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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”.

HDTV USB Port.

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.

GG

{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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2 Comments:

  • At 7:48 PM, Blogger Gary Mc Keon said…

    Thanks. I had the same problems. I upgraded the firmware and all appears to be well. :)

     
  • At 7:59 PM, Blogger Glenn Gabe said…

    Thanks Gary. I'm glad you were able to resolve the problem. It's amazing what a quick upgrade can do. :)

    GG

     
  • At 6:58 AM, Blogger Anonymous said…

    Wow. You wrote a phenomenal step-by-step guide. Thank you very much for your help. I currently have audio problems when I try to use my DVD player with my new Samsung LED TV. Unfortunately, the updated firmware did not help.

     
  • At 10:07 AM, Blogger Glenn Gabe said…

    Hey, thanks. I'm glad you liked the tutorial. I recently ran into more issues with my Samsung HDTV and decided to call a specialist in. After checking out my TV, they said the computer board was bad. After having it replaced, everything is like brand new.

    I would have a repairman take a look. It might cost you some money for the analysis, but it's well worth it if they fix the annoying problems... I'll probably never buy another Samsung, though.

    GG

     

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