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July 08, 2016

3 Tips for Seamless USB Presentations at Trade Shows

Cory Preis, Account Executive
Usb Drives

We live in a world where the convenience of technology makes our fast-paced lives more comfortable. Then again, we often use this convenience to shoot ourselves in the foot. For example, when a USB drive is plugged directly into a TV and is expected to play a seamless presentation, this can be the most frustrating and time consuming “convenience” in your exhibit space.

Laptops and DVD players can be problematic, as they require additional power, wire management, and are much larger to conceal than a USB drive. A USB drive, in theory, is “plug and play.” I agree with the plug part, although not always the play.

So what can you do to make these little tech devils actually be the convenience you expect them to be?


PowerPoint is a Microsoft product and requires proprietary software that does not come installed on smart TV’s. You’ll need a laptop with the appropriate Microsoft software or you will have no content to display. Alternatively, you can use the following formats:

  • Powerful 1080p Video Player: MKV, AVI, TS/TP, MP4/M4V (up to 4GB in size), MOV, VOB, RM, M2TS, and WMV
  • Wide Range Video Codec Support: H.264/AVC, VC-1, MPEG1/2/4, DivX/Xvid, and Real Video
  • Audio Format Support: MP3, WMA, OGG, FLAC, APE, and AAC
  • Ultra-portable compact design: only 3" x 2.3" x 0.6"
  • USB Drives, USB Hard Drives, SD/SDHC Flash Memory Cards, MBR FAT32, and NTFS file systems up to 2TB


Be proactive. Test the exact USB stick on the exact TV you will use at the show. If your content is not ready to test on the TV at staging, send a media playing device, such as a Micca or KDLINKS media player. These portable multimedia players are likely compatible with more file formats than the TV itself. They also run through the HDMI port, so the device is doing all the work and eliminating compatibility issues with the TV and USB.


If you run into looping issues, where you have a long gap between the end and beginning or a text box pops up in the same spot, try changing the TV mode by going to the display advanced settings. Usually there are only two choices; store demo mode and home mode. Try both to determine which one is most compatible with your file format. An external media player can also help mitigate these challenges.

Sometimes the quick and easy technology conveniences we’ve grown accustomed to bring unplanned challenges if we aren’t prepared. Keep a mental note of these simple USB drive tips when you plan your next trade show. They can save you lots of time and frustration, and ensure your show gets off to a good start.

About TradeTec:

Founded in Chicago in 1999, Skyline TradeTec produces innovative trade show exhibits with unmatched customer service and a promise of NO POST SHOW BILLING™ for clients. As an endorsed provider of Skyline products, TradeTec offers the highest quality modular exhibits and portable displays, as well as custom and hybrid solutions. Skyline TradeTec has 6 locations in 5 states, has served over 6,000 clients, and has completed over 50,000 projects worldwide. Learn more about TradeTec at SkylineTradeTec.com.