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Media Television Technology

The Universal Off Button 1169

jcr13 writes "Wired news is running a story about TV-B-Gone, a new weapon in the fight against the pervasiveness of television in our society. With this device, which takes the form of a keychain fob with a single button, you can turn off virtually any TV set. How does it work? By rolling through all known IR power-off codes, one by one, trying codes from the most popular brands first. Personally, I am terribly annoyed by TVs in restaurants and airports: they grab my attention over and over, no matter how hard I try to ignore them, and they distract me from the conversations that I should be having with my human companions. Unfortunately, the TV-B-Gone website seems to have already been swamped by the Wired coverage, so we cannot order these just yet. In the mean time, those of you with DIY proclivities may want to think about wiring one of these up yourself using a PIC chip or other micro-controller." An anonymous reader adds links to mentions at CNET, TV station KESQ and Ananova.
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The Universal Off Button

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  • Now (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:05PM (#10576839)
    I need a Universal On button remote... it'll be like a battle between good and evil, light and dark.
    • Re:Now (Score:5, Informative)

      by NemosomeN ( 670035 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:12PM (#10576958) Journal
      It sends a "power" signal. In essence, it is a universal on remote. I've never seen anything with a button that turns a tv off but not on (though I have [and own] a vcr that has an on-only button and a on-off button).
      • Re:Now (Score:5, Interesting)

        by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:20PM (#10577094) Homepage Journal
        I used to have one of those digital watches, that had a remote control built in that would control on/off/channel changing on tvs and functions on VCR's. You'd just point the watch at the unit..and cycle through the different codes manually. Once you locked on..the fun began.

        We had more fun one time in a bar...a bunch of us were in there drinking..barmaid came out and we asked that the channel on the main tv be turned to a game. She'd flip the remote...I'd flip the channel back with my watch...she go, I'd go...we'd go through this periodically...she couldn't figure out why the tv was acting so weird. At one point, we had her so confused, we actually got her to take the batteries out of the remote...and try it that way. "Magically" it worked properly..when she'd click a button, I'd do it from my watch.

        I don't think we'd all ever laughed so hard. In the end we tipped the poor girl so much money to make up for it...but, man, that was fun. I think we tipped her near $200 or was worth it.

        But, always was useful...go into a bar...turn the volume how you like it...change the channel to what you want to watch. I need to find that damned thing, get some new batteries and see if it still works.

        • Re:Now (Score:5, Funny)

          by IronChef ( 164482 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @02:58PM (#10578387)
          I did something similar in high school. We were suffering through some Shakespeare movie in the hated English teacher's class. The VCR in use was the same model as my girlfriend at the time owned. I had planned ahead and brought her remote with me. In the dark room it was trivial to make the VCR act up... pausing at random, that kind of thing.

          Mysteriously, the troubles would always clear up as soon as the teacher approached the VCR.

          By the end of the period she was fit to be tied.

          A silly prank, sure, but it still makes me laugh today to think about it. Unlike the waitress mentioned above, Mrs. Dunbridge never got a nice tip either!
      • Re:Now (Score:5, Interesting)

        by The Spoonman ( 634311 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @02:21PM (#10577938) Homepage
        I've never seen anything with a button that turns a tv off but not on

        Most modern IR-controlled electronics have discrete On and Off signals, they're just generally not used. Some remotes, such as those from One-For-All support these discrete codes. They're very useful for setting up macros. For example, one of my macros is set to send "On to TV, Input 2 to TV, On to Amp, On to DVD" if I want to watch DVDs. If I used the generic "Power" button, I couldn't use this macro when I was already watching TV because it would turn off the TV and the amp, but turn on the DVD player. In a similar vein, I have a "System Off" macro that sends discrete off signals to every piece of equipment in my rack.
      • Re:Now (Score:5, Informative)

        by tbase ( 666607 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @02:45PM (#10578227)
        Actually, a good portion of A/V devices have what's called "discrete" on and off codes. Although not on the stock remote, when I got a Phillips Pronto and wanted to set up Macros for my home theatre, it became quickly apparent that I would need to be able to send an "on only" code, otherwise it would turn off a device that was already on. Same with "off"- If I'm watching the TV using the TV tuner, and the DSS receiver isn't on, I don't want it to turn the DSS on when I hit my "All Off" macro.

        Thankfully, it turns out that all my components bar one have discrete codes. It makes programming the remote for ease of use by non-geeks much easier. I just tell the wife and kid that if they hit "All Off" and the stereo is still on, hit it again.

        The article is vague in this respect, but in the closing paragraph it seems to indicate that the remote uses "Power" codes, not discrete "Off" codes.
      • Re:Now (Score:4, Informative)

        by Nurgled ( 63197 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @06:52PM (#10580892)

        My TV has an off button which isn't a toggle. To turn it back on, you simply press a channel number.

    • by symbolic ( 11752 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @07:11PM (#10581054)

      is a universal OFF button for car stereos. They are FAR more annoying, and entail FAR more of an encroachment on the rights of others. The icing on the cake would be a universal Self-Destruct button- because that's probably what it would take for the little queens that drive these cars to get the message.

      As far as the TV goes, I remember working out at the local gym - there was this gaggle of women that would often show up at the same time. If the TV was off, one of them would make sure to turn it on. If it was on, one of them would make sure to turn up the volume. If that wasn't enough, they'd spend their workout practically yelling back and forth across the room above the noise from the TV. Oh how I would have loved something like this.
  • by Patik ( 584959 ) * <> on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:06PM (#10576842) Homepage Journal
    Personally, I am terribly annoyed by TVs in restaurants and airports: they grab my attention over and over, no matter how hard I try to-- *MUTE*

    • by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:20PM (#10577088) Homepage Journal
      I lust after a gadget that can disable those <expletive> car stereos 'what got bump'.
      Actually, that problem could be corrected by an acoustic sensor/camera combination that would detect these idiots on the road and mail them a ticket.
      If they insist on flaunting their stupidity, they should pay dearly for the privilege.
      • by Mattintosh ( 758112 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:25PM (#10577164)
        It would be much better just to hook those acoustic sensors (along with a motion sensor) up to remotely detonated mines. Place the mines as if they're manholes, notify everyone in the neighborhood to head for cover when they hear a "thump, thump, thump", and watch the 'tards fly.

        Now that's a noise ordnance! (Not the same as an ordinance, btw...)
      • by seanmeister ( 156224 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:29PM (#10577232)
        You mean like this []?

        It's in German, but if the google translation [] is correct, this device will the brothers many more subtly to the leather, once the elephant leaves the water. Which, of course, goes without saying.
    • by brunson ( 91995 ) * on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:22PM (#10577126) Homepage
      I want a picture of this "inventor" guy so I can snatch a magazine out of his hands at an airport or crank up a boombox next to his table at a restaurant, thus freeing him to sit in silence and think about his navel.

      Just another example of someone who knows what's good for me better than I do and feels the need to impose his beliefs on me.
      • by |/|/||| ( 179020 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:42PM (#10577386)
        Just another example of someone who knows what's good for me better than I do and feels the need to impose his beliefs on me.
        Wait a minute, I thought that was the problem that this is supposed to solve...

    • by kperson ( 771747 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:28PM (#10577225)
      The ground is rough, but you don't require the whole planet to be covered in leather, you put on shoes. So when in the airport, use earplugs or your own audio source. And simply don't patronize restaurants that have an environment you don't enjoy (noise, smell, lighting, etc). It's quite arrogant to cram your wishes down the throat of everyone else, especially the OWNER of the TV and the establishment!
    • by TrentL ( 761772 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:33PM (#10577286) Homepage
      Hit a button, and the TV's suddenly ramp up their volume to the max. THAT'S a hack.
    • by Cipster ( 623378 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @02:04PM (#10577707)
      Can I get one of those for my wife? I'd pay very well.
    • by swb ( 14022 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @03:11PM (#10578522)
      Back in the stone age (ie, early 80s) one of the electronics projects in our class was a "librarian annoyer" -- a small circuit that would run for a long time on a 9v battery and would periodically emit a shrill noise for a brief time and then go silent again. The idea was to put it in a hollowed out book in the library and the librarian would go nuts trying to find the source of the noise.

      Why not combine this concept with the TV turner-offer? A small device that would periodically emit all the OFF IR codes for TVs. Make it unobtrusive enough that it could be stuck someplace where it wouldn't be seen, or camouflaged as something that belonged on the wall (many places have rectangular thermostat sensors all over -- small metal rectangle with no controls).

      With the right power source and camouflage, you could really have some fun. It may also be interesting to not just send OFF codes, but to send random channel or input codes, mutes, volume up/down commands and so on.

      A single IR command might be simpler to implement, but it'd still be a blast.
  • NFL (Score:5, Funny)

    by brjndr ( 313083 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:06PM (#10576843)
    ...and women ruin Sundays for men across the nation.
    • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:11PM (#10576943) Journal
      Just as the ball gets hit and everyone goes nuts, so you don't see the outcome. Revenge of the nerds indeed. hopefully this is small enough so you don't get caught
      • by vhold ( 175219 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:16PM (#10577020)
        This is kinda pedantic, but for what it's worth, the article said it takes around a minute for it to transmit all the codes in it's little database, so it's unlikely you'll be able to get the totally desired timing effect to -really- piss everybody off. Also it seems like it'd be pretty hard to use this thing discretely if you have to point it at a TV for half a minute on average.
        • Target Market (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ebuck ( 585470 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:38PM (#10577342)
          Most people (submitter perhaps withstanding) really wouldn't use this outside of perhaps their home.

          This smacks of a novelty item / gag gift, I mean you won't take it to your bar, because if you really wanted that TV off, you'd ask the manager or leave. Only the most die hard axxholes would consider acting out the scenario presented, and few of those would have the stomach to do it twice, or make a regular occurance out of it.

          Let's face it, we already know who would abuse this device, they're the same ones that are yelling at the manager / barkeep all the time, but don't have the common sense to stop coming to their "favorite resturant / bar".

          A piece of tape will solve the TV problems, and then they'll be back to ridiculous statements of infringement of their personal space / hearing when visiting a public place.
  • by hollismb ( 817357 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:06PM (#10576844) Homepage
    This might be the next red laser pointer. Built with a good purpose, but annoying as hell for everyone else.
    • by Patik ( 584959 ) * <> on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:20PM (#10577079) Homepage Journal
      What good purpose does this device serve? If you don't own a particular TV, and it's not on your property, what right do you have to turn it off?
      • by moofdaddy ( 570503 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @02:09PM (#10577784) Homepage
        What good purpose does this device serve? If you don't own a particular TV, and it's not on your property, what right do you have to turn it off? I totaly agree with this. Guess what folks, you are not the only people in the world. Those TVs in Best Buys? Lets think for half a second why they might be on...people who want to buy a TV tend to want to see the quality of it before they purchase it.

        What about the TVs in Cafe's or airports or other random places? Maybe you have a friend to chat to, but what about that lonely person behind you sitting all alone? Maybe she would like to be distracted while she eats her lunch. Maybe the employee at the local video store would like to watch the TV since its slow that night and they don't have much else to do.

        The bottem line is, your not walking around the park and having MTV blaring at you. When you run into these tv's its because the owner of that establishment has decided that for one reason or another they want it there. Sure, you don't have to be subjected to the TV, but your recourse is to leave the establishment, not turn off the TV. Or talk to the manager about it. But you are not the only person that lives in the world, you will not find everything convienent.
    • DMCA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by leerpm ( 570963 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:23PM (#10577131)
      In related news, Sony will soon announce that all new TV models will use an encrypted signal to communicate between the remote and the box. Any third-party devices that attempt to imitate such remotes will be considered violations of the DMCA and thus be illegal to possess or manufacture.

      .. And thus begins the demise of the universal remote.
  • toggle? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kyoorius ( 16808 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:06PM (#10576845) Homepage
    Wouldn't the remote also turn on all the televisions which were originally off?
    • Re:toggle? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cdrudge ( 68377 ) * on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:13PM (#10576973) Homepage
      Many devices have a toggle IR code that will do as you say. However, most also include descrete codes that will always turn the device off, or leave it off if it already is off. Home theater buffs who purchase advanced remote controls that have macro capabilities use the descrete codes to program an "All Off" button for instance.
      • They're pretty rare. I have at most one device at home that MIGHT support discrete on/off codes (my old Sharp XG-E660U LCD projector), but I'm not sure since I don't have the remote, and attempting to use remote definitions for other Sharp projectors gets minimal functionality at most.

        With your typical consumer-grade TV sets, the only power code is a toggle. So this device is as likely to turn TVs ON as it is to turn them off.
        • by MacBoy ( 30701 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @03:45PM (#10578877)
          You obviously have no idea what you are talking about. Virtually all TVs (and other popular devices like VCRs, DVD players, etc.) have discrete on/off codes. The original remote sure doesn't have the corresponding buttons, but that does not prevent the device from responding to the code if it receives it. The only device that I own that doesn't have the capability to use discrete on/off is my Panasonic VCR.
    • Re:toggle? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Feanturi ( 99866 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:20PM (#10577087)
      Yes, the article indicates that it is a power toggle, not specifically an 'off' button. The device is to be appreciated for the 'off' function rather than the 'on' side of it. If it was intended to be used for turning TVs on, you'd obviously want more buttons to do channels and volume. So even though it toggles, having only the one button it makes more sense that you'd just be using it for switching them off.
  • by Gentoo Fan ( 643403 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:06PM (#10576849) Homepage
    Personally, I am terribly annoyed by TVs in restaurants

    Then don't eat there. It's not your TV to turn off, and maybe other people want to watch it.
  • Suicidal (Score:5, Funny)

    by enforcer999 ( 733591 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:06PM (#10576851) Journal
    If you want to die a quick death, try using this gizmo at an Oklahoma sports bar during an OU Sooners football game. You will not live long.
  • by jxyama ( 821091 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:07PM (#10576869)
    you might be annoyed by TVs in restaurants and airports... but who's giving you the right to turn it off on behalf of everyone?

    if you are in a public place, you cannot turn that TV off as it's not solely yours. if you are in a private place not your own, you cannot turn that TV off as the TV is not yours.

    if you can't manage to turn off the TV in your own home, then you got other problems.

    • you might be annoyed by TVs in restaurants and airports... but who's giving you the right to turn it off on behalf of everyone?

      I guess I'd phrase it a little differently: who's restricting my right to produce some unregulated IR signals? If people want it on, they can duct tape over the IR window and use the buttons. I suspect the majority of people (as the inventor implied) don't care if the TV is on or off anyway. Should we hold a vote before turning it on (or off)?

      Anyway, it's only a matter of

    • by Urban Garlic ( 447282 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:32PM (#10577280)
      This is slashdot -- we're supposed to know that the tool is not the problem.

      Many times in a former life, I was the only one at a remote gate at O'Hare airport, minimal staff, no other passengers, TV blaring away on "CNN Airport" or whatever. In this situation, it would be nice to be able to turn the thing off without distracting the staff from their real jobs.

      If there are other people, my posession of this device does not automatically oblige me to discourteously deprive them of their TV. It's a tool. It can be abused. Boo hoo. If that happens, punish the abusers.
  • Boo hoo for you... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sc00ter ( 99550 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:07PM (#10576871) Homepage
    "Personally, I am terribly annoyed by TVs in restaurants and airports: they grab my attention over and over, no matter how hard I try to ignore them, and they distract me from the conversations that I should be having with my human companions. "

    So because you don't have the ability to focus on a person sitting right in front of you and/or you can't go to a different establishment that meets your needs. Those of us that go to such places because we want to watch the TV there have to suffer. Not to mention that I'm sure it annoyes the owner of the establishment because he obviously wants them there.

  • cover the ir hole (Score:3, Insightful)

    by i_should_be_working ( 720372 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:08PM (#10576879)
    when me and my roomates are arguing about what to watch on tv, the least lazy of us just goes up to the tv, turns it to the channel they want, and put a book in front of the ir port thingy. then, unless we want to get up too, we're forced to watch.

    this could be done here as well to circumvent any tv haters
  • Awesome! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Shoeler ( 180797 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:08PM (#10576880)
    Now all we need is the salesman-be-gone, the policeman-be-gone, and the nagging-mother-in-law-be-gone. ^_^
  • Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:08PM (#10576883)
    The sheer fucking arrogance of this leaves me almost at a loss for words...


    What business is it of yours to tamper with things that don't belong to you? Other people might want to watch, and it sounds like the submitter has a problem with controlling his own actions if he can't talk with his "human companions" in the proximity of a TV. Television is merely a conduit of information; there is nothing inherently evil about it.

    And it's the height of arrogance and intellectual elitism to think that it's any of your business to turn off TVs that don't belong to you, in public or private places.

    The Wired article talks about "anti-TV activists". For fuck's sake, people...
  • by iago ( 4917 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:09PM (#10576892)
    Universal Cell Phone off button.

    Whoever creates a small consumer-oriented cell phone signal jammer should win the Nobel Prize.
    • by Shoeler ( 180797 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:15PM (#10577002)
      Except for the fact that it's Illegal [], I agree with ya. ;)
    • You don't need to turn them off. How about just forcing them to silent/vibrate mode and turning the receiver volume all the way up so that people don't feel inclined to scream into them. I have a long train ride each day and nothing is worse than digital Fur Elise at ear-shattering volume wrenching you out of a caffeine withdrawal snooze.
    • by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:58PM (#10577638) Homepage
      The flaw is that you are taking up the same arrogant stance as the people who created this device. IT IS NOT YOUR DAMN RIGHT TO DECIDE WHAT I CAN AND CANNOT USE. We have laws that determine it.

      If you are really so incapable of using words to get people to turn their cellphone off, then I think there are more serious problems. And please don't assume I'm talking about jammers and such in theaters and the like, thats a whole nother can of worms.

      People do things that annoy other people, it does NOT give you the right to enforce your view on them.

  • by mind21_98 ( 18647 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:09PM (#10576893) Homepage Journal
    If you like being able to turn off any TV you'd like, you'll like TV Turn-off Week []. It's going to be held from April 25-May 1, 2005. Personally, the Internet's replaced TV for me; even though there is a TV here I don't really watch it now.
    • I find it funny that they always select the week before the May Sweeps to be TV turn-off week. Many TV shows put up reruns that week because they're spending that week preparing for their May Sweeps episodes...

      It'd be a much louder message to try to depress the ratings during a sweeps period.
  • by geekee ( 591277 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:09PM (#10576902)
    in a crowded bar. You'll make some new friends with this gizmo.
  • Seriously, I TRY to pay attention to my friends, familiy, WIFE, when I'm in a public place with a television. I really do.

    It doesn't matter how horrendous the show that's on is either. If it's there, I zone in on it.

    Finally, an escape!
  • Bad idea. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rasteri ( 634956 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:10PM (#10576921) Journal
    I disapprove of this concept - if you don't like the fact that wherever you are has a TV, go somewhere else. Just because you find it annoying doesn't mean you have the right to turn it off. It's similar to walking into a pub and demanding that everyone stop smoking because you are a non-smoker.
  • by museumpeace ( 735109 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:10PM (#10576922) Journal
    tv's that are being used as monitors, say with flight info, traffic reports etc.
    OR, if you have a really strong death wish, turn off the Red Sox/ Yankees game at you local bar?
    better hide that little sucker in IR-transparent hiding place and keep you cellphone handy with 1-button 911 service programmed into it if you are going around turning off tvs that other people are watching. I was always warned not to get between a dog and its dinner but I think that goes for humans and there TV's too.
  • by digitalsushi ( 137809 ) * <> on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:12PM (#10576959) Journal
    A small portion of people cannot tune out background noise such as television, but the disruption caused by random outages will disturb the people who DO tune it out. The brain filters out patterns; when patterns change, we notice them. We don't notice the water dripping, but we do when it stops; some of us cannot fall asleep unless there's a stream of white noise such as a fan or waterfall outside. Then there's the issue that people might actually be watching the darned thing in the first place! If I owned a public place, the first time I realized someone was turning off my TVs, I'd just cover the sensors with tape, and make everyone watch whatever I feel like instead, causing more annoyance.
  • by NerveGas ( 168686 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:12PM (#10576960)
    Personally, I am terribly annoyed by TVs in restaurants and airports: they grab my attention over and over, no matter how hard I try to ignore them,

    You've got to be kidding me. Whenever I see TVs in places like that, they're always too small, too far away, and too quiet to keep my attention even when I want to watch them.

    If you can't pay attention to a real human right in front of you because of a TV somewhere in the distance, maybe the television isn't the real source of the problem.

  • by iapetus ( 24050 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:14PM (#10576994) Homepage
    I've created a device to counter this anti-social and selfish TV-deactivator. And what's more, it's easier and cheaper to construct. Just curl the fingers of your right hand into a tight roll, tucking the tips in towards the palm, and use this device to strike a sharp blow to the arrogant fool who thinks he has the right to mess with your expensive consumer hardware.

    Patent is, of course, pending, but I'll be offering a free license for use in this sort of situation.
  • by bennomatic ( 691188 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:15PM (#10577008) Homepage
    There are so many IR-capable palm devices out there that if the guy making it really wanted to have an impact on the world, all he'd need to do is develop a software app and offer it for free. Anyone? Anyone?

  • by syntap ( 242090 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:19PM (#10577075)
    And their cell phones. And not as noisy as a machine gun.
  • by scotay ( 195240 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:20PM (#10577095)
    Personally, I am terribly annoyed by TVs in restaurants and airports: they grab my attention over and over, no matter how hard I try to ignore them, and they distract me from the conversations that I should be having with my human companions.

    No technology will ever substitute for lack of an internal moral compass (and by moral I include my atheist self - this is not a religious argument). You are in TOTAL control of what you perceive and your reaction to what you perceive. America (I assume the author is a member of the growing American victim class) has become a bunch of spineless victims that can't live in a world unless it caters to their total lack of impulse control. From the drug war, to the growing food war, to all the "for the children" arguments, this type of thinking is scary, and gives cause for more government control of every aspect of our lives. We need to grow some balls and stop playing the victim at EVERY opportunity.
  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:27PM (#10577208) Homepage Journal
    The truly universal "off button" is that big 100-amp (or more) main breaker. I guarantee it'll work. Hehe.

    Seriously though ... in order to avoid incurring the wrath of the society zombies among you who actually want to watch the megacrap that is today's television programming, I would suggest that this device should be subtly embedded in a baseball cap or something, and set to transmit every minute or so. That way you can turn televisions off just by looking at them, while your "alibi hand" is firmly grasping your "alibi beer" or something. :)
  • Re think this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:35PM (#10577308) Homepage
    If you do not have the balls to walk up and turn off a TV that other people are watching in a public place, perhaps you shouldn't turn it off at all. Either stand up for what you believe in (no matter how arrogant), or just learn to live with other people and their preferences. Don't be a coward.
  • by el-spectre ( 668104 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:37PM (#10577329) Journal
    Back when I was 18 and worked at RadioShack in the mall, there was a TV store across the way. This place had like 50 TVs running, most on mute, all day long. They went off at night.

    My manager liked to take one of our universal remotes, and after hours turn the volume WAAAAAAAY up, then turn off the TV. He did this to all that his universal remote would reach.

    The poor TV store manager (who was a friend of my manager) would come in, hit the 'on' button on HIS special remote and get blasted out the front door...

    Fun with consumer electronics :)
  • by Zerbey ( 15536 ) * on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:43PM (#10577391) Homepage Journal
    I don't think I've ever been in a public place with a TV on in the background and it bother me so much I want to turn it off. I avoid places that have loud music/TV's anyway. Much less antisocial than pissing off a bunch of people :)

    Now, if they could invent a zapper that would kill the cell phone of the idiots who think they can drive and use one at the same time I'd be happy.

  • Amusing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HeghmoH ( 13204 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:55PM (#10577587) Homepage Journal
    Here we have an incredibly insecure electronics device. It listens on a common EM frequency band and willingly turns itself off whenever a sequence of simple codes is received. When someone finally exploits this gaping security hole, aren't we supposed to blame the people who made the security hole? After all, problems in Windows are Microsoft's fault. Why is this the fault of the device's creator, and not the fault of the TV manufacturers?
  • Vandalism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:58PM (#10577622) Homepage Journal
    If you go around turning off others TV's just because 'it annoys me' then you are nothing better than a common vandal and are committing a crime.

    If the TV in a restaurant bothers you, DON'T GO TO THAT DAMNED RESTAURANT.. problem solved. The world doesn't revolve around your sorry ass.

  • by santos_douglas ( 633335 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @02:55PM (#10578350) Journal
    This reminds me of a product I thought was cool in a geeky sort of way, a TV Remote Control Watch like this Quemex. [] It lets you control volume and channel. I don't know if it's as universal as the device listed in TFA, but someone could easily devise one. It's sold to the super lazy couch potato who's doens't even want to reach to the coffee table for the remote, but I always thought it would be pretty cool to have on those rare occassions when you're stuck in a waiting room or something with a TV stuck on QVC or something.

    I surprised at the posters getting all upset about this type of device. Yes it would be rude to mess with people in a crowded place like a bar or whatever if its obvious they're watching it. But how is an open IR receiver any different from say an open WAP? It's their fault if they didn't think about the possibility of someone using it in a way they didn't envision.

  • by Demon-Xanth ( 100910 ) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @02:56PM (#10578372)
    Last I checked, there was nothing in the Bill of Rights that said "We have the right to have silence in public and other people's private places."

    TVs in the airport? Maybe people want to know what the weather's going to be like at thier destination. Maybe that guy who just spent 4 hours staring at the back of a seat would like to watch a game for an hour before spending another 6 viewing the threadcount of a headrest.

    TV at your local restraunt? Noone forced you to be there, if you don't like it, ask to be moved away from it or go somewhere else.

    TVs in stores? It helps to actually see a fully warmed up picture when viewing a TV. Besides, doesn't a TV turned on seem much more appealing than one turned off? If you wanted to view a TV turned off wouldn't you just get a cabinet?

    Just as I don't have the right to take that cell phone and shove it up your arse, you don't have the right to turn off someone elses TVs.

    Oh, and malls, airports, and restraunts are NOT public property. If you want public property to dispense your own brand of vigelante justice, the BLM land is usually well marked on topo maps. Go there and tell the crickets to shut the hell up. They might care.

  • by Sir Holo ( 531007 ) * on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @03:36PM (#10578803)

    Unfortunately, in our society, the rule is that The TV owns the room.

    If I read the paper, I don't bother anyone. If I listen to my iPod, I don't bother anyone. Conversation, eating, etc.. But TV is different. If just ONE person in a crowded room wants to see the TV, then they can have it on. Loud. And you're a jerk if you turn it down/off. Doesn't matter if someone was sitting right in front of the "off" TV prior.

    And marketers exploit this, e.g. in airports, where you can't hide from the things.

    The rule needs to change.

Last yeer I kudn't spel Engineer. Now I are won.