Prevent TV Sports Spoilers with TickerBlocker
I’ve been reviewing tech products for 25 years, but this is the first time I’ve ever written about a strip of elastic.
It’s called the TickerBlocker. “What we’ve created,” the inventors wrote to me, “is a low-tech solution to a high-tech problem: spoilers for sports fans, and information overload for everybody.”
They were referring to the information ticker that scrolls across the bottom of your TV screen on sports and news channels.
I’ve had my beefs with those tickers for years. They’re distracting. They’re unnecessary. They presume to know your reading speed. (In Europe, they don’t actually scroll. Each headline appears, in full, at the bottom of the screen, and lingers for a few moments. That’s less annoying, and you can read at your own speed.)
When I complained about that ticker in a 2008 column, a reader wrote: “David: I’ve been hoping that TV manufacturers would add a ‘cover the crawl’ feature that would just put a black bar over the crawl.”
I wrote back: “I love it! But cynic that I am, I’m quite confident that no TV company will ever offer this feature; the cable companies would scream bloody murder. Although there’s nothing to stop some enterprising entrepreneur from marketing a horizontal strip of black vinyl that you tape onto your screen yourself…”
I was kind of joking. But a couple of enterprising entrepreneurs took me seriously—which brings us, six years later, to the TickerBlocker.
It’s a stretchy black six-foot strip of elastic with Velcro on the ends. You’re supposed to strap it across your flat-screen TV, blocking the ticker.
I mean, how dumb, right? But also how brilliant! I know—I know—there are people out there who would absolutely install this thing. Especially since it’s just $10.
The research for this review took all of about six minutes. I tuned in to ESPN. I peeled the adhesive off of the Velcro pad—
—and affixed it to the back of the set. The other Velcro patch went on the other back side. The corresponding Velcro on the ends of the TickerBlocker gripped the patches nice and tight.