Lessons Learned From A TV Appearance

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Since launching my first book Apprentice to Business ACE, I have been consistently profiled in the media. It’s been a fantastic vehicle to raise my profile, enhance my credibility and build my brand. Just recently I was invited on to Sky Business News and had the opportunity to answer viewer’s questions on branding and PR for small business. So I would like to share some lessons I learned from my TV appearance.

You Know Your stuff

TV hosts and producers don’t want to give you too much information about the questions. Why? Because they don’t want you to sound stilted and rehearsed when you give answers. You are generally there because you are the expert (or say you are) on that particular subject and because you do know your subject better than anyone else you will be able to answer questions spontaneously.

But you should think about some possible questions they may ask and prepare answers beforehand. Ask your partner or a friend to ask you a few questions and have a rehearsal ‘ practice. You can find out what angle are they taking? What are they expecting from you ‘ what are the question areas?

Research

Watch the program beforehand to get a feel for the type of show it is if you can. At least look up the website and perhaps view a video clip or listen to a podcast. Find out as much as you can about the program on which you’re being asked to appear ‘ is it live or pre-recorded? Is the audience completely general, or is it targeted at housewives or business people? Think about the points you could make which are most interesting, useful and relevant to that particular audience.

Arrive early so you can meet and chat with other guests, hosts, producers to feel a bit more comfortable and familiarise yourself with the surroundings.

Get to the Point

Do try and get to the main point of your answer quickly without wafting on. A short, sharp, interesting point works best in the media especially for television and will be easier for viewers to remember. If you don’t give enough information the interviewer will simply ask a follow-up question.

If you have something to promote (such as a book) keep it in mind and look for an opportunity to get your point across. All well and good being great media “talent” but you could use the opportunity to at least promote your business name. Try and be in control and use every opportunity to get your message across.

Have Something to Say

Be aware of the latest news, gossip or current affairs stories particularly that relate to your topic. Read the papers, listen to radio and be as informed as you can because you never know what might come up during the interview. If there are controversial issues in your area of expertise, work out where you stand, and what you should say. It is better to respond rather than say “no comment”. Don’t be afraid to put your point of view across. If you don’t know the answer, say so.

Make It Interesting and Descriptive

Make your answers more memorable by using real stories and descriptive words. Cut through the clutter with words that paint a picture in the mind of the listener. As an example in a radio interview I did, I told a story about a young journalist interviewing a well know media personality and used the word “hyper-bowl”, the media identity kindly corrected her and said the word is pronounced “hyper-bo-lee”. We made it a fun, interesting reference to the issue being discussed.

Friendly and Attentive

Remember that what you’re really doing is having a conversation. Listen to the interviewer’s questions. The host will appreciate your attentiveness. Use the interviewer’s name to make it more personable when answering questions.

If you’re doing an interview face-to-face use eye contact and try and interest the interviewer in what you’re talking about rather than thinking ‘ do I sound OK ‘ do I look alright on TV. If your eyes flicker around during a TV interview, you look uncomfortable, and possibly a bit shifty. If you keep your eye-line focused on the interviewer, you will come over as being in command of your subject. Just try and relax and take your time. And remember to smile, you will look and sound a lot friendlier.

Animation and Gestures

Be bright and buoyant in your answers. You need to be slightly more animated and larger than life. Pep up your delivery so that it is energetic and enthusiastic, rather than dull and low-key. Television is entertainment after all and broadcasting is a performance! The more engaging you appear the more interested and involved the audience will feel. It’s perfectly okay to move, rather than sitting stiffly and looking unnatural. Just be aware of exaggerated movements or unconscious movements such as flicking your hair or tapping your fingers. If you always ‘talk’ with your hands, like I do, that’s okay; just don’t over do it. Also be aware of knocking your microphone, movement or other sounds that may interfere. Look & Sound Good

Always take time to warm up your voice. You will come across as more articulate and authoritative. It will help prevent a “frog in the throat” during the interview. Sip room temperature water before and during the interview. Never drink anything too hot or cold and nothing with milk in it otherwise you’ll be constantly clearing your throat.

Dress well and look your best.

Take your cue from the presenters on the show you’re appearing on. Perhaps it’s business casual for a morning show or more business corporate for a news show. Wear make-up. OK guys maybe just a touch of powder to eliminate shine.

If you stumble, or slip-up, or use the wrong persons name like I did during my interview, just forget about it and move on. Even top TV presenters make mistakes.

Did I manage all of the above in my interview? Probably not. But the key is to relax and enjoy the interview as much as possible ‘ after all it is your opportunity to promote your business, product or service and hopefully raise your profile and profits.

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How to Set Up the Multi-Media TV

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This article will explain how to connect your PC to a Big Screen TV, and experience the ultimate in HD picture and HD sound, using the existing PC outputs. The set up is actually very simple, and will most likely only require an additional minimal purchase of an HDMI cable to connect the PC to the TV. The HDMI (High Definition Modular Interface) cable will carry both HD sound and picture to your TV.

Before you begin, you will need to verify that the Motherboard on your PC has an outlet to plug in a second display. Most of the newer motherboards contain both VGA and HDMI outputs on the same board. You will also need to verify that your TV has an HDMI input.

To complete the installation, first install (1) end of the HDMI cable into the HDMI output on the back of the PC. Plug the other end of the HDMI cable into the HDMI Input on the big screen TV. Then, configure your PC for using dual monitors. To configure your PC using the MS -Vista O.S., Click on the Vista Start Logo, Click on Control Panel. Click on Personalization, Click on Adjust screen resolution. You should now see the Display Settings window with the existing computer monitor (labeled 1), and a second smaller monitor (labeled 2).

Located immediately below the monitor icons, you will see the drop-down selector box with both monitors listed. By default the number (2) monitor will be the Big Screen TV. Immediately below the selector, check the (2) boxes, This is my main monitor, and extend the desktop on to this monitor. Click OK and Close the window.

Now for an example, resize your I.E. browser window, so it is about half the size of your computer screen. Grab the top of the browser window, and drag it over to the other monitor. After dragging the window, you should now see the I.E. browser window open on your other screen(TV). Now the fun part! Go to one the new free movie sites like Hulu, and now you can watch the show on your big screen TV courtesy of your PC.

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Online TV – How Does Online TV Work?

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Everyone loves TV right? Things have certainly come a lot in leaps and bounds since the old TV was invented.

Why not watch TV online? Not just TV from your area, not even regular cable TV, but be able to get TV from all over the world. Think about being able to use the power of the internet and have 2000, 3000 or even over 4,000 channels straight to your computer at home or even work.

Well that’s what is happening today. Online TV works like regular old TV. Broadcasters for regular TV put out their signal and your antenna at home picks up the signal and there you have it, you have TV ( that was a very simple version ). Well online TV works the same way. There are so many channels from around the world and all these companies are realizing that the internet is where they need to put their product.

The power of broadband and some nifty software can enable people like your self to be able to watch your favorite sports events live ( and not pay for pay per view ) you can also watch all your favorite movies & TV shows and basically keep up to date with anything that is going on in the world.

To recap, online TV works pretty much the same way as normal TV does. Broadcasters are now using the internet as another way to broadcast their channels, and for us it is a great opportunity to take advantage of. Really the software that has been made to put all these channels together in one place is what really make online TV work well.

As internet connections get faster and, eventually you will see a PC hooked up to the family flat screen and everyone watching online TV.

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Why Do We Need Cable TV Today?

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During our younger years, we are educated by our parents about the needs and wants. If you really forgot about the meaning of both needs and wants, we will try to review this for our future and existing customers or subscribers in the world of cable television. When we speak of the need, it is something that you give importance to a person, thing or anything that surrounds you. Some of the good examples of a need are food, clothing, shelter, education and medicine. These are very common for all kinds of customers or subscribers around the world.

On the other hand, a want is something that has no importance or purpose to a person, place, or thing. In this way, you are giving or obtaining an item that is not really important in your daily life. A good example for this situation would be a Sony PSP. It is a portable gaming platform that allows you to play games in a real high quality mode. You can play any time you want, but it’s not that important. It is considered as a want, because it is not really needed for your daily life. However, we need something that can make a living for ourselves.

Food and drinks can make a living for all of us. It is considered to be our body’s energy source, and it fuels our way to live. Without them, we will not live longer. Now we know about the different needs and wants in our daily lives, let’s try to relate this with cable TV. There are customers who think that cable or satellite TV is a need, while others say it’s a want. Why do we need cable TV for the customers and subscribers? First of all, cable TV is an appliance that gives us pure entertainment at home or any place we want to watch TV.

There are lots of reasons that cable or satellite TV is considered a need, and there’s no question about it. The first reason would be pure entertainment. Everybody loves to be entertained, especially at home. It is also good for those who are stressful at their workplace. If you work around the clock for 8 hours a day, stress will arrive after work. We understand that being a stressful person is not healthy, and we need something to get you out of stress. Cable television is one of the reasons that a customer or subscriber is free from stress.

It gives them a lot of fun and relaxation in watching their favorite TV shows at home. Best of all, it is considered to be an alternative medicine of boredom. Speaking of boredom, it is one reason that customers or subscribers need cable or satellite television for good. Aside from being stressful, cable or satellite television will get you out from boredom. It is really sad that you always feel bored at home, doing nothing for a cause. This is where customers or subscribers are trying to get their hands on a cable or satellite TV to give them non-stop entertainment at home.

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Western Digital WD Media Center

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The Western Digital WD Media Center can play and store various types of movies, music and other media formats on its 1 terabyte media center. It lets you watch media on your TV or any computer in your home in high definition with the WD TV Live Hub media center in its hard drive.

You can even watch old movies or music in your collection, live streaming music and videos in full HD.

The interface is user friendly and easy to understand, even a child or someone who isn’t tech savvy can use it.

The Western Digital WD Media Center allows you to access various functions and websites online like Blockbuster, Facebook, Netflix, Pandora, and On Demand among others. The unit is very light and only weighs 1.2 pounds and measures 7.8 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches.

Pros

What users love about this unit is that it lets you download or view different media in various formats. The manual is also known to be very helpful. You can read the manual online too if you lose the printed version.

The firmware updates frequently and you get picture perfect movies either from your personal collection or online. It’s the best device to watch Netflix videos online.

Cons

The Western Digital WD Media Center is Wi-Fi ready but doesn’t come with the proper accessories to use it Wi-Fi. You would have to spend more money getting a USB Wi-Fi adapter to make it wireless. In the meantime, you would have to buy cables to connect it to your PC and position it right next to the computer or internet connection along with your TV.

Another common complaint is the unresponsive customer service. If you run into problems it might take days or weeks to get help from customer service. Other users also say that it is easier and faster to copy files on a separate USB than on the Western Digital WD Media Center.

People who have had an Apple TV say that the Apple is easier to set up and comes with a built in Wi-Fi. The remote control is also flimsy and sometimes unresponsive or slow to respond. The weird thing is the remote control doesn’t have a volume control.

Generally, most users like the Western Digital WD Media Center for its versatility and ability to play or store various media formats. It can also play regular DVDs and Blu-rays if you download them in advance. The device also remains silent throughout use unlike some media players that produce annoying sound. You can also connect your iPod to it and listen to music stored in your iPod.

The Western Digital WD Media Center is easy to use. Most people who complain about some quirks simply don’t know how to use it. Advice: read the manual it’s very simple to understand and quite useful.

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The Indian Media Fraternity

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The Indian media fraternity comprises of several components. These include newspapers, magazines, tabloids, TV, radio and the internet. Of late, internet has witnessed the most amounts of investments and is being called the sunrise sector of Indian media. Today, almost all news can be got instantly from the internet as and when they happen. News in India is mostly made up of the day to day happenings of the Indian community as well as all over the world.

Indian media has existed in the country ever since the 18th century. Radio was first introduced by the British and news broadcast stared started almost immediately. Notable Indian luminaries contributed to the growth of Indian radio and this important component of Indian media has been around for almost a century now.

A recent study on the media of India has revealed that over a 100 million daily newspapers were bought in the country. This has made India the second largest newspaper market in the world. In fact, the Indian news industry has grown hugely over the last decade. This is partly because of the fact that TV has made huge inroads in the house of the average Indian. There are more than 1400 companies in the country today that’s making TV sets. This, on its part, has made India the fourth largest TV market. This is mostly stemmed from the fact that the Indian media operates in country that has a huge population. Besides the print and electronic media, internet has gained immense ground, as already said, and has reached almost every nook and corner of the country. Online news has emerged as a quick and efficient method of catering news in the Indian media industry.

Like most other countries, news in Indian media is almost instantaneously catered to the audience via the TV channels. This enables the media of India to reach out to the largest possible audience at one go.

Another important facet of the media of India is the publication of vernacular newspapers. India has linguistic states and each state has several vernacular newspapers catering news, views, information and opinion of local and regional interest to people of that particular state. Many states have their local English dailies as well that mostly caters to the urban and the semi-urban class.

Since the early and the mid-1990s, radio in India has been mostly powered by the FM channels. The FM transmissions transformed the radio from a fading media to a really vibrant one. The FM transmission is mostly entertainment oriented although the government-run stations broadcasts news and information of social importance.

It can be said sans any doubt that the media of India would take a quantum leap in the coming years powered by the internet and TV.

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Panasonic Plasma TV – 58 Inch Models

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Panasonic is one of the leading producers of televisions on the market. One type that is only replicated by only one other manufacturer, Samsung, is the Panasonic 58 Inch Plasma TV. Only two manufacturers actually produce the 58 inch models. This article will take a peek at the top of the line newest models of Plasma Televisions, specifically Panasonic Plasma 58 inch models. I will also review an older model as well.

Panasonic VIERA S1 Series TC-P58S1 58-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV

Highlights: Perfect for sports and movies, the Panasonic Viera S1 also comes with a game mode that enhances the picture when connected to a gaming system such as a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360. Panasonic introduced a new technology called Neo PDP which allows for 1080 lines of resolution even during fast motion sequences. There is an SD Card slot for viewing photos right on the Plasma TV. 1080p Full HD video, 40,000:1 contrast ratio, 16:9 viewing and it weighs 112 pounds. It has a digital audio output, and also comes with Viera Link which allows you to easily connect your devices like video cameras and other peripherals directly to your Panasonic Plasma TV.

Panasonic TC P58V10 – 58″ plasma TV – widescreen – 1080p (FullHD)

Highlights: The Panasonic TC P58V10 is a 58 inch Panasonic model plasma television that comes with full hd 1080p video playback. One of the neatest features is that the plasma TV itself comes internet ready. So you can have access to internet media through a feature called Viera Cast. You can play video from services such as videos, photos, weather and stock information through the internet web interface that is built into the TV. Now enjoy services like YouTube, Amazon Video, and Picasa without having to access or log on to your home computer. 40,000:1 Native contrast ratio, this is a THX certified TV so it will reproduce cinematic images exactly as the film was originally produced. It will also display cinematic images at 24 frames per second, and has a filter to eliminate the flicker effect.

Panasonic Viera TH-58PZ800U 58-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV

The Panasonic TH-58PZ800U Viera is one of the earlier models of Viera and has really become affordable in the last year. This particular model of Panasonic plasma tv has a high rating as it earned a CNET Editor’s Choice Award in October of 2008 for one of the best plasma tvs out on the market. Normally I would just focus on the newer models, but this plasma deserved mention. Great features at a great price. Originally this TV would have cost around $3,800, and only after a year on the market it is available for half that price, sometimes even lower. I found several new in the box on Amazon for around $1500.

Highlights: Native contrast ratio 30,000:1, and a Dynamic contrast ratio up to 1,000,000:1. Anti-reflective filter for greater viewing angle in different lighting. This plasma also has the built in SD card slot for viewing photos and more just like the newer models of Panasonic. HDMI 1.3, and 24p reduction of the flicker effect when playing cinematic features. This TV is also THX certified like the newer high end Panasonic, and also comes with Game Mode. You are really getting a lot for your money at this point, without sacrificing too much.

Accessory – Digital Media Player

As a side note, one of the most exciting groups of accessories to come out this year and a great addition to any home theater or Plasma TV are Digital Media Players. These devices allow you to hard wire, or stream wirelessly from your home computer to your high definition television. This gives you access to your entire media collection right in your living room or media room. As an example, there is a digital media player called the Patriot Media Player, that comes with wireless that lets you install an internal hard drive on it to digitally store your home DVD collection, giving you access anywhere you go. You can also stream services like YouTube and other online content.

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Spokane TV Stations: From Analog to Digital

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Spokane TV stations are broadcast companies in Spokane Washington that transmits programs over a television (medium). The most recent technology promotes that broadcast signals will be switched to the new digital signal. There are a number of well-known TV stations in Spokane which is already broadcasting digitally. So it exactly means that they will all switch off the analog signals by next year. When switched to this latest innovation, viewers will discover that stations are able to add auxiliary channels.

Here is a list of Spokane’s TV stations that serves the Spokane television market provided with their corresponding channels:

  • KREM Channel 2

KREM Channel 2 is one of the television stations in Spokane, WA which serves the Spokane television market. This TV station is located in 4103 South Regal Street Spokane, WA 99223. The programming of the station is run by the CBS network. KREM operates with 893 kilowatts of power and is owned by the Belo Corporation.

  • KXLY Channel 4

KXLY is a television station which runs programming from the ABC network. KXLY is a digital full-power television station that operates with 23.3 kilowatts of power and is owned by Spokane Television Group, a subsidiary of Morgan Murphy Media.

  • KHQ Channel 6

This TV station has just completed its installation and testing of a new digital antenna to greatly improve the station’s signal strength last week. The station runs programming from the NBC network and operates 45.1 kilowatts of power. The station is owned by The KHQ Television Group, a subsidiary of Cowles Publishing Company, which owns The Spokesman-Review newspaper.

  • KSPS Channel 7

This TV station which broadcasts three channels, including channels 8 and 44 has modified its digital frequencies. This change will be effective next year. The station runs programming from the PBS network and operates with 21.6 kilowatts of power. KSPS Channel is owned by Spokane Public Schools.

  • KWSU Channel 10

KWSU is a television station in Pullman which runs programming from the PBS network. KWSU with 6.2 kilowatts of power and is owned by Washington State University.

  • KSKN Channel 22

KSKN is a television station in Spokane which runs programming from the The CW network and identifies itself as “CW 22”. KSKN operates with 250 kilowatts of power and is owned by Belo Corporation.

  • KQUP Channel 24

KQUP is a television station in Pullman, WA which runs Daystar programming and identifies itself as “KQUP 24”. KQUP operates with 57 kilowatts of power and is owned by Daystar Television Network.

  • KCDT Channel 26

KCDT is a television station in Coeur d’Alene, ID which runs programming from the PBS network and identifies itself as “Idaho PTV”. This television station operates with 38 kilowatts of power and is owned by Idaho State Board of Education.

  • KAYU Channel 28

KAYU is a television station in Spokane, WA which runs programming from the FOX network and identifies itself as “FOX 28”. KAYU operates with 91.4 kilowatts of power and is owned by Northwest Broadcasting.

  • KGPX Channel 34

KGPX is a television station in Spokane which runs programming from the ion network. KGPX is a digital full-power television station that operates with 104 kilowatts of power and is owned by ION Media Networks.

  • KHBA Channel 39

KHBA Channel 39 is a low-power TV station broadcasting locally on UHF. This TV station is the only local Christian station which runs programming from 3ABN. The station is owned by He’s Alive Broadcasting Association.

Get the latest news scoops that you want at Spokane TV stations.

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Western Digital TV – HD Media Player Review

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These days, everyone wants to be able to watch all their media easily. And of course, why not, with media coming from so many places… digital cameras, video cameras, cell phones and naturally, the Internet. You also don’t want to have to physically swap your DVDs or Blu-Rays discs because that’d be, well, un-North American! 750-something doughnuts a year, we Canadians eat. It’s gotta take a toll somewhere.

But in all seriousness, playing all the different media you might have is never an easy task. Let’s look at the options some of us might have.

XBOX 360 – Somewhat capable, but suffers from codec incompatibility, no built-in WiFi, loudness and other issues. Amazingly, the 360 is reported to be able to read HFS+ (Mac) partitions which I like for a number of reasons, while the PS3, a non-Apple competitor company’s product, cannot read HFS+ or NTFS. Even more amazing still, the 360 can’t read NTFS. I’d love to know what happened behind the scenes… was there a disgruntled employee(s) who said,”let’s stick to the MS man baby! HFS but no NTFS!! HAHA! There!” The menu, sorry, Dashboard works pretty well for a console, but not so much in my opinion as a media center. Finally, the 360 just uses too much darn power.

Sony PlayStation 3 – Considered to be a good media player by many, it doesn’t meet with the same sort of fanfare in my house. It can’t handle MKVs, even though the files within that container are usually OK for the PS3, it can’t take files larger than 4GB, it can’t stream these sorts of videos from a PC (and even if it could, its 802.11g speeds would hold it back). Also can get loud/hot like the 360, and it takes a lot of power. Aside from that, the PS3 having a Blu-Ray player is its saving grace. That, its Blu-Ray boot up speed and the fact that it can decode the lossless formats internally make it a decent player. I even like the XMB to a point where I don’t mind using it for organizing pictures and music, but since it can’t handle my MKV video collection, it too, unfortunately, has to receive a thumbs down.

Wii – Hah. I’ll discuss the 1080p media center capabilities of my original Game Boy next.

Popcorn Hour – This was one of the first proper media center thingys that had all the requisite features on paper. Hard drive, included, along with WiFi, RSS Bit Torrenting skills and the ability to play back MKVs and high-bitrate 1080p video. Only problem is, it didn’t do it well. First hand reports abound of the player stuttering, freezing, and generally sucking at playing back 1080p video.

Various other networked media streamers – These all work decently well for pictures, music and even SD video, but then again, so do the 360 and PS3 with TVersity. Nay, the real test is full-bandwidth 1080p video, and I’m afraid both the players and their skimpy wireless connections are not up to the job.

HTPC – This would be the only real solution for a long time. I even have posts detailing what they do and how to put them together. Why do these work? Because they’re just computers connected to TVs. Dual-core CPUs, lots of RAM and fancy videos ought to make short work of anything you can throw at them, at least in theory. Having owned HTPCs since I was able to connect an S-video cable to my Radeon 9700 Pro back in the day, I can tell you that the experience is not as smooth as it should be. Why? Because we’re using Windows! XP Media Center Edition was just XP, and Vista has Media Center built in, so that Media Center is just an application that runs on top. BSODs, freezes, slowdowns and other issues will still happen, especially if you use the box for other purposes, such as downloading in the background. That, and the incredibly complex setup procedure was seriously annoying. You have to of course install Vista, but then the codecs, and making sure that things are being upconverted and handled properly, sound is being output through the coax or toslink or HDMI the way it should, and then finally calibrating the video output was a chore and then some. Most of these problems go away when using Plex with a Mac as your HTPC. It’s one of the best media center frontends I’ve seen, and it’s incredibly efficient with its processing, playing video back smoothly that won’t in VLC or Quicktime with Perian. Still, it’s quite an investment (well, it’s actually a depreciating asset, but let’s not split hairs) to buy a whole PC, and that too a Mac. Your only aesthetically-acceptable option would be a Mac Mini, and their price-performance relationship is unheard of (in a bad way).

WD TV HD Media Player – Finally, that brings us to the object this review is about, the Western Digital TV HD Media Player. No one was expecting this thing, at all, at this price, and certainly not from WD. But none of that is important.

We’ve been led to believe that good things come in small packages, and it seems that this tiny device may be a proponent of that idea. It’s unbelievably small, at least to my eyes, which are used to seeing acceptable 1080p playback from big boxes that contain massive coolers atop multi-core CPUS breathing hot air, sucking electricity down and adding to the racket and sweltering heat produced by the other components inside that (usually) ugly box. This thing has no fans, is pretty green and gasp… actually does what its supposed to! Setup could not be easier, and I think no AV device in history has been easier to set up, physically. The power cable, the HDMI cable… and you’re done. Yes, this is also the case with many other HDMI devices, but this thing is tiny, and it only has a few jacks, so it’s very hard to mess it up. No physical buttons are on the unit, so it’s switched on by the remote. A more-white-than-blue LED lights up for power, and if you have a USB device plugged in, it’ll flash or light up, depending on whether it’s scanning the drive or is ready to go. I encountered a problem early on. After setting up the easy cabling and getting into the menu, I found that it would not recognize my external 1 TB hard drive. Alarmed, I immediately copied a 720p TV show to my Patriot Xporter flash drive and plugged it in. After a few seconds of inactivity, it started flashing and the videos came up. Still, if it wouldn’t read 1 TB hard drives, it’s not really an effective 1080p media center now, is it? I updated the firmware, and then it finally saw the drive. I noticed speed improvements as well! Hopefully this thing will get better and better with each firmware update.

This baby will play just about anything digital you can find. From old-school DivX encodings to the latest super-high bitrate 1080p MKVs, this will handle them all. More surprisingly, it seems to have no trouble playing them. They are no signs of a struggle! I put on a specially ripped version of the Godfather, barely compressed from the original, taking up about 20 GB. It started playing right away, faster than my gaming computer could start playing it(and that has a 4 GHz Yorkfield and 8GB of RAM). VLC and other players sometimes have a lot of visual imperfections playing back high-resolution high-bitrate video, but there was no such macroblocking, other than any present from compression. If you haven’t compressed your Blu-Ray rips much, or, you’ve just copied the stream file from a Blu-Ray disc (which it WILL play!), the video will look superb. Sound is as good as standard Dolby Digital or DTS gets (if you’re connected through composite, it won’t decode DTS though), but currently, it doesn’t do DTS-MA or TrueHD as far as I know.

The interface is a little like a simplified, vertical-scrolling Windows XP-coloured Sony PS3 XMB interface. Sounds a bit like Windows Media Center, right? It’s not unlike it actually. Though the menus are a little simplistic, they get the job done and I can’t complain much. The only issue I have with the interface is that each icon should have the corresponding text near it, not down in the bottom-right corner. A small niggle, really. The device has the ability to create libraries for you, but I disabled this feature as I have my own organizational structure on the drive, and also, it
seemingly takes forever to index a 1 TB drive. One more caveat here is that it can’t do this for HFS+ formatted drives, and I think it’s because it can read them, but not write to them.

After using the device for a few hours, I can say that I’m very satisfied with it. It switches between videos easily, resumes videos where you left them off, and never falters during playback, no matter how demanding the video file is. At this point, I have just one niggle… the remote is too small for adult male hands, and the buttons require a lot of effort to push. Sounds like a small issue, which can easily be resolved by using other kinds of remotes (programmable, Harmony etc.). At $139 Canadian, this is a great deal since it can do what HTPCs can’t do as reliably or as quick, for hundreds less. It also trumps every other media solution on the market, including the consoles.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

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5 Simple Steps to Be a Media Star

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This series of articles are focused on how to become known as an expert. Today we will focus on how to gain media attention.

Dale Carnegie said in his famous book – How To Win Friends and Influence People, “babies cry for and grown men die for”. We all want attention and recognition. We seek media attention to get our name splashed in newspapers, radio and TV. Not only is it something we personally want but it is also a great strategy to gain expert status and get clients.

I have been written up in print, interviewed on radio and TV. Did you know one appearance on TV can catapult you into fame and launch your career into the stratosphere? Fawn Germer, who I recently hear speak, was featured on Oprah. She has leveraged it to the hilt. We all know what can happen if you are seen on The Oprah Show. Businesses become hugely successful and a million books are sold! Dr. Phil and Dr. OZ started as guests on The Oprah Show. Now they have their own shows.

So how do you get attention of the media?

Here are 5 simple strategies:

  1. Find an angle that will appeal to the media: It is quite easy to look up what current stories are already being covered in the media. Just find an angle to latch on to the story. It is not enough to say that you are a chiropractor or a massage therapist. What is new, unique or newsworthy about your profession?
  2. Prepare you story: Once you know the angle, create a pitch that is easy for you to communicate. Human interest stories are featured all the time. Pick a struggle and how you or a client overcame that struggle.
  3. Get a list of reporters: Today it is easier to find reporters on the internet. Social media has made reporters and journalists much more accessible. Pick the target market you want to focus on and find the reporters who cover such stories.
  4. Call or email them: Depending on the information you have and how timely it is, you can just pick up the phone and call the reporter. Make sure you are aware of simple protocols. TV, radio and print media – all have different strategies in collecting and sharing information. Pay attention to when and how you should approach the media.
  5. Build a relationship: I consistently write comments to the reporters. You will be amazed how many of them will reply back. Make it a habit to communicate with them so you can be recognized. Today the media is required to build a following and be in touch with their audience.

These simple and effective strategies will help you start moving towards being a media star.

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