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Hidden Camera in DTV Converter Box Hoax is Lame

YouTube video says the government spies on consumers through converter boxes.

Image via Wired
Tom LeBlanc · February 26, 2009

The DTV conversion is baffling enough without pseudo conspiracy theorists claiming that government-subsidized converter boxes are spying on them.

Over 300,000 YouTube viewers have watched a man from Spokane, Wash, crack open a Magnavox converter to reveal a tiny camera and microphone. He alleges that the devices give “the government or whoever the ability to spy.”

Watch the video below.

It’s a hoax and an apparent joke, as the perpetrator, 28-year-old Adam Chronister, readily admits. Wired has the story.

Chronister, a software engineer, shouldn’t quit his day job.

To be fair, the people who watched Chronister’s video probably don’t include many who are still confused by the DTV conversion. And there is plenty of confusion out there. Back in February, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) said that 18 percent of over-the-air TV households had yet to prepare for the DTV transition.

Subsequently, President Obama signed the DTV-delay bill, which pushes the transition from Feb. 17 to June 12. The idea is to allow more time for educating and getting consumers prepared for the transition.

It also allows more time for Chronister’s unique brand of slapstick, conspiracy theory comedy.

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  About the Author

Tom has been covering consumer electronics for six years. Before that, he wrote for the sports department of the Boston Herald. Migrating to magazines, he was a staff editor for a golf publication and an outdoor sports publication. Now, as senior writer/technology editor of CE Pro magazine since 2003, he dabbles in all departments and offers expertise in marketing. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Tom at

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  Article Topics

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