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How to Hack Together a TV Celebrity Silencer

For those of us working from home, television is useful resource for news and monotony-breaking entertainment, but 24-hour a day programming quickly runs out of real content. To fill the remaining hours of space, we get hours and hours of reality TV stars, burnout celebs and the latest annoying non-scandal scandal and other basically pointless information. If your job requires to you keep the TV on it can be maddening having to sift through filler on the way to actual news.

Make Magazine editor Matt Richardson feels the same way. Tired of hearing about “Donald Trump’s feud with whomever or Charlie Sheen’s most recent rant,” he came up with an ingenious solution to the problem that can be easily duplicated with a little effort and a trip to Radio Shack. With a couple of Arduino boards and a Nootropic Video Experimenter Shield, he hacked his TV signal and decoded the closed-captioning transmission track. Then, with an original code linked to a cleverly repurposed infrared LED, the device he built sends a signal to his TV remote that activates mute for 30 seconds, every time certain keywords are spoken.

It isn't a perfect solution. You're going to have a lot of cables running between computer and TV, and closed-captioning doesn't always sync up perfectly, which means, as you'll see in the video Richardson posted to Make, an initial use of the forbidden word might slip past the system. But if you have less than a hundred bucks and some patience, it's a pretty elegant solution to a problem that might otherwise be solved only be throwing your TV out the window.

You can see more, including the specific components and codes, over at Make Magazine.

  • christop
    Nice I would love this for commercials.
    Reply
  • bak0n
    Just wait. The media will find a way to sue over this.
    Reply
  • lp231
    So if CC is enabled, you won't hear the words that's filtered, but you are still going to read it?
    Reply
  • beardguy
    He probably did it becuase he could more than anything else. Glad to see someone put their brain to use.
    Reply
  • back_by_demand
    Problem is, if you programmed it to mute for all the useless crap on TV it would only be unmuted for about 4 minutes every day.
    Reply
  • beardguy
    One a side note: How about entering keywords that would turn your TV on (or unmute it) everytime something of interest came on? That would be cool.
    Reply
  • billybobser
    Re: beardguy

    Yes, if you had specific interest areas, such as finance. But for a broader real news use, you'd had to know interesting stories before they arose to know keywords for it.
    Reply
  • clonazepam
    ^ its so rare, you'd miss it.
    Reply
  • clonazepam
    You used to be able to leave CNN on all day and not have to worry, but they're just as bad these days with all the stupid Apple, Snookie reports, etc...
    Reply
  • lp231So if CC is enabled, you won't hear the words that's filtered, but you are still going to read it?
    You don't need to have it on to get the data you need.
    Reply