Review: Fake TV
April 26, 2013
Although the Fake TV is advertised like it's infomercial junk, it turns out to be a nice product. In brief, it's a small sophisticated LED light that emulates the patterns and colors emitted by a television. It's sold as a burglary deterrent, because it makes it looks like a home is occupied by someone watching the boob tube.
The device is smaller than I expected; about the size of a medium coffee cup. This turns out to be an advantage when it comes to proper placement of the device, but it was a surprise when I opened the box.
Fake TV really does generate a convincing illusion. But there are a couple of things you should be aware of, both positive and negative. On the plus side, because it's LED powered, it should last for a very long time and is inexpensive to operate. Although I use it with a timer so my neighbors don't think I"m an insomniac, it would be safe and efficient--but perhaps less convincing--to leave it turned on all the time.
(There is no off switch, you have to unplug it to turn it off.)
On the negative side, the lights aren't very bright. This means that the Fake TV has to be positioned close to an uncovered window; it definitely isn't bright enough to shine through most window coverings. I also ended up putting the Fake TV on the inside window sill because my windows are covered with a UV-filtering film that has a slightly dark tint. The Fake TV's small footprint and light weight made this easy to do. (Just make sure that outsiders only see the light from the device, not the unit itself.)
The bottom line for me is that Fake TV is a useful and inexpensive home security addition. Amazon has the best price by far, and check out the reviews if you want more opinions. It has a large number of mostly 4 or 5 star reviews.
Update: After writing this review I noticed that there is now a brighter model, the FTV-11. I have the FTV-10. It costs about $10 more, but I'd get that one if I were buying today.
The new one also has built-in timer and dusk options. The timer options remain unchanged from the first model.