example: I have the lord of the rings trilogy 1080p in .mkv files that are combined like 60GB of Hard drive space. I don't know if its better to get a USB stick and just plug it into my TV or if I should transfer the files to my laptop and use an HDMI cable to plug in from laptop to TV.
I keep hearing about how smart TVs can connect remotely to your PC's hardrive and play it that way but I just want to know what provides the best quality.
If the picture quality is the primary thing then probably connecting a USB drive to the TV is the best. The problem with this is the TV may not have the codecs for playing the .mkv files that you have. You can check the owners manual or just try it. Some Bluray players have USB that can be used like this and handle mkv files.
Same problem may apply for playback over the network into the TV.
You can use your laptop or a media box like the Western Digital to play these files and should get fine quality from both if the laptop video is good with 1080p.
Both of these could be used to stream from your PC but the network may not be happy with the 1080p material.