TV-B-Gone Matt 18 Mar 2005

29 comments Latest by ERE

For those who are sick of TVs in public places and have enough moxie to do something about it: the TV-B-Gone universal remote control.

I sure do hate TVs but I'm not sure this device would pass the test of the Ethicist. Here's the company's rather weak rationale for why you're entitled to impose your TV-killing mojo in a public space.

Since a tv that is powered on fills the room with its sights and sounds, impinging on everyone in the room, it is similar to a smoker who fills a room with smoke. Some people may like breathing in someone else's smoke, but that's not for everyone. Similarly, not everyone wants to be disturbed with someone else's media. If someone were smoking a cigar in a public place and you were disturbed by it, you would probably either leave, or you would ask them if they would mind putting it out. Similarly, if someone is filling your space with disturbing sights and sounds of a tv, you have the same choices.

29 comments (comments are closed)

Chris from Scottsdale 18 Mar 05

How many of you see this and instantly think, like me, that it would be great for pranks at the gym or in a bar where there are tvs everywhere?

I’ve seen watches that can do this and heard some great stories about people who mess with people’s minds.

Dan Boland 18 Mar 05

Yeah, I read about this “invention” a while back. Their tagline should be “We guarantee you’ll get your ass kicked at a sports bar or your money back!” What an obnoxious idea.

Dan Boland 18 Mar 05

PS - Never read The Ethicist before. That garage sale lady is a bitch!

Ken 18 Mar 05

What an obnoxious idea.

I dunno &mdash: I’m a fan.

Adam Michela 18 Mar 05

that looks like a blast

One of several Steves 18 Mar 05

This strikes me as the same attitude that many people have that, if I’m offended by a particular program, it should be removed from broadcast so no one can watch it.

Just like those people have the choice to turn the channel and not watch the program, people who would buy the TV-B-Gone have the choice not to patronize establishments where the TVs are loud and obnoxious.

This device is just another item to add to the growing pile of evidence that in modern society, most people are convinced that they are more important than anyone else.

Steve, via Den, Fla and now RDU 18 Mar 05

This device is just another item to add to the growing pile of evidence that in modern society, most people are convinced that they are more important than anyone else.

I’ll second that.

duff 18 Mar 05

I’d find this useful at the airport, where they have obnoxious, very loud televisions placed everywhere that don’t even show real T.V. but instead just airport-sponsored ads.

Anywhere else, I’d find this to be an annoying prankster device.

Jim Bob 18 Mar 05

This device is just another item to add to the growing pile of evidence that in modern society, most people are convinced that they are more important than anyone else.
The above is proof that there is always some tool willing to take whatever corporate america is willing to stuff up his ass.

Anonymous Coward 18 Mar 05

So … what if you are in area which you *must* patronize that affords no relief from said TV? Like the aforementioned airport, laudromat or supermarket checkout? Why must we invade semi-public spaces with the boob tube?

There was a question about 50 years ago on whether to allow *audio* ads on public buses. Eventually, it was decided in the courts that since the patrons could *not* choose to ignore the ads, they would not be allowed.

Isn’t TV in semi-public spaces really the same thing?

Anonymizifier 19 Mar 05

I’ve seen these things in action. Sometimes they can be worthwhile, like killing an overly-invasive TV in a very very quiet bar, but 99 times out of 100 it’s just some idiot trying to pull a joke. The whole thing seems like a school project gone a little too far.

Anonymous Coward 19 Mar 05

In my experience, outside of New York City its nearly impossible to find an American bar without at least one television in it. What’s with that?

Tilted 19 Mar 05

It must be because you, and NYC, are so cool—and the rest of the world is so lame.

Bryan C 19 Mar 05

“Isnít TV in semi-public spaces really the same thing?”

Anon, no, it’s not the same thing. Because neither you nor I own the places in question. When the government buys out all the supermarkets, laudromats, and airports and places them under public control then I may reconsider. But if that happened I suspect we’d have much bigger things to worry about than annoying TVs.

Oh, and One Of Several Steves: I agree too.

Anonymous Coward 20 Mar 05

Hey Tilted, if you like having TV sets in bars, then clearly NYC isn’t very ‘cool’ at all, is it? It would be pretty ‘lame’ to have to live somewhere like NYC where you have to try 50 lame bars in a row before finding a decent one with a TV set in it, right?… If, on the other hand, you hate having TV sets in bars, then you may very well find NYC quite agreeable because you can pick just about any old bar at random and be nearly guaranteed that there will not be a TV. This isn’t a bias, it’s just an observation of an extremely noticable regional difference in the decor of drinking establishments. No value judgement is made regarding those who want and don’t want to have TVs in bars. It’s only perjorative if you don’t believe in different strokes for different folks.

JF 20 Mar 05

This device is just another item to add to the growing pile of evidence that in modern society, most people are convinced that they are more important than anyone else.

You’re so right.

Adam Codega 20 Mar 05

If your someplace with a bunch of people, why are you more important then them? If it’s a slow day at the cafe, why not just ask them to turn the volume down instead of feeling like you can mess around with their stuff?

Beerzie Boy 21 Mar 05

I don’t much like TeeVee, but this sounds like self-righteous hogwash to me.

Gepetto 21 Mar 05

I think areyougeneric.org does a good job of summing it up:

Television sucks you in, evaporating your energy and diminishing your will to think. We sit limp and stare thoughtless in front of a box that never lets us disagree, interact, or talk back. We absorb the artificial, the fake — corporate-sponsored News disguised as truth, the plastic sitcom disguised as vibrant life.

It is not a babysitter; it is not your best friend; it is not art; it is not exercise. Moderate your use. Turn it off to make time for loving, playing, painting, and reading. Trash your TV.

Anyway, see for yourself: http://www.areyougeneric.org/cat_tshirts_trashtv.php

Dan Boland 21 Mar 05

There was a question about 50 years ago on whether to allow *audio* ads on public buses. Eventually, it was decided in the courts that since the patrons could *not* choose to ignore the ads, they would not be allowed.

How is that any different from having to see dopey billboards and ads on bus stops? Is one set of sensory organs better than the others?

It is not a babysitter; it is not your best friend; it is not art; it is not exercise. Moderate your use. Turn it off to make time for loving, playing, painting, and reading. Trash your TV.

Smells a bit like moral superiority to me. Yeah, there’s a lot of crap on television these days, but there are also some real gems that shouldn’t be overlooked (like Good Eats on Food Network). And besides, you can’t say “moderate your use” in one breath and then say “trash your TV” two sentences later. Which is it? Use it some or use it none?

Adam Codega 21 Mar 05

I never like to make blanket statements, I wouldn’t say TV is completely evil. I do think attention should be paid to media overload, especially audio. I think audio is more obnoxius then video. Video, while it can be more attention getting, isn’t too different from a print ad.

One of several Steves 21 Mar 05

So Ö what if you are in area which you *must* patronize that affords no relief from said TV? Like the aforementioned airport, laudromat or supermarket checkout? Why must we invade semi-public spaces with the boob tube?

I have a hard time believing that it’s that difficult to find alternatives (and, yes, I’ve lived in small towns where alternatives of any sort are scarce). And even if that is the case, how difficult is it to ask the bartender or whoever’s staffing the laundromat to turn the volume down or off?

Besides, who’s to say some other people present are watching/listening to the TV and want it on? Why should your preference to have it off trump theirs to have it on? (Yes, the alternate can also be asked, but in cases like this I generally subscribe to the idea that the newcomers’ choices fall second to the choice of the people already there.)

Smoo 22 Mar 05

My main prob with the TV is the commercials.. Isn’t it possible to make a gizmo that dims the sound and pictures when the ads come on? That would be sweet!

Anonymous Coward 22 Mar 05

We All Know That TV Is Bad For Us

“There is a solemn assumption behind them: that any activity will be less wasteful and more edifying than, for example, watching a good episode of The West Wing. It’s not as though two or three generations ago people were sitting around discussing Kierkegaard and Kant with their children over the family dinner table every evening.”

Tony 29 Mar 05

When you can show me an alternative airport where TV is not, or an alternative bus station where TV is not, or an alternative shopping Mall etc. etc. do let me know. If modern life is all about choice and closing down a TV restricts choice then surely not having strippers in the Mall, or not being able to have whale song at the supermarket is also restricting so-called “choice”! Can’t we get some limited peace rather than be subjected to someone else’s “choice”, let’s face it, it’s never going to be the channel that everyone wants to “choose”.

RevZ 28 Apr 05

Wow, god-forbid you try to take away the “right” to watch TV anywhere you please and the lemmings go nuts. *eyeroll*

I don’t enjoy a blaring TV set in my local diner. It’s not a sports bar, I didn’t go there to watch American Idol — in fact, I went there to AVOID it and live life with the senseless transmissions of “reality” TV.

Turn off the tube and, surely, keep it out of my local eatery!