April Fools may be over, but any day is a good day to prank someone, and the best time to do it is when everyone's eyes are glued to the television.
Turning off a TV during a climatic moment is the best way to prank a TV-obsessed sibling or friend, but it's even more hilarious when you open this prank up to the masses. Just imagine what would happen if you turned off the TVs in a sports bar during the last 30 seconds of a tie game.
If you've got some Arduino skills, you could make a "TV-B-Gone" to kill all surrounding televisions, but your Samsung Galaxy S4 is more than capable of ruining climatic TV moments in pubs and other public places for you.
Just like the HTC One and Galaxy Note 3, your GS4 has an infrared (IR) port for controlling televisions. You could use the stock WatchON app to pair with community TVs, but its too much work, too obvious, and will control only one set. Instead, you'll want to use The Off Button app by dev codisms.
Skip ahead to the end of this article for a chance to win a copy of The Off Button. This app will also work with any device that has a built-in IR blaster, such as the HTC One M7 and M8, Galaxy S5, LG G2, and the Galaxy Note 3.
I am not responsible for any beatings you get. Use at your own risk and try to not get caught.
Turning Off Other People's TVs
Instead of having to pair your GS4 with other devices, The Off Button works by sending out universal IR power codes (367 to be exact) while you point your device towards the television you'd like to shut off. Cycling through 367 codes will take roughly seven minutes, though most functional codes will be between 1-100.
After cycling to the correct code and having the television turn off, press the large power button again to stop sending signals (otherwise it will turn the TV back on).
Note: You won't be able to kill every single TV in a bar or pub at once, since you have to point your IR blaster at each TV individually, but it could be a relatively quick process if the TV models are all the same. See the next section to speed things up.
Saving Power Codes
Cycling through numerous codes can be annoying when you already know the one that works, so cut that time out completely.
If there's a television you want to regularly shut off, like at a local bar or your workplace, then take note of the code between 1 and 367 that turns it off, then go to the Saved Codes tab.
In here, you can save various codes for use at another time. Tap on a slot, label your code (i.g. "Dad's room"), then simply input the code that shut that specific television off.
You will now be able to automatically shut off the television without cycling through countless codes. Convenient, right?
Wreaking True Havoc
Want to get some great laughs while out with friends? Then spend some extra time with The Off Button when out at a sports bar or something.
Attempt to save as many codes of televisions in your vicinity, then use check the Send Continuously at the bottom of the My Codes page. This will definitely get your bartender annoyed (or thinking about the supernatural).
And It Could Get Even Better
It's a minimal app with some major amusement, and will turn you into the TV terror you always wanted to be. One improvement that I would like to see is to have the app ask if I would like to save a code as soon as it works. This would make it a little easier on users, though it's not a huge deal.
Spend the measly 99 cents, it's worth the laughs, or enter our contest below for your chance to win a free copy.
How to Win a Free Copy of "The Off Button"
Update: 9am PDT 4/21/14: Contest is now over, thanks to all those who entered. Winners will be notified shortly.
The developer has given us permission to give away ten free copies of the app. Complete the following to be automatically entered:
- Follow @wonderhowto on Twitter.
- Follow the developer @codismsDev on Twitter.
- Tweet at both accounts a quick note on how you would use The Off Button, with an #theoffbutton hashtag.
Example: @wonderhowto @codismsDev I would love to use #theoffbutton to mess with my sister who always watches the Kardashians
The contest will end on April 21st, 2014, at which point ten winners will be sent instructions on claiming a free version of The Off Button, directly from the developer. So, what would you use the app for?
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does it work with nexus 7
Unfortunately, the Nexus 7 doesn't have IR blasters, so no.
Shoot, I Already Bought The App
You can try emailing the dev (email@example.com) or tweet at him with your situation, maybe he can offer you a refund (though I'm not sure what the policy is regarding that).
But since you bought it, if you have a phone that has an IR blaster, you can use it on there.
Developer here. An IR blaster is required. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a full refund.
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