The Internet Marketing Driver: Glenn Gabe's goal is to help marketers build powerful and measurable web marketing strategies.

Monday, February 15, 2010

How to Upgrade Your HDTV Firmware [SAMSUNG] – And Get Rid of Annoying Audio and Video Problems

How to upgrade your Samsung HDTV firmware.It’s no secret that HDTV’s have taken off. That’s for good reason, considering the incredible image quality that HD provides. So, as people buy HDTV’s and set up HD service with their cable providers, you might think everyone is extremely happy in TV-land. But running some searches in Google for HDTV audio, video, or image problems shows you that everything isn't perfect. Like many other gadgets and electronic devices, HDTV’s run software (AKA firmware). That software often needs to be upgraded as bugs and other problems are addressed by the manufacturer. Therefore, if you end up running into weird issues with your HDTV, don’t immediately think that your TV is shot. You just might need to upgrade your HDTV’s firmware. And that’s exactly what I’m going to walk you through in this post. If you’re not technical and are afraid of terms like “firmware” or “upgrade”, don’t worry. I think you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to upgrade. Also, I focused on Samsung in this post, but the process should apply to other manufacturers. Definitely check out the support site for your specific TV before making any changes.

Samsung HD Audio Problems
I bought a Samsung HD TV a few years ago, based on researching various manufacturers and models. Samsung received outstanding reviews overall, and was consistently called the innovator in the industry. I now have two Samsung HDTV’s and have been happy for the most part. However, over the past year, one HDTV started giving us audio problems. The audio would drop out and you wouldn’t be able to get it back unless you cycled through the various ports (HDMI2, HDMI3, AV1, etc.) Yes, that got extremely annoying, especially when it started happening multiple times per day.

Placing Blame in the Right Spot
So I did what most people would do. I mistakenly blamed the cable company. :) I switched cable boxes (multiple times), I switched out wires, tested various setups, etc. Nothing helped. For whatever reason, I didn’t think that the TV was the problem (based on having it for a few years and that Samsung had such an outstanding reputation.) But upon further research, I noticed many other people had the same problem. During my research, I also noticed several links to Samsung’s support site to download the latest firmware (which some people claimed would fix strange audio or video problems). After going through the process of upgrading my HDTV’s firmware, the audio problems that we were experiencing were 99% gone. It’s not perfect, but much better than it was. It’s now rare that the audio drops out.

After fixing the problem, I started explaining the situation to friends, family, etc. I noticed that most of the people I was speaking to had no idea you could upgrade your HDTV’s firmware (or how to do it). Based on upgrading my firmware, I had numerous requests to email the instructions for how to complete the upgrade. So instead of emailing dozens of people, I’ve decided to document the process here on my blog. Without further ado, let’s jump in.

How To Upgrade Your HDTV’s Firmware (Step by Step)

Note, you will need an empty USB flash drive to complete the process. The flash drive will be used to transfer the firmware upgrade to your HDTV. If you’re not familiar with USB flash drives, they are inexpensive, fast, and provide various storage capacities. They can be purchased at any electronics retailer and typically start at $10-$15 for 4-8GB of storage.) Here's a link to Google Product Search for USB flash drives.

Finding and Downloading the Right Firmware

1. Visit the support website for your specific manufacturer. I’ll walk you through the Samsung website, since I own Samsung HDTV’s. Visit the site and look for a link for "downloads" or "get support".

The Samsung HDTV Support Website.

2. Enter your HDTV model number. Note, I would always use the exact model number to ensure you download the correct firmware.

3. Once you see the downloads available for your TV, click the link for “firmware” or “download firmware”. Save the file to a directory on your hard drive. The download will probably be either a zipfile or an executable file. You will ultimately need to unzip the file (if it’s a zipfile) and drag the folder or contents of the zipfile to your flash drive. If it’s an executable file, then you just need to drag it to your flash drive (covered in the next step.)

Downloading the correct firmware upgrade for your HDTV.

4. Insert your USB flash drive into an open USB port on your computer. It should show up as another drive (in My Computer or Windows Explorer). Drag the file you downloaded to your USB flash drive. If you downloaded an executable file, then just drag that file to your flash drive. If you downloaded a zipfile, you might want to unzip it prior to dragging the files to your flash drive.

USB Flash Drive.
USB Flash Drive in Windows Explorer.

5. Once you transfer the executable file to your flash drive, double click the file to extract the folders necessary for the installation. This will place the necessary files on your USB flash drive. You will probably see a new folder or two after executing the file. Note, it’s recommended that you use a blank USB flash drive. If you have files already on the drive, I would clear them out prior to going through this process.

Installing the Firmware Upgrade on Your HDTV

6. Connect your USB flash drive to the USB port on your TV. For my TV, this was located on the back panel of the TV and was labeled “Wiselink”.


7. This next step definitely depends on your manufacturer and model of TV. Use the TV’s remote (not your cable remote), and access the main menu. For my TV, I simply clicked the “Menu” button on the remote. Scroll down to the “Setup” tab and then find the option for “Software Upgrade” or “SW Upgrade”. When you select “SW Upgrade”, choose the option for “USB” (which was the only option I had). If you downloaded the correct firmware for your specific TV, then you will be prompted to install the upgrade. If you proceed, then you should see the firmware upgrade being installed.

HDTV Menu to Access Software Upgrade via USB

Note, DO NOT DISCONNECT THE USB DRIVE while the installation is taking place. Doing so could cause serious problems with your HDTV (like corrupting your firmware or damaging your TV hardware).

The TV should automatically turn off and then back on after the install is complete. Once the TV turns back on, you should be good to go.

Congratulations, you just upgraded your firmware. :)

Are You Ready to Upgrade?
So there you have it. If you are experiencing technical issues with your HDTV, don’t start shopping for a new model just yet. Instead, it could be that you need to upgrade the TV’s firmware (which is pretty straight forward and shouldn’t take you very long to complete). Also, if you experience any problems or have questions about the upgrade, definitely contact your manufacturer’s technical support. They can make sure you have the right firmware version for your specific TV.

Happy viewing.


{Disclaimer: I highly recommend contacting your TV manufacturer's technical support team prior to upgrading your firmware. I am not responsible for any technical problems or issues you experience during the upgrade.}

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Domain Strategy and SEO – Build Strength in Natural Search While Minimizing Security Risks

Domain Strategy and SEO.Do you know how many domains your company or clients are using? Are they building SEO power to one domain or splitting that power across ten? Do they use an excessive amount of subdomains or are they siloing content on their core website? From a security standpont, is there sensitive content sitting on test servers freely available to competitors? These are all important questions to explore, and how you address these questions can end up having a strong impact on your SEO efforts.

Don’t Overlook Domain Strategy
I’ve written extensively about SEO technical audits here on my blog, and how I think they provide the most SEO bang for your buck. There are a lot of important issues you can identify when performing an audit, including problems with indexation, canonicalization, navigation and internal linking, sitemaps, content optimization, etc. But there’s another important aspect to technical audits that is sometimes overlooked – Domain Strategy. Developing a solid domain strategy helps build the foundation for your overall SEO efforts. For example, would you rather have twelve domains with a few thousand inbound links per domain or one domain with 25K inbound links? Should your blog be hosted on your core domain or be on its own domain? Are you using 35 subdomains to organize content? Do you even need to use subdomains?

Don’t skip domain strategy. It’s too important to ignore. :)

And that’s why it’s the focus of my latest post on Search Engine Journal. I cover what domain strategy is, why it’s important, and I provide real-word situations I’ve come across during audits where developing a domain strategy was desperately needed. So head over to Search Engine Journal and read my post now! If you have comments or questions, feel free to post them either on Search Engine Journal or back here on my blog.

Domain Strategy – A Critical Component to SEO Technical Audits


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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Say Cheese Please - How The Right Marketing Campaign About Lactose Intolerance Could Add $1.8 Billion To The Cheese Industry Annually

Marketing lactose free cheese in the United States.Hi. My name is Glenn Gabe and I’m lactose intolerant. That’s right, me and about 40 million other Americans. Although it’s not the worst thing that can happen to you, it’s definitely a bit of a downer. I was 32 when I figured out that I was lactose intolerant, and that’s also when I learned how much of a nuisance it was to exclude certain foods from my diet. And those foods were some of my favorite things to eat, including milk, cheese, pizza, ice cream, to just name a few. Cheese, in particular, is in so many foods and meals that you eat on a regular basis, that it’s almost impossible to avoid. Now, that’s assuming that I really do have to avoid cheese. More on that shortly.

What is Lactose Intolerance?
For those of you not that familiar with lactose intolerance, here’s a quick rundown. Lactose is the sugar found in milk. Lactase is the enzyme that your body produces to break down lactose. Lactose intolerant people don’t produce enough lactase to break down the lactose they ingest. And if it’s not broken down, it causes problems (to varying degrees). For most people the symptoms aren’t horrible, but can be more of an annoyance. Since milk is a core ingredient of cheese, you would think that cheese would cause serious problems for lactose intolerant people. Not so fast...

Cabot is Sharp (And I Mean Smart)
I was making lunch about a month ago when it happened. I’m typically stuck using some flimsy science cheese for my sandwiches or choosing from the anemic selection of lactose free cheeses available. That day my wife ended up taking out her favorite cheese, which is Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar. By the way, that’s like dangling a gourmet sandwich in front of a person that’s been stranded on an island for 5 years. :) After a quick glance at the cheese, I wiped the drool from my face and went back to my science project, I mean lunch. That was until my wife glanced at the side of the Cabot packaging. She noticed a small message on the side of the package that read “Lactose FREE”. Huh? I dropped my sandwich on the floor and ran over. Was this a mistake? Are they messing with me? I checked to make sure I wasn’t being punk’d and then I started doing some research.

Cabot's Packaging Promotes Lactose Free Cheese:
Cabot Labeling Showing Lactose Free Cheese.

After doing some searches, I couldn’t believe what I was reading… It ends up that MOST aged cheeses are lactose free. From what I gather, the aging process yields cheese with either very low amounts of lactose or 0 grams of lactose. That includes cheddar, swiss, romano, provolone, etc. Needless to say, I was ridiculously excited. I’m not sure if all the cheeses listed have 0 grams of lactose, but most have such a low amount that they cause no problems for lactose intolerant people.

Where Were The Cheese Companies?
Then it hit me…why in the world aren’t cheese companies promoting this? Is there some reason they don’t want people to buy more of their cheese? Why didn’t I know about this? And why doesn’t the greater lactose intolerant community know more about this? I know quite a few people that are lactose intolerant, and I’m convinced that few of them actually know what they can and cannot eat! While doing my research, most of the search results were to forums and question and answer sites where people like me were asking questions about lactose free foods. Almost none of the major players in cheese ranked for the topic. Finlandia did have a page about how its cheeses were naturally lactose free, which is great, but I think more needs to be done…

The Revenue Implications of Smart Marketing
I couldn’t help but think of the massive revenue impact of effectively promoting this message to targeted people. How could cheese marketers get the word out via a number of channels?

A Target Market of 40 million lactose intolerant people…
I don’t know about you, but a target market of between 30 and 50 million lactose intolerant people provides a pretty darn good opportunity. And the fact that many of those people are dying to eat the foods they once loved (like cheese) makes it even a stronger opportunity. If cheese manufacturers or the cheese industry, decided to launch a thorough marketing and education campaign, I can only think they would strike gold. Simply getting the word out that most cheeses are low in lactose, and many are lactose free, could be a windfall for the cheese industry. There’s actually nothing to sell… your target market wants to eat cheese. They just can’t eat it (or so they think). A well-crafted campaign combining TV, Viral Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Search Marketing, Blogger Outreach, etc. could be huge for the cheese industry. It could be a cheese extravaganza!

Here’s an example of how simple it could be given the desperate eating state of most lactose intolerant people are. Jim and Laura work together:

Jim: Hey Laura, you can’t eat cheese, right?
Laura: Yes, unfortunately I’m lactose intolerant… Are you rubbing it in?
Jim: No, I just saw a video on YouTube explaining that most cheeses are low in lactose and many have no lactose at all… You should check it out.
Laura: WHAT?? Get out of my way! {She tackles Jim to get at his computer, clicks play on YouTube and shoots out the door to the store to buy 16 blocks of aged cheese.}

Revenue Lift: Now That’s A Lot of Cheddar
Let’s do the math. If you reached even 25% of lactose intolerant people in the United States, and they ended up spending an additional $15 per month on cheese, then you are looking at a lift of $1.8 billion per year. That’s a lot of cheddar, pun intended. :)

40 million lactose intolerant people in the US
25% = 10 million people
10 million x $15 per month = $150 million per month
$150 million per month x 12 months = $1.8 billion per year in additional revenue

Moving Forward
If I ran marketing for a cheese company and I was looking for ways to increase revenue, I would launch a killer campaign that engages the lactose intolerant market. Why try and get a .5% lift from the people who already buy and eat cheese when you can get a much greater lift from people that are dying to eat cheese, but just THINK that they can’t.

Now that would be sharp. :)


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