized how little storage it had, I canceled the order. I have a hard time believing someone could make the decision to put just 8gb of storage in it, that's a total fail. Hopefully Razr will do it properly, considering their mission for android tv is gaming. I want android TV for the interface, games, and streaming, so it needs to good enough to do all that, don't think that's asking too much.
  • if you're trying to store all your media on a device like this then you're doing it wrong. This thing is meant for streaming, from Netflix, from Genesis, from Phoenix, from your NAS and from anywhere else you link it to. Out of interest, how much internal memory would you have been happy with? 32GB? 128GB? 1TB? None of these are enough for most people (me included), which is why it makes much more sense to have it stream your stuff from wherever it is that you usually keep it, instead of adding a huge amount on to the cost of the device by adding enough internal storage to move your entire video library to.
  • You'd be okay with only being able to have 2 games on it? Having to uninstall a game every time you want to play a different one? You don't stream games, you download them. 64gb should have been bare minimum. I use Plex, not trying to keep anything but games on there, so it still stands it's a total fail to only have 8gb. If they added just the cost of adding 64gb to the device it would only be maybe a$10 increase in cost. I ended up shipping android TV entirely because of this crap. When it was first launched there was no mention of expandable storage. I know the Razer android tv box has it, and that's the way to go, but it still stands they should have included a higher minimum for those that don't want to go buy an external drive just so they don't have to continually uninstall and install games every day. The size of these games is increasing. Some are multiple gigs, after the system is installed that leaves you about 6gb. 64gb minimum to make this an alright purpose, otherwise it's an expensive and oversized chromecast with limited features.
  • I'll just stick with my PS3 for now..
    However, it's great that USB ethernet is working on it, even tho an ethernet port shoulda been on it in the first place.
    Posted via Android Central App on The Nexus 5
  • Anyone know if it decodes x264 .mkv?
  • Hopefully google will add external app storage in an ota one can only dream Posted via Android Central App
  • The small 8gb of storage is what killed the 8gb 2012 Nexus 7. You would think they might have learned something from that, especially since most apps are twice the size now or even larger. With how cheap flash memory is there is really no excuse to have less than 16gb.
    Maybe Google should stop being douche bags and just add some fucking SD support like the rest of the world if they are going to cheap out on memory. I don't see this 8gb version as anything more than another Nexus Q. If they can't bring amazon instant video to it, this thing will definitely never take off. Hell even Roku, dvd players, and most smart TV's support it. If they fixed those two issues I would replace my Chromecast and Roku with just one device. Who the hell cares about the Ethernet cable thing BTW. Just bye a good router and get over it. That is just a stupid argument unless you stream a lot from a network hard drive and if that's the case buy something else that suits your needs better. Sure that would be nice but really unnecessary for most regular users. Posted via Android Central App
  • I think you are missing the fact that Amazon, Apple and Roku have products in this category all with similiar storage, with Roku being a dual core 512mb device and no mention of storage other than SD. This device competes in this category and sets the standard for other vendors to offer other android devices. Razr will be coming out with a higher end box for gaming, at a higher price.
  • Is there a way you can use a Bluetooth device to get audio out.
  • The USB Ethernet has tweaked my interest. I prefer direct Ethernet connections instead of WiFi. I was hoping there would be a Chromcast with Ethernet by default, though.
  • My PC with XBMC and Yatse on my phone beat the hell out of any home entertainment system.
  • OK, am missing something? Why does everyone else want Ethernet on what is effectively a streaming box? Any decent modern WiFi should be capable of 40-80MB/sec. What can't be done on that kind of connection? Most people probably don't have an Internet connection faster than that. Even those that do, can't surely need gigabit Ethernet. I just don't think anyone actually needs this. Which is probably why Google left it out. Posted via Android Central App
  • I have at least a dozen devices competing for Wi-Fi bandwidth. Why add on to that with a stationary device, it doesn't make sense?!?!?
  • In residential buildings the 2.4ghz band is extremely congested and results in buffering. Even local content buffers, always at around 8:00 p.m. when internet use is at it's highest. 5ghz is empty, but few budget Google devices support it.
  • Luckily this has AC & 5GHz band support, so that won't be an issue for many, those that have it set up too far from the router (outside of 5GHz coverage) are still SOL and better off with Ethernet tho... But in the most common problem scenario for 2.4GHz, apartments, range for 5GHz probably won't be an issue.
  • Think about it. If the router is far enough away, it causes issues streaming high bitrate content. A wired connection is much more reliable. The wired internet connection in my house enters on the 1st floor south, the TV and Nexus Player are ground floor north. That's the opposite side of the house, on a level up. The wifi works OK, but I don't get a full signal. A wired connection offers way more reliability and speed at that distance.
  • PHIL: Is AirDroid blocked as well? That would allow file management (in both directions) and side loading apps on the Player! It should also be able to pull APKs as well.
  • I'm sure this is a dumb question, but how do you sideload without a file explorer?
  • Install ES file explorer from google's on-line play store directly to the NP.
  • This first edition of the nexus player makes good business sense for Google. If they were to add sd support, 32gb,5ghz WiFi,usb HD drive support for a low price, where would the incentive be for third party vendors to produce another android tv device! I'm looking forward to seeing other vendor offerings in this android tv space, if I have to pay a little extra for it for extra spec's, then so be it :) Posted via Android Central App
  • I probably won't use it for gaming, or anything, but it kinda sucks that thinks b still have to be actually stored on the device. You'd awesome that at this point actual storage space on devices wouldn't be so important.
  • What happens when you plug in a usb hub (powered or unpowered externally)?
  • USB Hubs work, I currently have thumb drive, ethernet adapter and keyboard plugged in. I believe the micro port supplies enough power for the devices but best bet is a powered hub.
  • The round design is big turn off for me. Seems like there's a lot of water space inside and out. Posted via the Xperia Z5 Compact
  • just received my nexus player and game controller. time to open this puppy up Rooted & Xposed LG G3
  • How do you access the files on your USB? I have a USB thumb drive connected to my otg, and in ES File Explorer the USB 2002 directory is shown, but I can't access it. It will either lock up, or continue to spin saying Loading. I can't find this directory in any other apps (retroarch, mupen64, etc...) either.
  • It might be that your Card/Thumbdrive is not properly formatted. I remember seeing a pop up that said that only FAT32 and exFAT were supported.
  • Unfortunately, this didn't work for me :(
  • Just a heads up, it appears that if you go to the Play Store Website and click install, some games will allow you to install them to the Nexus Player even though you cannot see them on the Play Store app on the device