There Are Spy Cameras Inside Digital TV Converter Boxes-Fiction!

There Are Spy Cameras Inside Digital TV Converter Boxes-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:
A forwarded email with links to a video of someone taking apart a digital TV converter box to reveal a video camera and a microphone.   The email claims that the government placed these devices in the converter boxes to spy on citizens.
The Truth:
There several videos found on the popular YouTube website as well as various blogs on the internet such as the one below:

According to a February 23, 2009 article on this is a hoax “concocted in about five minutes with a hot glue gun and parts from an old cell phone.”

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has mandated that all television stations in the US transmit their broadcast content digitally.  This will require every television receiver that is not already connected to a Dish or cable system to have a small low cost converter box installed between reception antenna and the receiver set.

The technology for such a spying system would be impossible, considering that rabbit ear and roof top home antennas are designed solely for the reception of television broadcast signals.

Small kits can be purchased for low power VHF transmitters but their distances only range to about 25 to 50 feet.   Licenses issued by the FCC would also be required to use this equipment.

In order to transmit images and sound over great distances higher power transmitting equipment and tall antenna towers would be needed.   Average television studio transmitter equipment consists of 19″ wide components that are mounted in metal racks ranging from 4 to 6 feet in height.

This would also pose a safety hazard as a high watt transmitter would literally fry the 300 ohm antenna wires that most homes use to connect their sets to the aerials on their roof tops.

updated 02/24/09