Adafruit Releases New TV-B-Gone Kit

Recently, our friends over at Adafruit released a new version of their popular TV-B-Gone kit. Built in cooperation with [Mitch Altman], the inventor of the TV-B-Gone, the new kit sports four high power IR LEDs, two wide beam and two narrow beam. The four LEDs give the new TV-B-Gone increased range, with a maximum distance of over 150ft. One of the most impressive features of the kit is the fact that the new TV-B-Gone is universal and can now work in Europe and Asia in addition to the US. Users are able to select which region they want to use during the build process by soldering a resistor into the board at their region’s corresponding spot as seen in the picture above. The new TV-B-Gone kit is now available in the Adafruit store for $19.95 plus shipping.

54 thoughts on “Adafruit Releases New TV-B-Gone Kit

  1. I would like a TV-be-on kit. You know, for teaching purposes. Anyone know how I can get the TV ON control codes for all the manufacturers? I imagine the same method could be used as the one to get all the off codes. Any info anyone?

  2. Why does “LadyAda” insist on selling devices which have only antisocial uses? Don’t go into a sports bar if you don’t want to watch TV while you eat. If a particular coffee shop has a TV, choose the one that doesn’t. If you’re stuck there, ASK the staff to turn off the TV or mute it. Others choose to go the sports bar because they DO. All this does is piss off customers, make for work for the staff (I’m guessing Lady Ada never worked retail or in the restaurant business), and further perpetuate the “nerds are annoying and antisocial” stereotype.

    Also, why hasn’t the FCC shut down “Lady Ada”‘s illegal cellphone jammer sales? Funny how all the HAM operators seem to get why this stuff is illegal, but a bunch of special children seem to think it’s their right to fuck around with a communications medium others depend on.

    Then again, what do you expect from a child who was almost kicked out of MIT for planting a device in a parking garage without permission that was suspected to be a bomb. I wonder if she’s related to “Star” Simpson…

  3. anony, turning off a tv would be making people social because tv is a distraction from talking with people.

    you should be sold a computer because you use it to produce hate towards other people not directly harming or effecting anyone who hasnt chose to interact with the lady.

    maybe we shoud require everyone to wear helmets to protect us from the sun and bumping our head too.

    technology is the main reason behind anti social behavior

  4. @AspergersAnonymous

    Say what you will about the tvbgone, but as far as the illegal cellphone jammer, just go check the page on it:

    It clearly states “This design is not for sale or available as a kit and never will be due to FCC regulations. Please do not ask me to assist you in such matters.”

    So unless you can clue us in on where exactly these are being sold by ladyada, it would seem like you’re just trying to inflame things. What would the motivation for that be?

  5. sorry, i have to agree with AspergersAnonymous here. you have the right to choose where you want to go, but not the right to interefere with others.

    if you are going to take this techo-social thing to heart, i guess you’d also approve of devices that would shut down internet cafes and game systems in people’s houses.

    in fact, if you are truly a believer, you wouldn’t hide this device – you’d stand up and proudly proclaim it’s use. just call the medics beforehand so you won’t be laying in pain too long.

  6. @AspergersAnonymous and @agent420: If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. It’s a proof of concept to teach people about building custom interfaces to off the shelf products. sure, the only practical use for it after built is to get kicked out of places (i know of at least one case where a conference attender was permanently ejected from all future conferences, but can’t find the link). But just because you don’t like something, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist. If you don’t want someone turning off your TV, put a piece of black electrical tape over the IR port (or you could desolder the IR receiver from the PCB for a more permanent solution).

    IR ports are just another security flaw in public devices and the reason why some people sell TVs that don’t have them. What’s the difference between using a tv-b-gone and a universal remote at a sports bar?

    @ladyada I love these things. I had a few hours of fun in an electronics isle at a local retail shop a while back. Just had to look out for the security cameras. Some cams can pick up the IR and convert it into visible light on playback.

  7. @ daryl
    there is a difference between questioning a device’s reason for use and banning the device altogether, which by the way i did not suggest (at least in this case). as you point out, there is little difference in using a universal remote, other than not having the guts to be identified as the culprit.

    so according to your view, cell phone jammers, credit card skimmers, war driving, viri and malware, etc etc etc are all fair game because they are nothing more than learning tools, both for the builder and those that may potentially be bothered or hurt as a result – at least they’ll be aware of their security holes, right?

  8. I’m going to have to go with daryl on this one; Just because a product has nefarious uses doesn’t make the product evil. Fertilizer = bigger crop yields or car bombs, depending on how you use it.

  9. actually, the tv-b-gone’s give me uneasy feelings as well. I’m a huge fan of ladyada’s, and will continue to be for her other great contributions/inspirations, but I can’t get past the fundamental antisocial/explotivate properties of this device.

    @alchemyguy – this product has no positive/productive use, as is the case with fertilizer. that’s a poor comparison.

    @daryl – so, just because a system is inherently insecure, exploiting it is mandatory (or at least excusable)? Don’t confuse amorality for idealism.

  10. @overslacked: You say that it has no “positive” use, but that’s your opinion, of course. Turning off advertising screens is considered positive by some people. Just because you can’t think of a positive use doesn’t mean one exists. A bit of modification and you’ve got an IR tranmitter for your project.

    This argument is really the heart of the issue with this sort of device, isn’t it?

  11. The real issue is “is the TV my property?” If yes, then use tv-b-gone to your heart’s content. If no, keep your hands to yourself, and mind your own business.

    And for the record, I agree with svofsky, tv-b-gone and its variants are not particularly interesting hacks, and I got bored with reading the makezine blog because it seemed to be their number one project. That and LED blinky littering.

  12. I agree with will. If the TV is the store’s / bar’s / or anyone but your property, you have no right to control it even if you and others don’t like what is being displayed. Do you want the government to control what you watch or decide when you can watch TV?

    I also agree that the project could have many other good uses, but this one is not necessarily it. That video of the guy with a TV-be-gone in his hat turning off the TVs at some tech fare was absolutely rude. A tad funny to bystanders but not to the presenter or anyone listening to the presenter.

    Just my 2 cents.

  13. Now that is a good point as I also stated the same thing. “I also agree that the project could have many other good uses, but this one is not necessarily it.” Although, I wouldn’t consider turning off a TV evil. HAHAHA.

    I think this has been quite the heated discussion.

  14. Along the same lines something really fun to use is a IR remote jammer. The way it works is simple. It uses a pic to blink IR led at 32khz thru 40khz. I like to use 5 led set for 32, 34, 36, 38, 40khz. You could also use 555 timers. The reason it works is because it floods the room with a competing signal, no remote on those frequencies will work.

    To try it for yourself, take two remotes, one that will transmit as long as the button is pressed down. Now try to use another remote in the same room. If the frequencies are the same, the other remote will not work as long as the first remote is transmitting.

    Fun to watch people try to figure out , is it the batteries ? the remote broken ? The tv ? All the while you have the jammer hidden from view.

  15. To add to the above. A bar owner could use the jammer I mentioned to prevent anyone from using the tvbegone. He could just switch it off behind the counter when he wanted to adjust the tv.

  16. So @will and @amishx64 would have some things regulated (such as the wave bubble that is banned under fcc rules) so that other things wouldn’t have to be? We’re not ensuring freedoms, we’re just trading some for others. I don’t think this is a bad thing myself, I just want to ensure you understand what you are really saying. We have to be careful what rights we give up.

    And @amishx64 about the government regulating what and when we watch tv? i’m sorry to those who are mistaken, but they do control both of those aspects. There are limits to what can be on TV and when it can be on. and some mediums (such as cable) enjoy a little more freedom over others (like broadcast).

  17. daryl,
    “…would have some things regulated (such as the wave bubble that is banned under fcc rules) so that other things wouldn’t have to be?”
    – Like what other things? I wouldn’t have the wave bubble regulated, I would have it banned too. People (like emergency workers) rely on these communication devices believe it or not.

    OK. Think about it. The TV is regulated to make sure little kids aren’t scarred to heck when they see mass murder right after they finish watching the cartoons in the morning. So obviously that is a necessary action.

    The example I used was meant to show that it would be unfair to not be able to use something legal you rightfully own (i.e. your TV) when you want.

    Instead of the Gov, per say, how would you like your next door neighbor controlling your TV from their window? Your TV would be turned off during the Superbowl during the last 5 seconds just as the losing team was about to make a touchdown. Just as you are going to bed, you hear your TV turn on and the volume go to the max.

    Think about it. Don’t distort my examples.

  18. ” just as you are going to bed, you hear your tv turn on and the volume go to the max.”


    is tv-b-gone really a problem? the only case where people seem to care is at sports bars watching “the game”

  19. Haha holy hell there are a load of whiners here; it doesn’t matter that I don’t have “the right” to turn off someone else’s TV, it’s fun and I’ll fucking do it if I want to.

  20. The problem with these things isn’t one person having some fun, it’s when everyone has one and no one can use their remotes any more… then vendors obfuscate their protocol/command set to stop these things working and no one can buy third party remotes any more.

    >it doesn’t matter that I don’t have “the right”
    >to turn off someone else’s TV, it’s fun
    >and I’ll fucking do it if I want to.

    And when someone comes to give you a knuckle sandwich you’ll have a lot less balls I guess.

  21. i work with ladyada on some of her kits and i also introduced mitch altman (the inventor of tv-b-gone) to ladyada and helped get the kit out, open source it, etc. there are a lot of assumptions going on in the comments and perhaps i can help out. it’s also a great conversation about the tension(s) between technology, public spaces and the love/hate of televisions in public areas. the personal attacks, name calling, threats, threats of violence, etc are not really adding to the discussion. or maybe it’s the start of a good discussion about tv making people violent?

    1. the tv-b-gone does not turn on or off tvs, people do. universal remotes and tv-b-gone clones have been around for a long time and always will be. it’s up to each person to decide how they use technology and make their own personal choices. a computer is a great tool, but it can also be used for a lot of chaos, hurt and annoyance – i think most people here would agree they’re also one of the great learning tools.

    please do not assume the device is just used to turn tvs off or on without permission. it’s actually used in many projects as well as kits for workshops. it’s also used in the entertainment industry to turn off massive tv displays on or off each day.

    i’ve met dozens (perhaps hundreds now) of young kids who started in electronics because of the tv-b-gone kit, they’re now becoming engineers or have already done so. it’s hard to get kids inspired to do electronics, science and engineering – but from my experience this kit is very helpful. if you have other kits or ideas that can help get kids interested in electronics please let me know. most kids do not enjoy building blinking xmas trees it seems.

    2. please review it has a lot of great information if you plan on building IR receivers or transmitters. the kit is open source, many people have made new variations, it’s a popular project with a wide variety of people and groups all over the world.

    3. the wavebubble (rf jammer) is not for sale, it clearly says this on the site as other have pointed out. “This design is not for sale or available as a kit and never will be due to FCC regulations. Please do not ask me to assist you in such matters.” saying incorrect and untrue things about the project or ladyada doesn’t help an anti-tv-b-gone argument.

    4. the tv-b-gone kit is very popular with workshops, ham radio groups, hackerspaces, schools, events and more. if it wasn’t, there would not be demand for it – so far no individual we know has caused problems with the device. i think everyone realizes it could be used to annoy, but the same can be said about any electronics device (tvs, cell phones, etc).

    that said – gizmodo did a “stunt”. it was (and still is) the most popular video/page on their site. they make $$ by pageviews and at the time their authors made $$ by page views, this was not a kit maker or individual and the gawker videographer was also punished / banned from the event.

    5. one of the best uses i’ve seen for the tv-b-gone is turning off tvs in empty offices and stores at night. all over the world tvs are just left on with nothing on the screens, turning these off saves power. many people ask if there is a way to turn off all the lights in office buildings for the same reason. we don’t have a kit for that but we do have the tweet-a-watt that can at least monitor power and help encourage conservation.

    6. many tvs have a “disable remote” feature. this is something that tvs have to disable any or all remote controls. i think this will be a standard feature on all tvs eventually and perhaps this will ease the fear of folks who are worried that a public tv can be turned off by “someone”. every bar, restaurant, public space will be safe and controlled.

  22. @devin

    So you point your tv-b-gone at the internets and it turns tvs off? I suspect you might have the opportunity to get “physically warned” for using this sort of thing if you actually go and use it,.. but I also suspect your “I’ll fucking do it if I want to.” attitude doesn’t apply outside the safety of your home right?

  23. There is definitely a legitimate use for this. Turning off a TV doesn’t seem even vaguely anti-social when the TV in question is blaring out of your neighbors window at 2 in the morning in the close confines of the city.

    I ordered a kit!

  24. There are other uses for this device, with custom programming. I’m considering getting one to modify into one of those “Easy Buttons” from Staples, and modifying the firmware to make it send the signals to adjust my grandma’s tv to the right input, turn her stereo on or off, and turn on and start dvds, all with the press of one button. I’d also modify it with a switch for when she’s done with the dvd to have it send the commands to switch everything back to her cable box. Unfortunately, most of this is equipment specific, the TV-B-Gone is designed to be universal.

  25. @daryl “So @will and @amishx64 would have some things regulated (such as the wave bubble that is banned under fcc rules) so that other things wouldn’t have to be?”

    Go back and read my comment again, I’ll wait.

    Did I say one word about regulation, government, the fcc, or anybody else in authority? No. I said “mind your own business, and keep your hands to yourself.” In other words, I’m calling for self-restraint. You want a TV-b-gone? Knock yourself out, I’m not going to stop you. I’m merely saying that you ought not to screw with things that don’t belong to you. I fail to see why that should be any more controversial than “wash your hands before you eat.”

  26. Also, isn’t this hackaday? we should be bitching about whether it has an arduino, or doesn’t have an arduino, or the fact that hackaday posts everything ladyada designs?

    for reference sake, I like arduinos, I like lack of arduinos, and I like ladyada’s designs. everybody ought to relax.

  27. how is it possible to extend the remote control capability of a TVBGone, that device that shuts off virtually any tv? suppose I want to stick it up in a tree, aim it at a neighbor’s tv which goes all night but want to control it from inside my own house? is this possible? I came across this website:

    which mentions an IR to RF to IR remote control device- do I need one of those? Thank you

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