To USB or Not to USB


USB 3.0 Movie Kiosk

On my way to a meeting in Nebraska, followed by a meeting in Oklahoma, I passed through an airport with a USB 3.0 Movie Kiosk.


You can buy a recently released movie, transfer it to a USB 3.0 flash drive, and have your movie in seconds.



You might think, “Why Not use WiFi?”

It turns out that the kiosk supports WiFi also, but USB 3.0 is about 20x faster at 3000 megabits per second, versus maybe 150 megabits per second if you have a WiFi-N radio (in most PCs in the past 2-3 years).

  USB 3.0
Flash Drive
WiFi-N USB 2.0
Flash Drive
Data Rate 3000-4000 Megabits per sec Up to 150 Megabits per second 300-350 Megabits per sec
Pros Transfer a 4GB movie in less than 1 minute

USB 3.0 Flash Drives faster than USB 2.0 Flash drives*

On most laptops in the past 3 years Everywhere
Cons On new PCs Drains your battery to run the WiFi for 20 minutes or more. Slower than USB 3.0

So you have the option of sticking a USB 3.0 flash drive into the USB 3.0 port and waiting a minute, or using WiFi, draining your battery, and hanging around for 20 minutes (or more).

So I transfer the movie to my drive, plug the drive to my PC, and transfer the movie to my PC, and because it is so fast, the power drain on the PC is much less than for WiFi.  This is likely true also for USB 2.0 since it is still faster, and isn’t wireless.


A couple of things: You need an special software on the PC to play the movie. This is a one time download.  I can imagine this would be an App on a Android phone or tablet.

By the way, I mentioned a USB 3.0 Movie Kiosk back in December 2012 here where I outline why you shouldn’t pirate.

Kiosk and Tablet

We can imagine a time when you might take your Android Phone with USB 3.0, plug it into this USB port for the movie transfer .

  • The phone looks like a storage device, you download the movie to your device.
  • You download an app for the authorization.
  • This would require zero battery drain, and in fact you could charge your phone at the same time. (Maybe even use USB Power Delivery for faster charging)



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Final USB Flash Drive Concern

Plugging my USB 3.0 Flash Drive into any port I find when I land in a airport might not be a great idea.

Since other people share this kiosk, it’s always possible that the kiosk has a virus, it will transfer to my flash drive and to my PC.

Exercising good USB 3.0 Flash Drive hygiene requires I have good, up to date Virus Protection on my PC.


There is so much more I could do with this idea, but I just couldn’t go there.

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