Arduino device mutes uninteresting celebrities on TV

Matt Richardson of MAKE built this wonderful Arduino device that scans a TV show's closed caption track and mutes the TV when anyone on of his celebrity-blacklist is mentioned.

The Enough Already: The Arduino Solution to Overexposed Celebs


  1. I assume the blacklist can include politicians as well as celebrities? If so, I agree with Toffer99.

  2. 2010: “Who’s Khloe Kardashian? See, I wouldn’t know, because I don’t even OWN a TV.”
    2011: this
    2012: the Arduino revolution begins
    2019: “You’re mad that your sentient toaster is using your credit card number to order pornographic comic books from eBay? See, I wouldn’t know, because I don’t even OWN an Arduino.”

  3. I generally don’t watch entertainment news anymore, so I’m not inundated with celebrity crap. And I suspect the people who claim to be “sick of” hearing about a certain celebrity, actually secretly crave that very gossip. So nobody will use it.

    Still, pretty good idea.

  4. As a closed captioner for the hearing impaired (though my work is mostly consumed by gym rats and bar flies) I approve of this.  There are few things more annoying to caption than celebrity news.

  5. Apart from Al-Jazeera, I know of no news outlet that does not routinely babble about insanely irrelevant morons, be they the Hollywood, political, religious or the increasingly typical hybrid type.  This is genius and should be standard issue on all new TVs and any streaming media devices that send the same info.

  6. It would be better if it could be hooked up to a PVR and do on the fly assembly edits; i.e. stop when a celebrity story is mentioned and then restart the recording when a new story has begun, using the cache feature of the pvr to go back 10 seconds into the new story so you don’t miss the start. Like a voice-activated recorder but reversed.
    I wonder how his honey badger is doing.

  7. I wish we all had one of these and I wish every mute was reported (without personal identification information) to the networks. Maybe when they see so many people muting their crap they’d broadcast less crap to begin with. 

  8. I would add Google’s automatic-transcription service to the mix, since it’s
    notorious on Youtube for messing up on perfectly normal speech. Supplement annoying speeches with ridiculous captions!

  9. Definitively would love to see this type of home-brew target commercials as well. Since there are no individual signatures for commercial CC, you would probably require some library of known commercial CC to reference quickly – but even if it was to lower the volume – fantastic.

  10. As has been said above, I don’t see it because I don’t watch anything on TV that would ever refer to a celebrity (unless tortured by it in places I can’t control, or leave (e.g., doctor, car repair place, jury duty — a half hour of morning TV is enough to turn the brain to silly putty!)  Just say no! 

  11. I picked up an old device for tvs that would read the closed captioning and mute the sound if naughty words were mentioned. Endorsed by Mary Lou Retton, she happily sits around the censored tv with her family.  Bonus: The instruction manual, as, well.. you have to list the words.  I wanted to hack it, but hey, this is easier.

  12. As television commercials are broadcast with something called “color burst” and feature audio with all dynamic range hammered out, I’m sure someone can make an Arduino box that would auto-mute all commercials.  Hell, I bet they could make your DVR auto-skip the commercials (instead of the appreciated, but inadequate, 30-second advance button allowed by the broadcasters now).

  13. Way simpler solution, just get rid of your tv, after the addiction wears off, whats left of your brain will thank you.

  14. I use internet. I don’t watch any tv any more. I recommend you to do the same.

    Stay informed, stay mentally fit.

  15. Interesting.
    Could you use this technology to create a “video/audio” mute?
    (When you press the mute button, not only does the audio mute, the video shrinks down to a user-definable size on the screen. You could adjust the size to be just big enough to allow you to recognize when the show has resumed, so that you don’t have to watch a full screen of obnoxious advertising.)

  16. My remote has a button that fixes this problem. It’s called the on/off switch.  I only turn it on when I’m ready to stream Netflix.

    The only way to fix the problem is to stop watching TV altogether.  Go live your life instead.

  17. Remember the TED Talk a while back about “information bubbles” and how sites like Google would edit your searches to remove things you weren’t interested in?  Wouldn’t this be another (albeit, self-inflicted) example of an information bubble?  Maybe we should just make Reddit-style Up/Down vote buttons for programming…  At least then it would be an inclusive thing.

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