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Kill the television
October 20, 2004 9:01 AM   Subscribe

TV-B-Gone. A remote with only one button: Off.
posted by me3dia (31 comments total)

 
It's a universal remote, able to turn off TVs wherever they present themselves. Wired article here.

Beyond the practical joke opportunities, this would be great at sportsbars, waiting rooms, airports...
posted by me3dia at 9:05 AM on October 20, 2004


I was going to post this yesterday, but the site was down from excess traffic. Hope it lasts longer today. :)

Very cool stuff. I'm buying one.
posted by woil at 9:05 AM on October 20, 2004


Finally, something that doesn't require you to own a television in order to be able to enjoy.
posted by psmealey at 9:07 AM on October 20, 2004


I find it strange that the inventor says that he was tired of going to places where the TV was distracting people from actually interacting with each other - yet he invents a device that will allow someone to shut off the TV without ASKING anyone first! Is that an improvement?
I am left to imagine the fights (both verbal and physical) that this little invention will spur.
posted by BlueScreen at 9:20 AM on October 20, 2004


For Altman, founder of Silicon Valley data-storage maker 3ware, the TV-B-Gone is all about freeing people from the attention-sapping hold of omnipresent television programming. The device is also providing hours of entertainment for its inventor.

Taking sides: Irritating television vs. Irritating television haterz.

The remote sounds like lots of fun, though.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:21 AM on October 20, 2004


If the average american watches 4.5 hours of TV per day, and I watch about 1 hour per day (on average), where's the guy with 7 1/2 hours spare time to watch TV?

Wish I were him. :-D
posted by shepd at 9:35 AM on October 20, 2004


Is this something I would need a TV to understand?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:38 AM on October 20, 2004


i'm building an RFID jammer. you point it at that the little old lady with the walker and hilarity ensues as security tackles her, determined to retrieve the wide screen tv signalling frantically from inside her little black purse.
posted by quonsar at 9:40 AM on October 20, 2004


I am left to imagine the fights (both verbal and physical) that this little invention will spur.

There was a pretty good interview with the inventor on NPR yesterday, where he addresses this point. He said that the intention of the remote is not to piss people off, or start fights. It's just to remove the distraction where it's not needed. In "field tests", he says that the vast majority of people in the places that he de-teeveed didn't even notice that the set went off. They just sort of stopped staring at the pretty lights, and went off to do something else.

Mine is already on the way.
posted by majcher at 9:41 AM on October 20, 2004


I'm a nudist and when I'm out and about I'm dismayed to see all the people hiding themselves beneath their clothes. The human body is a wonderous thing that should not hidden away out of shame or social mores! Why should I be exposed to clothing just because someone else isn't comfortable with themselves?

That's why I created Clothes-B-Gone Universal Clothes Solvent. Just a few sprays and it automatically removes clothing from the people around you.

posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:58 AM on October 20, 2004


...he invents a device that will allow someone to shut off the TV without ASKING anyone first! Is that an improvement?

Yes.

Yes it is.

robocop, you're not actually equating watching TV with wearing clothing are you?
posted by soyjoy at 10:12 AM on October 20, 2004


Maybe it's time to market my ingenious Jrunaway, which "allows" website users to get off the Internet and enjoy activies which I deem more acceptable.

I've been using it for a while and you know what? People don't seem to mind. They just move on to Fark something else.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:22 AM on October 20, 2004


I kind of like watching TV in the airport. And I never mind asking others in a waiting room, etc., if they'd prefer the TV on or off, and then going to get the remote if the consensus is "off".

So what is the point of this machine again?
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:26 AM on October 20, 2004


I can see this being popular right up until the first beaten-with-a-dead-TV fatality.
posted by bonehead at 10:31 AM on October 20, 2004


In the interests of accuracy, it should be noted that while this remote does have only one button, it is also an "on" button.

I imagine Circuit City and Best Buy and Sears managers will pick one of these up, just to save themselves the hassle of firing up their wall of TVs every morning by hand.
posted by pzarquon at 10:37 AM on October 20, 2004


I'll be interested when he gets around to inventing Cell-Phone-B-Explodin'.
posted by picea at 10:43 AM on October 20, 2004


save themselves the hassle of firing up their wall of TVs every morning by hand.

And the hassle of re-firing them up after I stroll through there.

Yup, mine's on the way. First stop: the local racetrack, to start a riot among hundreds of pissed off parimutuel customers by clicking off the grandstand monitors right before the ponies go off.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:53 AM on October 20, 2004


I hope mine gets here in time to test it out during the yankees/red sox game tonight at the sports bars in my neighborhood. bwhahaha haha /evil laugh
posted by limitedpie at 10:59 AM on October 20, 2004


I agree with their detractor. What a dick.

I more often than not prefer to have the TV off when I'm at a bar, but there's no override for "wait a minute, it's the MLB playoff/the SNL premiere/the Oscars/hot softcore porn," which makes all the difference. Assholes will use this device in assholish ways -- it's like the laser pointer, except the principal use will be to make people mad.

Even when used as intended, to shut off droning, unwatched sets, I think it's wrong -- the smoking ban all over again. This is not a decision that can be made unilaterally by one patron. Decent people ask permission first and then take their business elsewhere if rebuffed.
posted by Epenthesis at 11:01 AM on October 20, 2004


If the average american watches 4.5 hours of TV per day, and I watch about 1 hour per day (on average), where's the guy with 7 1/2 hours spare time to watch TV?

Think kids. Millions of couch potato kids.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 11:02 AM on October 20, 2004


Naw, soyjoy. Clothes are optional, but the nice man on TV said he'd kill my dog if I turned him off.

Seriously, though, I wonder why people who are bothered by active TVs in public go to those places in the first place? For me, the only distracting potential a TV in a bar or waiting room has is one of volume, but then overloud music/muzak has the same effect. I see this thing being used more as prank device to torment middle school teachers than an electronic waterbottle squirting out the lit TVs of America.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:23 AM on October 20, 2004


shepd- 7 people watching 5 hours a day will balance you out.

In the interests of accuracy, it should be noted that while this remote does have only one button, it is also an "on" button.

I'm not sure about that. On my Universal Remote from Time Warner Cable, the "power" button only switches the TV off, not on. The "TV" button (used to switch the controls to TV) turns the TV on, but not off.
posted by mkultra at 12:04 PM on October 20, 2004


Time to start marketing my new invention to sports bar owners. It's called TV-B-Gone-B-Gone! Guaranteed to stop those pesky TV-B-Gone owners!

Sure, it's only a piece of electrical tape that you put over your TV's remote sensor, but think of the branding opportunities! I'll see you on Easy Street, fellas!
posted by turaho at 12:46 PM on October 20, 2004


Seriously, though, I wonder why people who are bothered by active TVs in public go to those places in the first place?

You mean like airport boarding gates and doctors' waiting rooms? Why, to watch TV, of course!
posted by soyjoy at 1:07 PM on October 20, 2004


Damn, the site was linked on Wired and Slashdot - I guess I don't get to order one any time soon.

I used to do this to a former roommate all the time. I had a universal remote for my TV in my room, and his TV was in the living room. I would program my remote for his TV and smuggle it into the living room while he was watching. I never turned it off, but I would wait for him to change the channel and then just... bump it another channel or two. Or he would adjust the volume and I would turn it all the way down to zero, or all the way up to maximum. He thought his remote was broken.

limitedpie's idea made me grin a very evil grin.
posted by RylandDotNet at 5:25 PM on October 20, 2004


I like watching TV in the airport--or by "like" here, I mean "prefer it to listening to other people shouting into their cell phones".

On the other hand, when I am in the doctor's waiting room and the TV is on and nobody appears to be watching it, I ask if anyone minds if I turn it off and if nobody minds, I turn it off.

See, kids, it's called "social interaction". It's what people used to do before there were gadgets that did it for you.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:07 PM on October 20, 2004


"Is this something I would need a TV to understand?"
( posted by Steve_at_Linnwood )

Yes. I think. I guess. Hmmm....... well, I don't actually have TV or - errrrr - I do but I use it 7 times a year to watch videos, plus reception sucks......

I'll just have to read some more about the ascent of the religious right.
posted by troutfishing at 6:46 PM on October 20, 2004


I'm not sure about that.

if you read the articles or the manufacturer's website you'd be assured that it does have an on button.

The keychain fob works like a universal remote control but one that only turns TVs on or off

anyone who gets the shit kicked out of him/her for being "mischevious" with this item will totally deserve it. i can hardly wait for the future news reports, heh.
posted by t r a c y at 7:29 PM on October 20, 2004


Sure, it's only a piece of electrical tape that you put over your TV's remote sensor, but think of the branding opportunities! I'll see you on Easy Street, fellas!

Prior art! Prior art!

Look at TVs when you're out and about, you'll see that many of them already have this high-tech electrical tape device over the IR ports on the sets. People like me evil people have been using software like this for their own hil(nef)arious purposes for several years now.
posted by m@ at 8:27 PM on October 20, 2004


People who don't watch TV love to mention it and never fail to pair that statement with the fact that they read books too. But as long as they're patting themselves on the back for simply not doing something, it seems to me that there are lots of worse things you could be taking credit for not doing. For instance, next time someone decides to lord over you the fact that he doesn't watch TV, go ahead and tell him "Good for you!" Then while everyone around you is reflecting on his massive intellect, up the awful-things-you-don't-do ante by mentioning that you don't rape people and then add that you watch lots of television instead. Not only does that make you a better person - after all what kind of psychotic jerkoff wastes his time not watching TV when he could be busy not commiting violent sex crimes? - but it gives you sort of an air of barely suppressed operatic rage, which makes you more like Batman.
posted by straight at 10:22 PM on October 20, 2004 [1 favorite]


"Because a tv that is powered on is like second-hand smoke. Why should you be exposed to tv just because someone else is addicted to it?"

Why do I get the feeling that if I were having dinner with this jackass, I'd spend most of my time watching the TV too?
posted by uhnyuftz at 12:30 AM on October 21, 2004


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