Scare Away Burglars By Giving the Impression You’re Watching TV

Scare Away Burglars

Convince a burglar youʼre home watching TV while youʼre out and youʼll improve your chances of him leaving you alone.

You probably remember me saying how important it is to give the impression someone is home when youʼre out of the house. You probably remember how this is one of the best ways to deter potential burglars, because theyʼd like to avoid the hassle of running into someone.

I want to tell you about what I found to make doing this easy.

A TV left On Is Very Effective

One effective way to give the impression someone is home is to leave your TV on.Even if someone outside canʼt see the TV itself through your closed blinds or curtains, they can probably see the flickering light it gives off.

You can simply leave the TV on or put it on a timer (or maybe it even has a built-in timer).But leaving the TV on wastes lots of electricity, wears down your TV and shortens its life.

I found something that gives the impression a TV is on in a room and does this for a tiny fraction of the cost of a TV and does so while using a lot less electricity.

Fake TV

What I found is called FakeTV, a product you can find at Amazon for about $30. The companyʼs web site has more information. You might remember me mentioning it in a recent podcast’s Home Security Resources segment.

What It Is And How It Works

The device is pretty small and contains a bunch of LEDs of various colors that come on and off in various random patterns to mimic the brightness and flickering of a TV.

Most of the LEDs are white, but other colors are mixed in randomly, to change the overall color, just as the overall color youʼd see from your TV changes as scenes change, channels change or commercials interrupt what youʼre trying to watch.

Itʼs a clever little device.

FakeTV Features

Itʼs simple to operate. Just turn it on.

Or take advantage of some extra features and use the “dusk plus 4 hours” and “dusk plus 7 hour” settings which use a built-in ambient light sensor, so that the device can come on when the sun goes down, rather than staying on constantly and wasting power.

A feature I really like is the price. For only $30, you can put one in several different rooms in your house or apartment, such as a living room, kitchen and bedroom.

My Experience With FakeTV

Iʼve been using a FakeTV for several months now. I was intrigued after I first heard about it and decided to check it out. Iʼm thinking about getting a second one.

From outside, I think it really does look like a TV is on in the room. It works really well.

I have mine set up to come on when the sun goes down which is in the late afternoon (thanks to my living in the north!).

Tips For Using FakeTV

Hereʼs a few tips based on my experience, in case you decide to get one:

  • If you put FakeTV on a timer or have a lamp on a timer in the same room, be sure to not use the auto-dusk detection feature!
  • Otherwise, set it to come on at dusk. Use either the dusk+4 hours or dusk+7 hours setting depending on the time of year (in other words, how early it gets dark where you live). If itʼs in the dead of winter and it gets dark early, like before 5 PM where I live, youʼll want the dusk+7 hours feature to keep it on until about midnight.
  • Aim it toward a window to maximize the effect
  • But donʼt put it so close to the window that someone could easily see the device and know itʼs not a real TV
  • Use the regular On mode when youʼre just going out in the evening.


Giving the impression someone is home doesnʼt have to be difficult or expensive.

The occasional clever device like this one coming along also makes it really easy!

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