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Christmas Gift Guide
Culture

Keychain clicker kills TVs

Discreet device turns off televisions, creating a little peace and quiet. Until the yelling starts.

A keychain gadget allows people to turn off most televisions, whose flashing images and background drone inventor Mitch Altman compares to second-hand smoke.

Baseball fans during a pennant chase might disagree, but the TV-B-Gone universal remote control may be fun for its kitschy and, most importantly, discreet appeal. While not the first device of its kind, the $14.99 gadget is inexpensive and can turn off every model of U.S., Asian and European television, according to the company, San Francisco-based Cornfield Electronics. The product is available through the company Web site and select retail locations.

The keychain remote control does not damage televisions--it only turns them on and off.

TV-B-Gone and other devices like it may not be popular among consumer electronics and PC makers, many of whom are centering or emphasizing the television as a vital device in the digital home.

Sales of high-definition televisions, as well as of digital audio players and other high-tech gadgets, are expected to drive solid growth in the consumer electronics category this holiday season, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.

The diminutive remote control is the first product from the company. "I consider TV-B-Gone a personal safety device," Altman said in a statement. Probably not in the middle of a sports bar in October, though.