Turn off Television Sets Anywhere with TV-B-Gone

October 1, 2008 · Print This Article · Email This Post

Mitch Altman of San Francisco, California, Inventor of TV-B-Gone, a Universal Remote for Television

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to turn off the monotonous TV in your doctor’s waiting room? If your town is anything like our Tiny Town, the doctor’s office, the dentist’s office, the ophthalmologist’s office, etc. all have an endlessly droning television set mounted high on the wall, and a restless, captive audience forced to watch the faux news channel. Would you like some peace and quiet? Less noise pollution? Less Sarah Palin?

The Amazing TV-B-Gone Universal Remote Control

While browsing the Geezer Sisters blog, our eyes lit up when we read about TV B-Gone. An answer to our prayers — turn off any freestanding or wall-mounted TV with this universal remote control. Airports, bars, laundromats, restaurants, stores and waiting rooms everywhere…all blissfully quiet. As inventor Mitch Altman of San Francisco, California wrote at his website: “You can use TV-B-Gone to control access to television for philosophical or practical reasons, or simply to have fun!” Retailing for $19.99 and $24.99 and operated by two watch batteries, the tiny device contains a small computer chip with a database of all TV remote power codes. TV-B-Gone comes in a North American and Asian model ($19.99) and a European model ($24.99). The North American/Asian model works in Canada, Mexico and the U.S., many Asian countries and countries using NTSC video, while the European model works in Europe, Australia and countries using PAL or SECAM video.

Mitch Altman, TV-B-Gone Inventor in 2006

Altman, the CEO of Cornfield Electronics, says that “TV-B-Gone was a fun way to get the message out that turning a TV on is a choice…The TV industry wants people to watch as much as possible, so they can get more advertising money. I really believe that the less TV one watches, the better off they’ll be. But how each individual chooses to use their time, that’s up to the individual.” When interviewed by PBS in 2006, Altman said he doesn’t own a television set. He watched TV until 1980. One day, he was watching a “Gilligan’s Island” rerun and decided he’d had enough. He had 50 TVs to get rid of, as he collected them.


The inventor doesn’t regret his TV-less world, saying: “My outlook on the world is so much less negative, and more positive. I’m so glad that I don’t have a TV…How much of the TV that you watch do you really like a lot? If you could choose whatever it is that you’d like to be doing right now, anything at all, what would it be? Was your answer, ‘Watch TV!’? Whatever your answer was, my wish for you is that you have time in your life to do it. Please make time in your life for what you really like. Better yet, please make time to do what you love. Wouldn’t that be great? Don’t know what you love? Try out a few things, see what happens.”

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Photo credit: DVICE, PBS and TV-B-Gone

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