Hand Clapping, Hand Waving and TV-B-Gone

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

A TV system from JVC which can change channels or turn itself off and on by listening for particular sounds, such as a handclap?

Hand-waving computer control for computer games (primarily) but of course would also work for ‘touchscreens’ (but they wouldn’t be a ‘touch’ screen then) or for kiosks or digital signage?

All shown at the recent Consumer Electronic Show (CES) of course and nicely (we think) summarised here in last Friday’s Guardian Newspaper.

Strangely enough VidiAct doesn’t get as much / any / enough publicity as it deserves. VidiAct is part of Quividi’s Camera System (for Audience Measurement) – a great little tool that allows a user in front of the camera to control events on the screen by moving one’s head. Quividi were not at CES by the way.

Perhaps from a Digital Out of Home point of view one of the big stories from CES was Gizmodo’s sabotage of the digital screens – they, errr, turned lots of them off with an infra red remote control. The best perspective on this was written by Bill Gerba here

Gizmodo thought this humorous whereas exhibitors and the organisers were (rightly we think) livid.

It does however prove a point that we have mentioned before in presentations which is why use screens for digital signage that are designed for the ‘consumer’ market at all?

At shows and events, perhaps we can understand why exhibitors would have or rent consumer LCDs or PDPs but it amazes us in business deployments why one would go to the expense of buying screens with lots of things in them that you don’t need – errr like an IR remote control (which was used to turn off the screens at CES).

Screens designed for the consumer market also of course have volume controls, sound sometimes, on / off buttons etc. that are most often not needed in Digital Out of Home deployments.

As TV-B-Gone is readily available from Amazon for less than UK PDS 15 you can bet that some idiot(s) will try the same stunt at ISE and Screen Expo. If you have a stand and you are using IR equipped digital displays you may want to disable the IR port – just to be on the safe side. A strong, THICK piece of sticky tape over the IR port should do the trick I am reliably informed!

One Response to “Hand Clapping, Hand Waving and TV-B-Gone”

  1. Bill Gerba Says:

    I agree that consumer-grade screens should generally not be used in public-space installations, *however* this was the CES — the Consumer Electronics Show, and as such was supposed to be THE place for manufacturers to showcase their consumer goods. I’m sure that lots of those screens simply don’t possess a feature that will disable their IR ports, because that’s not too useful for the average consumer.

    Likewise, WRT simply taping over the IR port (which IS something we do recommend all screen owners do), again the manufacturers shouldn’t have to do that. They paid a lot of money for their booths, they spent a lot of time figuring out how to make their kit look as attractive as possible… I see no reason why they should have to mar the appearance of their multi-thousand-dollar screens with a bit of black tape because some show-goers decided to be childish.

    CES was right in permanently banning the responsible “reporter” from Gizmodo, and in fact I think they should consider banning that publication entirely. And if I were one of the manufacturers… I’m not even sure that a lawsuit would be out of line.

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