I have a Western Digital MyBook external network hard drive connected to my router and part of my wireless network. I can access it from my laptop (Windows 7) and my phone (Samsung galaxy S4) and my partner's iPad. I am able to view photos and play music/movies directly on all these devices. The way I do that is by navigating to the hard drive using a file manager then viewing or playing the files by the appropriate software 'live' (without copy and paste at all). All the data is on the network hard drive and I play them locally on each device remotely. For example on my phone I use ES File Explorer to connect to my hard drive through an SMB connection, then I navigate the folder structure to a video file and play that video file using MX Player. It is so simple and it works immediately with no lag problem.
My question is how do I use that same technique to connect my Samsung TV? It has both USB and HDMI inputs but I don't know how to connect it. It doesn't have wireless networking, so I'm sure I'm going to need a wireless component attached to it (maybe through USB?). My TV is capable of viewing photos and playing music/movies from a USB drive, but that requires copying them on the USB drive first by connecting it to my laptop and copying the files wirelessly. This takes a long time and is tedious to do every time I want to view or watch anything. Another option is to purchase a large capacity external hard drive and fill it with all my files and attached directly to my TV through USB, but I feel this is stupid option since I already have a large capacity hard drive with all my media files on it. It is networked through cable ethernet and works like a central network storage device to open/save media files from any device in my home network.
I searched the internet but all solutions I find all about setting up a media server which sounds complex and also require having a dedicated desktop device attached to the TV. I'm not a tech expert, but I think there should be something like a USB drive that can connect to my TV (either through USB or HDMI) that can connect to my wireless network and be capable of playing media files. Does such a device exist? If so, what is it called?
Sorry if I'm taking too long to explain my problem but English is not my native language.