I have a low-powered networked Ubuntu pc next to my tv. I also have a Humax PVR. The PVR has an option to record to a USB drive instead of its internal disk.

I'd like recording to be accessible on the network so I was wondering if it's possible to get a USB male-to-male (A-to-A) lead, connect Ubuntu to PVR and have Ubuntu pretend to be a USB disk.

I've see this the other way around. The Nokia N8** tablets were natively just seen as disks but with some hacking could be USB hosts.

One side-note: I have other USB devices, plugged into the Ubuntu machine, that need to to work as usual.

Edit: I'm open to hardware solutions but I'd rather not have to buy a NAS that has USB and Ethernet to sit in the middle. Is a USB File Transfer Cable (or similar) an option?

  • As far as I know the commercial PVR's available have usb as a service port for programming/flashing firmware not so much for storage provisions.
    – Chris
    Aug 31, 2010 at 12:53
  • I know that this one does support external drives. It's an advertised feature.
    – Oli
    Aug 31, 2010 at 13:05
  • You may 'Burn' your devices.
    – totti
    Feb 1, 2013 at 8:05

2 Answers 2


I'm afraid that simply isn't possible. The N**0 devices had special circuitry in them that allowed them to do this (I had an adapter I could use to plug my flash drive into my N800 - it was awesome.), read up on USB On The Go if you're interested. Normal USB controllers, alas, cannot be set to do this. It is possible that could get a NAS with USB, which would perform as you like. It looks like certain plug computers can do it as well. But what you describe, with your hardware, is impossible (To the best of my knowledge). Sorry!

  • Yep, most USB chips in computers are host only! Thous you cannot use it as an USB device. This is afaik because the initiation of a USB device is sent by the controller and not the OS. Aug 31, 2010 at 13:37
  • This could get more attention on SuperUser.se, especially for the hardware parts of this question.
    – nanofarad
    Jul 6, 2012 at 23:28

USB A-A cables are against the standard and will connect the two power supplies together and probably fry one or both connected systems.

Remember, in USB power is connected FIRST, then data.

(That being said, I do have one in my possession; it's the cable to an old wifi dongle. It is not a USB transfer cable - those have a box in the middle that handles the wiring properly. It's a true, against the standard A-A cable.)

  • 1
    There are USB "transfer" cables with a little box in the middle. They may work but I only see them advertised for Windows.
    – Broam
    Aug 31, 2010 at 17:48
  • 1
    +1 for warning about frying - never a fun thing Aug 31, 2010 at 18:31

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