Reverse engineering the Telly Terminator

[Oliver] received the Telly Terminator as a gift and decided to take a closer look at it. This key fob has two buttons; one shines an LED like a flashlight and the other turns off televisions. Sound familiar? Yeah, it made [Oliver] think of the TV-B-Gone as well.

He cracked open the case to find just a few components. The brain behind the IR signals is a Helios H5A02HP. Only a few pins are used for outputs so he connected a logic analyzer and recorded the signals. His writeup covers the process quite well. He takes a known IR transmitter protocol and compares it to the capture from the logic analyzer. It turns out that the fob generates 46 different signals and with further analysis concludes that there’s a chance the code used here is from an older version of the TV-B-Gone source.

17 thoughts on “Reverse engineering the Telly Terminator

  1. That’s true phelps, But who would enforce something like that?

    You cant really sue for damages because they are giving away the source code.

  2. Incidentally, collection the codes should be public not governed by ANY license, since obviously it is public already since these codes are not ‘made up’ by tv-b-gone but are just from the various manufacturers, and using such codes, even when ripped from a collection, should be OK, it’s what open is all about.
    It’s different if they use sourcecode of course, but the IR codes that’s like using an ASCII table and trying to go anal about that is not helping anybody.

  3. @Wwhat
    There is speculation that they ripped the entire source code, as the codes are not only sent in the same order, but in the exact same fashion as the TV-B-Gone.

    As for not helping anyone, we’re not trying to make them stop using the code, we just want them to share their source code. Just like the license says they should.

  4. It’s not GPL’d code so there’s no obligation to release the source.

    It’s CC Attrib & Share Alike.
    Creative Commons even suggests you don’t use their licenses for source code since it’s not a software license.

    It seems it only applies to the text of the source code, which hasn’t been distributed in this case.

    Even if it applies to a compiled binary, it just means the license would have to be attached to the binary. The license itself still doesn’t force the distributor to provide copies of anything upon request.

  5. @Wwhat “Why not make a TV-Now! and send 48 signals that turn on tv’s, give it a twist.”

    There’s a secret mode that does this if you stand on your head, cluck like a chicken, and use it on a TV that’s off.

  6. Wellllll… erm, since the signal that turns the TV’s off, is the same signal that turns them on, doesn’t the “TV-B-Gone” and imposters already have the “TV-Now!” function?

  7. @Jimmy Sultan: Not on most of the TVs I’ve used; the power button on the remote control switches the TV off, but to switch it back on again you need to press one of the number keys to pick a channel.

  8. So the Telley Terminator is a RIPOFF of the Tv-B-Gone. Everyone needs to fill the inbox of every email account we can find at that company to blast them about how big of scumbags they are.

    But, I’m betting that when you dig down, it’s a China company cranking out fake copies of other people’s designs… I even found a place selling cheap knockoffs of the Linksys WRT54GL that has a modified version of DDWRT on it (modified as in removing all the DDWRT graphics and references…)

  9. I’m surprised that anyone is surprised this product would be a ripoff. That’s the way it goes with cheap electronics.

    Not that I really care, I’ve never agreed with the idea of people deciding what or when I should watch what I want. I also think most people are idiots, so why I would possibly want to turn off a tv in a public place to ‘start a conversation’ is beyond me.

  10. I’m with agent420 on this. these things are stupid. If you wanna mess with people get a keystroker, laugh about it and move on.

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