Hacking a weird TV censoring device

Ben Eater
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27 Nov 2022



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Well, this is ' delightful! A triumph for science. Thank you!
Coolio_Wolfus Vor 7 Stunden
The 00 01 02 seem to tell the system to compare with another word or two on the list Reads: Dick - mode censored, check next part Reads: Dick Van - mode clean.
Drake Dragon
Drake Dragon Vor 17 Stunden
I done stuff like this years ago...fun stuff... messin with prom data!
Cadnee Mountai
Cadnee Mountai Vor 18 Stunden
Y'all are in love now
Brian Vor 18 Stunden
Hey you! Go back to your hole and make more videos!!
Ezekiel Brockmann
Ezekiel Brockmann Vor 21 Stunde
@Ben Eater 20:30 my guess is as follows: The explicitly whitelisted words are articles. So if the noun is uncountable, like salt, it may call "THE salt" instead of "A salt." - Interchangeability, see? Likewise THAT vs THOSE is singular vs plural substitution. I don't know though, that's just my first thought on it.
Kedo Vor 5 Tage
Now that we know how this works, it wouldn't be too hard to rewrite the EEPROM to basically make a reversal device that would take G-rated words and replace them with unsavory ones. Run your old tapes of Barney the dinosaur through that version and never sleep well again. I suppose if you did that and then twitch streamed it, you could make some good money.
He has a point!
lordbeavis69 Vor 20 Stunden
Evil genius right there...
Sol Rosenberg
Sol Rosenberg Vor 21 Stunde
Yeah gou have aliasing but you can make it randomly or maybe round-robin map to any of the words in the set of inputs of the tv guardian that mapped to that clean word.
KishaScape Vor 22 Stunden
Or reprogram to automatically mute American politics and dumb American news.
SullySadface Vor Tag
Oooh, a copyright machine
Chauvin Emmons
Chauvin Emmons Vor 3 Tage
I am so envious of how he can just type out a search line of code without any pause just like a little machine gun.
A Brit Abroad in the Philippines
@Ivan Sciacca ok my bad.
DoctorX17 Vor Tag
It helps that he’s an android, he it only takes a tiny fraction of a second for his positronic brain to retrieve the relevant information
Ivan Sciacca
Ivan Sciacca Vor Tag
@A Brit Abroad in the Philippines I think he was referring to the idea that probably he already has done this MANY times for work/hobby already, so he is Experienced and we get to see the result of that experience, not talking about the video being multiple edits.
A Brit Abroad in the Philippines
@hglbrg I don't think so m8 this guy knows what he's doing.
hglbrg Vor Tag
if he filmed all the hundreds, if not thousands, of times it took to get there, we'd have a pretty long video. You get to enjoy the result of a lot of practice and hard work. Important to remember.
Jonathan Korman
Jonathan Korman Vor 2 Tage
It's hilarious to me that in the effort to keep (arbitrarily) naughty words out of one's home, you could buy a device that sat quietly in your home, secretly filled with profanities and blasphemy, whispering them to itself every cycle
unfa🇺🇦 Vor 6 Stunden
​@RonJohn63 I know I don't agree with it. Silly saying :P
RonJohn63 Vor 8 Stunden
@Ric Helton I've read that a jillion times, and am not sure I agree with it.
Ric Helton
Ric Helton Vor 8 Stunden
"You must first become the thing that you would destroy."
Meero Zyrell
Meero Zyrell Vor 21 Stunde
@KishaScape ...art, pron. iz koot fox boi. *shrug* ...had no idea tho actually till i googled it just now how much there is, had long forgot the artist. 😅
RonJohn63 Vor 21 Stunde
"Arbitrary"??? LOL no. It's obvious that they took most common words considered foul/naughty that could be fit in an EEPROM that was reasonably priced at the time.
Isaac Alonso
Isaac Alonso Vor 5 Tage
It would be interesting to put the eeprom back and capture how the microchip searches for words. Since they are ordered I'd expect a binary search, but maybe inside the pic ROM there's data that makes it even faster (eg: storing the positions where every character starts, so the binary search requires less readings).
Paul Romsky
Paul Romsky Vor 3 Tage
@Paul Brown I think it is a simple word match (with flags for special cases) and just replaced with the looked up (translated word). That PIC doesn't have enough program memory to hold a big program with a fancy grammatic algorithm. They could have replaced ALL bad words simply with ', but they went the extra step to give you a clue to the bad words. So, they went PG instead of G and worked the technology of the day. Closed Caption: 'SHIT ASSHOLE, YOU ARE ONE FUCKING DICKHEAD.' PG Edit: 'DANG JERK, YOU ARE ONE WOWING SHLONG END'. G Edit: ' , YOU ARE ONE .' So, even if not grammatically correct, the simple PG word replacement was better than the simpler approach.
Paul Romsky
Paul Romsky Vor 3 Tage
@Isaac Alonso. The PIC microcontroller does not have enough program memory to have a lookup address for each bad word. I think they broke up the words into groups within 256 byte blocks (why we see a lot of NULLs or 00's at the end of each block), then took the first two letters of each word to start a rough search in a specific block in the EEPROM library and then complete the search after finding a 2 character match. This way 'ASS' and, say, 'SHIT' could each be looked up quite quickly, 'AS' starts the search in the first 256 byte bank, and 'SH' starts the search in its appropriate bank (several blocks deeper in EEPROM), thereby skipping the blocks it knows it won't find it. My ZX-81 computer did something similar for variables, I can call a variable pretty much anything that I wanted, but only the first two characters are used to look up the variable: 'APPLE' , and 'APE' would not be allowed in that case. The PIC is using the same first two character to select a bank and look for matches based on the flag bytes that follow the dictionary words.
Simon Blackham
Simon Blackham Vor 3 Tage
@Hyxtryx ... it searches the whole table and stores a pointer to the last match ... therefore (for example) Dick van Dyke is found last and overwrites the Dick pointer and skips over Dyke too.
Hyxtryx Vor 3 Tage
@Paul Brown It wouldn't search for "FUCK" before "THE FUCK", because it sees the text "THE FUCK" and searches for "THE FUCK", finds it, and replaces it with an empty string. As for searching the words, notice how each block of 256 bytes contains words starting with 3 different letters. The first block has words starting with A, B, C. The second with D, E, F, etc. So it probably checks the first letter, and from that it knows which block to search.
Roger Thomas
Roger Thomas Vor 4 Tage
With the limited space in the PIC I would guess that that is a simple block table that provides an index into the 256 byte blocks found in the EPROM. So words starting A-C would index to block 0 and so on. As they seem to be on rev 5 of the firmware it would explain why one of the word blocks on the EPROM is full - they have added words and features without completely re-indexing the blocks.
Eliasdbr Vor 7 Tage
Is anyone gonna mention the amount of skill this man has with spreadsheet functions?
hey you in the bushes
A real freak in the sheets
Frank T
Frank T Vor Tag
I'm convinced that he's just an AI stuffed into a human body. Ungodly fast typing, and brilliant. I would imagine he has no trouble paying his bills.
Treska Vor Tag
*Me, having put "Excel" on my resume before*: ;>_>
JoJo Wolf
JoJo Wolf Vor 2 Tage
@May Sparkle ​Given I‘m pretty decent at programming, but still am a noob at spreadsheets, I‘m hella surprised.
Computernaut Vor 2 Tage
I didn't know it was even possible to do any of those things in a spreadsheet!
Toon Vor 2 Tage
I love that your videos go in detail and explain everything that you're doing. There are a lot of videos that would just say "I did some testing and coding and here are the results". I learned a lot from this video!
Luke Anderson
Luke Anderson Vor 3 Tage
I’m studying engineering and we just learned about interfacing and communicating with PIC microcontrollers, and it was so cool to see you doing so much of the stuff we learned about. I must have written a program very similar to yours about 100 times this semester! 😂
Text Mé On Telegrám👉Ben Eater
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Lukas Vor 3 Tage
As someone who doesnt find enough motivation to learn programming i really appreciate the pseudo Code explanation to make it understandable for everyone. Really enjoyed that Video!
💜ID 0342 - TAP ME TO have Sех wITн -ME-💜
As a software dev, I'm used to this channel explaining tools outside of my grasp. As expected, I could never dream of having that mastery of exel. (Just last week I broke the glass and used js/app script for sheets)
Text Mé On Telegrám👉 Ben Eater
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B J Vor 7 Tage
13:04 I don't know what I was expecting, but I've never seen a chip respond with such hostility to being probed
Antti Mäki
Antti Mäki Vor Tag
An old game from Commodore 64 comes to mind (The NewZealandStory), the cute little game sporting a cute kiwi, had a not so cute phrase to get cheats enabled.
Vousie V
Vousie V Vor Tag
@Bob Holowenko I guess it would be angry, given that it's filled with so much profanity. 😂
Искандер Сайфуллин
​@Andy Lundell Trust me, even today, there's a lot of profanity is hidden in the source code of the apps and games as code comments, no matter what age rating the game is
Rena Kunisaki
Rena Kunisaki Vor 4 Tage
@TissuePaper when your ROM glitches and dumps the entire Bee Movie script
Andreas Ottosson
Andreas Ottosson Vor 6 Tage
Lucky Tron didn't take place inside this "computer"
Gwonk Reefkeeping
As an owner of the TV Guardian, and a tech guy, this was a delightful deep dive. I will be rewatching this video several times. Thank you.👍🏾👍🏾👍🏾
settlece Vor 21 Stunde
poo bum bet your TV Guardian did not get that one. 💌
Cees Timmerman
@Gwonk Reefkeeping It might be possible to generate real time audio using the same voices now.
Gwonk Reefkeeping
@Phone Account It mutes the sound when profanity is used, and places a closed caption replacement statement on the screen without the profanity.
Phone Account
Phone Account Vor 2 Tage
What this device do? It replaces words in running string in tv signal? For what it was used?
William Campbell
William Campbell Vor 2 Tage
why do you own this? are you a snowflake?
Canyon Wanderer
Canyon Wanderer Vor 2 Tage
Very cool to see how you've approached this, both on the arduino side as well as the data analysis (my respect for spreadsheets has gone up a notch as well!)
Al Campbell
Al Campbell Vor 2 Tage
Very good job on this one Ben. After high school, back in 1974 I went to DeVry tech for basic electronics. This was before MCU`s and MPU`s. So I really did not get a deep understanding of digital stuff. But I managed to work in electronics the rest of my life. Mostly as a test technician at the factory level in circuit board assembly plants. Most of these places make circuit boards for many different customers, so I do get to see and test a wide variety of circuit boards. You are the kind of brain I need when I have boards that fail test and i`m just lost. LOL.
Lunar Hermit
Lunar Hermit Vor 3 Tage
Interesting looking through all the replacements and all the "naughty words" they had to program in~ Very good work, and thank you for walking us through everything!
ikkuranus Vor 7 Tage
So, do you have any plans to modify the word list and make a follow-up video? I think it would be funny to have a TV guardian which replaces common words with profanity
Greg Hilton
Greg Hilton Vor Tag
Or change everything into Cockney. 😁
Paul Crowder
Paul Crowder Vor 2 Tage
Where do I donate money to make this happen?
C6 Modellsport
C6 Modellsport Vor 2 Tage
@Wisteela Replace it with the world shit.
MISC BITS Vor 2 Tage
I wonder if you could encheferise the captions. Bork Bork Bork!
ETXAlienRobot201 Vor 2 Tage
@Dimitar Nikolov eh, why go to that extreme? then again, harry potter with guns is a thing...XD
Fernando Zigunov
Fernando Zigunov Vor 4 Tage
It would be great to see a follow up on how it reads the closed caption data and sends the mute signal / injects the cleaned up strings. This was really cool to see though! You're awesome!
Text Mé On Telegrám👉Ben Eater
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Resident Boe Jiden
Im glad someone is teaching how to test this stuff no matter how cheaply built. I found this very useful and replaying it too. That said if i see one of these anywhere i might just accidentally destroy it. Censorship isnt the answer its teaching the kids when to properly use the words they’re going to inevitably learn
Andreas Vor 7 Stunden
I guess some of them do have their time and place.
Thanks for the step-by-step walkthrough of how you approached this (compilation errors included!) instead of just jumping to the end. And for not using the chip programmer! Really top notch.
gdutfulkbhh Vor 4 Tage
This was fascinating. Also very good to see a master at his craft, when you were coding. Thanks.
Text Mé On Telegrám👉Ben Eater
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Subhasis Chakraborty
you are the only one who breaks down technology every bit by bit, just to let us understand. Thank you man, you are the best teacher.
Crabby Vor 18 Stunden
@Subhasis Chakraborty yes just one solar flare and rude words will rule the earth again! 😊
Subhasis Chakraborty
@Cooper yah, i agree but all i want to say is, this kind of channel/people are very very rare..
Subhasis Chakraborty
@Andrias Stefandi yes, all it takes is one soler flare or one asteroid unfortunately ☹️
Andrias Stefandi
Andrias Stefandi Vor 2 Tage
I'm a bit afraid that future generation will not know something like this.. and if something happens, the technology will forever be lost, and we have no idea how to rebuild it.
RogerRamjet Vor 3 Tage
I've based entire units of work I do with my students from Ben Eater's videos! They're so good.
zfg hbs2889
zfg hbs2889 Vor Tag
Thank you everyone who donated, so glad to be apart of this community, so glad I was able to see the stream and donate what money I had
Polar Blue
Polar Blue Vor Tag
First I didn't even know there was such a thing as a TV censor device. Second the way you tear through the layers of unknownium as if it were tissue paper is truly amazing. I am astonished by seeing stuff that only a true Brainiac would know about thanks for making the video it was really a neat ride through the Wabbit hole territory!
Joe Mieszczur
Joe Mieszczur Vor 2 Tage
GREAT VIDEO! I really loved the speadsheet-fu to actually show mostly how the program works, minus how the graphics physically work in the code. which might make a neat follow up, maybe dumping the micro controller and checking its assembly code to see how its drawing things to the screen in general, so you could make your own picture in picture device. maybe for your graphics card on a breadboard lol.
pablojrl123 Vor 2 Tage
Didn't expect a video like this, good job! Would love to see more unofficial collaborations specially dealing with old hardware.
Nathan Williams
Nathan Williams Vor 2 Tage
This video showed up in my “recommended” and I was floored with how much information was coming at me. The knowledge, skill, and speed was jarring (in a good way). I actually started laughing because I was so impressed. I’m definitely going to be watching more.
Merry Midlight
This was one of the coolest presentations I've ever watched. I've always wondered what goes into a project like this. It made it feel so much more approachable.
The Nephilim
The Nephilim Vor 2 Tage
I was just writing a comment about how I didn't understand how matching closed captions to a database would be able to mute the spoken words of a movie or TV show. Those TV Guardian devices seem to still exist today. There's a current website where you can still get them 🙈 And it says that whenever the device comes across a censored word in the closed captions, the sound would be muted during the duration of the complete sentence, which probably means that you'd miss like half of the context of any modern action movie 😂
Simon Jones
Simon Jones Vor 16 Stunden
@Adventures in Modern Recording oh, my vocabulary is sesquipedalian, and I rarely use any expletives myself, reserving them for rare occasions when they are apposite. But, I don't take offense if other people use them, particularly in creative or amusing ways, which is usually the case in film and television where every expletive has to be justified.
Adventures in Modern Recording
@Simon Jones Or perhaps you could just learn to accept that some people still have class and an adult-sized vocabulary instead of suggesting that we stoop down to your level.
Simon Jones
Simon Jones Vor Tag
If you watch the Technology Connections video you see that, encountering a banned word, the sound is muted AND the caption is displayed, with the offending word REPLACED by an innocuous one. That's why device contains a list of replacement words. So you can still follow what's going on without being offended. Alternatively, you could join the rest of us in the 21st Century and stop being offended by swearing and blasphemy.
“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” is now a silent movie 😁
InGameLevi Vor Tag
I thought I was just going to see something interesting today but I think you've taught me how to read data off of a microcontroller and the sheer godlike power that Excel has over data conversion.
mauro foti
mauro foti Vor 7 Tage
In Technology Connection's video (at time 7:07), you can see that the Guardian removes articles attached to the foul word (in that cases it censores "What the fuck is that?" into "What is that?"). The whitelisted words are all articles (the, that, those) that would have to be removed to maintain the sense of the phrase. Probably for the microcontroller firmware, the fact that the word is whitelisted and has a substition bit (0x1) flags it as "if encountered before a foul work, also remove that article"
Sa'ruk Maktao
Sa'ruk Maktao Vor 3 Tage
In the google docs spreadsheet, you can actually check all the words and phrases. It looks like it's looking for the language listed, so if you were to blacklist "word", it won't filter out "wor" but it will filter out "word" and "words" or "wordlist". It does also include "the fuck" on line 142, and it's set to replace it with, nothing.
JdeBP Vor 5 Tage
@NeunEinser No. He noted that he misread "go go away" as "go go away your". Because of course "fuck you" is in the list, and matches "fuck your". You are trying to guess at meaning when there is no extra behaviour to actually account for.
NeunEinser Vor 5 Tage
@JdeBP In Technology Connection's video at 13:10, he noticed in edit that "your" was additionally removed but "fork off your" is not directly in the wordlist, yet "your" is one of those curious words. Presumably, "the fork" is just there additionally to have a different replacement word compared to just "fork", so it would probably already have included "the" and replaced "the fork" with "wow" if "the fork" wasn't explicitly configured to be replaced with blank. Similarly, both "hell" and "the hell" are specified but "hell" only applies in strict mode whereas "the hell" is always filtered. As for the 01's and 02's it's hard to guess since they are so rare and we don't have enough data of examples where words with those numbers specified are filtered, especially in conjunction with the special allow words. One guess is it could be a bitmask for which of these allow words can be applied (where all are applied when the bitmask is not specified) but it's impossible to say exactly without either decoding the program or experimenting with the device a lot. I also doubt it applies serious advanced grammar rules of some sort given the very simple nature of its design. So in short, I agree with the op's theory that those allow words are additionally removed around censored words, and as for the additional numbers we can only guess.
jort93z Vor 6 Tage
@JdeBP I am not gonna scroll through a thousand comments to find yours, lol. Edit, found it. It's not really addressing anything I said. Most of the stuff in that comment is pretty obvious. Still, as I said, I believe the pronouns were intended for dick and woody.
JdeBP Vor 6 Tage
@jort93z Go and read what I actually wrote in that top-level comment before asking what I realize. (-:
Billy Dotcom
Billy Dotcom Vor 20 Stunden
I really enjoyed this. Thank you for narrating through each step and live coding. It looked like Java but contained a couple of things I didn't recognize. Really great content, I appreciate your time.
Dustin Rodriguez
Dustin Rodriguez Vor 8 Stunden
This is exactly what I wanted to see after the Technology Connections video! I knew that there had to be someone on DE-vid who could just pull the chip and dump its contents and document exactly what the thing censors and how it goes about it!
Dorian Anreiter
Dorian Anreiter Vor 2 Tage
this video was utterly amazing. I watched the TC video and loved it. so now watching this pt2, as it were, was fascinating. especially because of late I have started mucking about with arduinos and writing code, whilst learning about electricty. so it all really made sense. (yesterday I managed to use an ESP8266 with an attached dht11, to read the temp and humidity from a location in my house, send it to a website (thingspeak) and then use another esp8266 with a little oled screen to display that data) In a somewhat circuitious manner, my present voyage of discovery into electrical matters was occasioned by watching TC videos (the ones which mentioned flyback transformers, and the wiring in his house) and realising I knew sod all about any of it. that was months ago and here we are. I can now watch videos that talk about the shapes of waves and nod knowledgably. DA
Bru2al1ty USA
Bru2al1ty USA Vor 2 Tage
Technology connections is a great channel; I'm so glad you are back to releasing videos again. Keep up the good work.
Ah, yes, my favorite classic film actor, Jerk van Gay
Sitra Ahra
Sitra Ahra Vor Tag
@Friendly Octopus Actually, that's exactly what happened! 🤣 I was wondering about the Dick van Dyke thing and whether it might be related to some odd lawsuit so I went and googled for: Dick van Dyke "TV Guardian". It gave me a WSJ article[1] from '99 where the creator mentioned that they tested the device with Mrs. Doubtfire where DvD was mentioned - and his name consequently got butchered. He then went and fixed it... And the original "bad word list" came from Carlins "7 Dirty Words" script. 🤣 [1]: WSJ: articles/SB919287241129534500
Sparkette Vor 4 Tage
@Rena Kunisaki I remember you from Twitch Plays Pokémon. You might remember me too under the name "flarn2006"
Rena Kunisaki
Rena Kunisaki Vor 4 Tage
@Sparkette replace "gay (homosexual)" with "gay (happy)", makes perfect sense 🤪
David Kempton
David Kempton Vor 4 Tage
@David Gillies 😂👍
Doug Gale
Doug Gale Vor 5 Tage
@Sparkette Yeah, at 15:27. Makes me wonder if there would be outrage about a product blocking "gay" today.
plasmar1 Vor 2 Tage
Technology Connections is easily one of my fav channel when relating to video quality, definitely comes off as a well thought out and researched
Justin Franks
Justin Franks Vor 10 Stunden
The different values separating the "naughty" words is probably to set which level of filtering the word applies to. There are a few different modes on the TV Guardian with different levels of censorship. _Edit: You figured it out at the end._
reallifeistoflat Vor 3 Tage
this was both very entertaining and really cool. i've been wanting to explore into the world of electronics and arduino and i would've never considered that you could extract data from the tv guardian. neato.
Text Mé On Telegrám👉Ben Eater
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DorffMeister Vor Tag
Thanks for doing this! After watching TC's video no long ago, I thought "It should be easy to identify and dump the ROM." Very cool!
Joel Anderson
Joel Anderson Vor 8 Tage
I got a kick out of Technology Connections' coverage of this device and was thrilled to see it examined further here. What a nostalgic surprise to learn a PIC is at its heart. The reverse circuit engineering reminds me of the work Big Clive does on his channel. I wonder if we can get him to puzzle out the purpose of the comparator? Imagine that: my three favorite YT channels all dissecting the same device! A nerd's dream, come true.
Squelch's stuff 'n' things
@Marc Intosh Absolutely. I'm not even sure if that was in doubt, and Ben shows his method admirably here albeit with some questions remaining over some of the word flags. The whole Big Clive thread was just more cross pollination I believe, and somehow meandered into NTSC and TV ownership. Neither of which are prerequisites.
Marc Intosh
Marc Intosh Vor 5 Tage
@Squelch's stuff 'n' things While that certainly would be interesting, it's not needed to reverse engineer the circuitry.
Squelch's stuff 'n' things
@Marc Intosh Indeed, but to fully understand the replacement words/phrases, it might be useful to run some "live" tests. Alec certainly found some doozies where it failed or simply produced nonsense dialogue in the closed captions.
Squelch's stuff 'n' things
@ce neblock I seem to recall that he doesn't think much of TV fare so doesn't have one. I know he likes to let TV licensing waste their time badgering him. TBH, I'm in the same boat, and only watch streaming services, but did acquiesce and report I didn't need one.
Marc Intosh
Marc Intosh Vor 6 Tage
@Squelch's stuff 'n' things You don't need a TV to reverse engineer this.
Keith K
Keith K Vor 9 Stunden
I've been coding for 20 years and this guy just blows my mind at how writing a arduino code is like talking normally. "oops thats data not byte" seriously, great skills
Bas .botberg
Bas .botberg Vor Tag
I have great admiration in the way you're very practically explaining your journey of hacking this weird device. Especially your practical approach and clear narration inspire me for future challenges. Thanks for sharing.
SergTTL Vor 2 Tage
What a nice work! Thank you and thanks to all the patrons of this channel.
TimeHunter Vor 5 Tage
This was amazing! I find this kind of video fascinating, seeing how by putting a 1 or 0 in the data tells the device what to allow and block. Some strange substitute words though, some make no sense.
Text Mé On Telegrám👉 Ben Eater
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mabus42 Vor 7 Tage
Now that we know how this works, it wouldn't be too hard to rewrite the EEPROM to basically make a reversal device that would take G-rated words and replace them with unsavory ones. Run your old tapes of Barney the dinosaur through that version and never sleep well again. I suppose if you did that and then twitch streamed it, you could make some good money.
Mission: Ed Possible
I was looking for this comment, and if I didn't see it, I was gonna post it :)
mickey thompson
mickey thompson Vor 4 Tage
@mabus42 Cool idea... it could replace the word ''love''' with the F-word. (Sing the Barney song...)
mickey thompson
mickey thompson Vor 4 Tage
@Stephen Walker "Oh sod it, the bloody thing's stuck again." (That out-take actually got used much later in the plush toy Clanger with the sound chip.)
WeatherStone Vor 5 Tage
happy to see that i was not the only one to thought of that, except the barney part, he give me creeps no matter what he says.... geez
TheDuplicator Vor 5 Tage
I'm sold.
grimcity Vor 2 Tage
Cheers, I stumbled upon this breakdown and it was utterly fascinating! I'd heard of these devices but had never seen one... never expected to get drawn into this the way I did! Great stuff, mate! Incredibly interesting!
qwertykevin1 Vor Tag
Coming from being a technology connections fan. This video is absolutely mind blowing and yet so confusing. It's just so fascinating hearing you narrate the code you write and it's incredible it all works. You have earned a fan and I'm so impressed by the whole process. Have a awesome day sir and thank you
Will Kew
Will Kew Vor Tag
This is an excellent video - really neat demo of SPI, reverse engineering a chip and a board, everything... super cool.
Matias Ikkala
Matias Ikkala Vor 3 Tage
Your videos are awesome! This is exactly the kind of stuff I wanted to learn when starting to study CS. Unfortunately it rarely goes to this level, and when it does, it is never explained as well as you do.
Text Mé On Telegrám👉Ben Eater
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Cookieglue Vor 7 Tage
It's so funny seeing someone as chill as ben talk casually as there's such violent profanity in the background 😂
Scott M
Scott M Vor 2 Tage
@megabooooo so ridiculous. What is 'hugs' doing in there?! Meanwhile, there's probably people blasting away with guns in the background video. But as long as there's no 'profanity'!
Iidi Knavely
Iidi Knavely Vor 3 Tage
i'm proud to be an early achiever
ClutchNorris Vor 3 Tage
@Jere Pakkala Aye its mad I think In Scotland we first got taught Sex ed in Primary 5/6 which is about age 10 then later on in high School at around 12-14 we obviously got a much more in depth Sex Ed then an even more in depth Sex ed at like 16/17. Its Natural at the end of the day and Im thankful we got that education
Jere Pakkala
Jere Pakkala Vor 3 Tage
@megabooooo The reason why "condom" is censored is the same reason why American sex ed takes place far too late in schools and is extremely surface-level. Sex is seen as obscene and crude and not as something natural that children should know about. It's the same reason why the entire nation lost its mind when Janet Jackson had her nipple showing for less than a second during the Super Bowl halftime show in 2004
Anthony Berube
Anthony Berube Vor 3 Tage
@Nethescurial I'm really curious as to what your favorite words are...
PastaAivo Vor 2 Tage
Reverse-engineering tech is quite fascinating, it's amazing how many different parts are needed to make even the "simple" stuff tick.
Henrik Andersson
Henrik Andersson Vor 2 Tage
The split up into blocks tells me, a programmer, that it is using a very rough indexing setup. for each candidate word it looks at the first letter and based on the letter starts reading the correct block of data. This is marginally faster than a linear search without being very complex to implement.
un_known_origin Vor 2 Tage
Although that all went pretty much over my head that was very interesting. I have a slightly better understanding of how electronics are coded something that has eluded me for a long time.
Grunto Polouski
Grunto Polouski Vor 2 Tage
First time the new DE-vid “zoom” feature was more than just neat - it let me see the tiny connections between the pins! A rare YT win! And then the silly scope! Double win! Glad I found your channel! Looks like DE-vid thinks I’ll like watching you as much as I like watching Mark Rober! (Subbed to your channel, and also that of technology connections - thx!)
John Jones
John Jones Vor 7 Tage
The PIC microcontroller used only has 2K of program memory. Besides doing the word substitution, it also interfaces with the CC decoder IC, on screen display IC, and mutes the audio. All in 2K. That's some neat and tight coding.
John Hodgetts
John Hodgetts Vor 23 Stunden
@Al Banana I was about to comment about Elite. By the way, of the 32K the BBC Model B computer had, 20K was used for the screen display memory, leaving Ian Bell and David Braben only 12K for their code, written in assembler! The eight galaxies, together with their planets, their locations, economic data, population, etc was not stored, but procedurally generated using the Fibonacci series and a starting seed number. They had to reject a certain starting seed when they discovered a planet "Arse" had been generated.
Smidge204 Vor 2 Tage
@Meneldal I've done a fair amount of hobby-level development for the Attiny series, which typically only have 1 or 2 KB of flash, so it's always in AVR assembly. There's basically no other option!
Meneldal Vor 2 Tage
@Smidge204 If you remove the printf dumping over serial which probably takes a lot of space, code like this should compile to something quite small. A pretty straightforward translation of this to ARM/AVR assembly or similar RISC with 16 bits instructions would definitely not take anywhere close to 2k bytes. 200 bytes however seems like a pretty difficult ordeal, even for handcrafted code.
chitlitlah Vor 3 Tage
@Al Banana I'm checking it out right now. I love tricks like that: using code segments as data segments, overwriting code, etc. I've made small programs just to see if I can do stuff like that.
16vSciroccoboi Vor 4 Tage
@fattestallenalive he literally read only the external eeprom in the video and nothing off the mc that this comment references. The fuck?
Ralf Rolfen
Ralf Rolfen Vor 2 Tage
Thank you very much for the detailed tour! I feel like I got closer to understanding technical sheets!
💞Lina- g0 T0 M-Y chаnnеl livе *now*
I live for cross-over videos - I love Technology Connections and your channel, Ben. Really good to see the story continue :D Thank you! PS: I've been tinkering with my own 65C02 computer on breadboards and revisiting 6502 assembler from my childhood (it's been too long lol) - All thanks to you!
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Aaron R.
Aaron R. Vor 2 Tage
I am curious as to how this device would deal with the audio. I can see how it would be easy to replace words in the subtitle track but beeping them in the audio track would be much harder. I assume the subtitle track will not tell you exactly and precisely where each and every word shows up in the audio track but maybe I am wrong about that.
Meero Zyrell
Meero Zyrell Vor Tag
Wow, for some reason you make all this stuff a lot easier to take in and still keep me focused. Amazing.
Hugo Dahl
Hugo Dahl Vor 8 Tage
I'm wondering, since the device also does audio drop-out, could the "mystery bytes" indicate whether audio should drop out? Perhaps in relation to strict mode?
Kees van de Wetering
@s10jam Patreon, I guess
jort93z Vor 6 Tage
Okay, so my theory is basically, the words woody and dick both have 01 after them(and they are the only two that do), because they can also be used as names. If they have any of these allowed articles marked with a 1 at the end in front of them, they will be blocked, otherwise the box will assume they are used as names and not block them.
Username Vor 7 Tage
@Swordfish393 He does say to watch the Technology Connections video first, it sets the stage and answers most questions about how this works before diving in to the block/allow list stuff.
Hugo Dahl
Hugo Dahl Vor 7 Tage
@chitlitlah Same, but it's what seemed to be most "obvious" to me. Alternative use might be the type of match for the text; something like "Starts with" "contains"? Days later, still wracking my brain about it!
Hugo Dahl
Hugo Dahl Vor 7 Tage
@s10jam Early access before release through Patreon.
NoNameNerds Vor 3 Tage
Oh nice... I was already considering to get one of these myself to figure out if I can get the list of bad words out of it... this is really straight forward. Great work!
Errol Neal
Errol Neal Vor 4 Tage
Really impressive analysis. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with the world!
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Icarus Vor 7 Stunden
This seems like the base method you'd use to reverse engineer any chip, really cool video
I had one of these when I was a kid. Our model was such a pain to use, we eventually just unplugged it because it would silence entire sentences and made watching anything a real chore. My whole family would get so upset everytime it sensored something trivial like "butt". I guess now as.... an adult... I'm curious. Could you reverse engineer this to replace common everyday words with swear words? Could be a fun little project.
TheFoxyNixon Vor 2 Tage
Incredible. I remember my parents had one of these growing up. I had completely forgotten about it 'til now.
knight meh
knight meh Vor Tag
wow im glad i never caught on to code because yeah this talk just goes over my head but i do know things are being done and i for one kinda enjoy watching other people do and explain things i have no real idea about
Leuel48Fan Vor 4 Tage
Aww this is so cool man! Had just seen the Tech Connections video on the device, and when he said "if anyone could extract the word dictionary" you came to my mind. BEN EATER DOES NOT DISAPPOINT!!
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TheMan InBlue
TheMan InBlue Vor 3 Tage
Absolutely great investigation work ! Hats off Sir 👏🏼 And great technology for the time !
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wayne logan
wayne logan Vor 7 Tage
I started watching your videos about three years ago and my reaction was usually, "what sorcery is this!" I am now finishing my second year in electrical and electronics engineering (you can guess who is partly to blame for this decision 😂) and for the first time, I can say that I understood everything you did. You are such an inspiration. A role model too while at it. You sort of make embedded systems accessible en masse. Like an adult explaining a math problem to you, but it involves ICs and bitwise operations. lol ❤
fexworldwide Vor 3 Tage
I'm so glad to read this because I've been watching these videos for years too, and sometimes I feel pretty dumb that I really only have the barest idea of what's going on. It's reassuring that I would need to have been spending year studying to really be able to keep up (congrats to you for doing so!). It's true that Ben's explanation of these detailed concepts is very accessible and clear, but sometimes that makes feel it feel deceptively straightforward when it's actually really complex.
Ross Radford
Ross Radford Vor 4 Tage
@SpaghettiEnterprises The joke is; the difference between having a PhD is realizing how much you don't know!
One More Guy Online
I'd make an XOR joke, but either way I'd be the 1 appreciating it the most.
Mad Scientific
Mad Scientific Vor 4 Tage
@florkgagga probba Schools teach principles. Not real world. I'm sorry but it's just how it is. I'm not negating their place in the mix... But attempts to blow smoke up my ass aren't going to work, when I've seen time after time after time where it failed to meet expectations in the real world. As an old boss put it more than once, "take the paperwork into the bathroom, it'll serve better there". His point was you can't teach critical thinking, and all the school in the world can't make up the difference. People either got it or they don't, and the information alone is useless. Without the critical thinking, watching someone try to apply the knowledge would be much funnier if it wasn't so sad. People pigeon hole themselves into positions they can't handle all the time... I've seen enough of it that I don't even care to work anymore until the educational systems are reformed. Passionate usually wins over educated in my experience. The difference is in what the drive is for... One is seeking to expand their universe and make a difference in ours in the process, the other just saw the numbers and wanted the check.
florkgagga probba
@Mad Scientific I beg to differ Mr. Mad S. there definitely are ways to learn something in school that you can use in real life! Oh, I'm in Europe, maybe there's no point... but seriously, back then, I was a teen in the 80s, in high school (I guess, we call it middle school, age 14-18) i was studying to be an electronics technician. Didn't make much of it, after all it was in a slightly underdeveloped country where the proliferation of tech progress was sort of tied to political affiliations so the teachers were not super motivated to invest into really getting us up to spot. But, there were ways to get past that, for example if i only knew how important the proper instruments were, including soldering stations with all the gadgets, we could have organized so every one in class gets what we can and organize sharing equipment that was too expensive to get individually. And go on with sourcing chips and other stuff that goes on a pcb from throwaway stuff. Even in Yugoslavia it was not impossible to get microprocessors from the 70s, if I only knew how important that was, alas I saw most of it as a chore to chew through, ofc lamenting that we had to study so much other stuff, like history and biology and whatnot. I was envious of the american school system, at least what we saw in movies, they seem much more project oriented as opposed to pronounced "ex cathedra" teaching that I experienced, but there were ways to hack oneself to proper education. I think even today it helps if a kid that's bright but not too fond of school (like my 11yo) focuses on the 2-4 teachers and their subjects that they like and treats the others like assistants. And there you have real life, figuring out how to talk to teachers is much like later talking to colleagues and superiors.
Wayne Vor 2 Tage
This was really cool ,I have never ripped code and looked through it and while some was hard to understand you explained it good and made it understandable. Many thanks for sharing & as always stay healthy
uxwbill Vor 4 Tage
Fascinating. I definitely learned a few things! (I think I need to watch again to let everything you did in the sketch sink in.) Amongst the many problems with this idea, the lack or extremely sorry/degraded state of closed captioning data seems the most severe. There's also the matter of the closed caption data sometimes lagging behind the audio, especially on live TV. It's probably a bit much to expect even a very bright kid to figure out how to strip the VBI data, but I could see definitely see one weakening the incoming signal to the point where it's still watchable but that data is mangled!
kindlin Vor 2 Tage
@uxwbill He has a certain... sense of humor. It grows on you. Kind of like Sabine.
uxwbill Vor 3 Tage
@kindlin I plan to do that when next I have a moment. However, I'm replying mainly because DE-vid says there are three replies to my original comment, yet yours is the only one I see. Edit: on a device where I am not and have never signed into DE-vid, I see that one of the replies is scam spam that's all over this and many other comment areas, but the other seems perfectly legit. I will admit I'm not the biggest fan of Technology Connections' personality, no disrespect whatsoever intended. :-)
kindlin Vor 3 Tage
You're going to want to watch the Technology Connections video that started this, it covers most of your points.
Mr Byamile
Mr Byamile Vor 3 Tage
Even a low IQ kid could figure out how to remove the RCA jack and bypass this device.
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Ly khai
Ly khai Vor 5 Tage
One of the best things is that he never takes credit for himself when he achieves something. He always respect us, the audience, and his team, and he is always polite in all of his videos. We congratulate ourselves on this achievement. More to come and everything to come :(
momentum Podcast
momentum Podcast Vor 4 Tage
Copy pasta
Roger Thomas
Roger Thomas Vor 4 Tage
polite? I've never seen so many cuss words used in a single video :)
InternetLad Vor 4 Tage
I came
Turk Wendell
Turk Wendell Vor Tag
Good for this guy to give respect to technology connections and all that he seems like a professional guy whoever makes these videos
Nicholas Cary
Nicholas Cary Vor 6 Tage
I work in the closed captioning industry developing hardware and its really cool to see how things were handled then vs now with relatively simple hardware!
test Vor 9 Stunden
@Nicholas Cary What's 608 and 708? And why is re-embed it back into the video stream amazing? Wasn't that just modifying some plain text that was sent to TV? Or did it bake that new text into actual frames itself? It's just hard to understand what's amazing without knowing how it works in detail.
Nicholas Cary
Nicholas Cary Vor 10 Stunden
@test For live and post production we mainly use an AI that is trained on specific language models to generate the 608 or 708 caption data, then the data is embedded on the video stream that is sent out. We feed a list that is user updatable to the AI the essentially does exactly what was explained in this video, but the data is changed way upstream before it gets to the user. I find it fascinating that they used hardware to analyze the caption data, change it, then re-embed it back into the video stream. Its a very simple yet amazingly effective method.
test Vor 11 Stunden
How is it done now? AI generates CC from speech or hat is the main difference?
seble Vor Tag
Thank you for your service!
Hank Kingsley
Hank Kingsley Vor 2 Tage
When it comes to censorship there is no limit to how creative people can get
Migles Pigles
Migles Pigles Vor 2 Tage
Dude you were already my hero, I watch both channels (and a bunch of others in yt) and it's really a surprise you were the one to take this task, I mean it surprised me for the better
Kedo Vor 5 Tage
It's so funny seeing someone as chill as ben talk casually as there's such violent profanity in the background 😂
Guillaume Nani
Guillaume Nani Vor 3 Tage
Very interesting and instructive video! As to the mystery 01 and 02, here's my guess: The device censors both the captions and the sound, so these numbers might represent how long it should censor the sound. I believe Technology Connections mentioned it mutes the sound around these "offensive" words.
Kieran Vor 3 Tage
It mites the sound the entire time the caption would be on screen.
Sol Rosenberg
Sol Rosenberg Vor 21 Stunde
Well you did a good job of the captions filtering but didn't exactly cover how the muting of explicit audio works. In my experience with CC, they can be VERY much out of sync so this would result in either mismatched "bleeps" or excessively long bleeps while that caption was on screen to be conservative. I wonder how they approached it.
Yami Vor 5 Tage
I have to wonder, what prompted the rewriting of the code to display the data in a hex editor fashion? Are you planning for a part 2 messing around and probing at the chip with specific injected bytes or just a force of habit?
Yuri Bacon
Yuri Bacon Vor 4 Tage
I just assumed its because its easier to read and analyze. I mean, if I was doing this myself I'd find a way to just dump the EEPROM into a .bin file and open it in an actual hex editor instead of making clean serial output. I imagine they did that silently anyhow, to speed up putting everything into a spreadsheet of data.
N Hansen
N Hansen Vor 2 Tage
I've got an old TV with that built-in. I had to get a CD from the manufacturer that disabled it. The technology was anything but perfect. On the set, I had it would bleep out random words.
John Smith
John Smith Vor 2 Tage
I'm truly thankful for you, Ben. For the last few years I've been on-and-off wanting to learn how to use Arduino for interacting with simple microcontrollers, but I've been kept back by the fear of failure, and I retreat to avoid that. Watching this video gave me all I need to get over that fear after realising that I'm able to understand and follow most of the steps you've presented. On this weekend I've already started doing. I have an old toy book lock and I'm trying to connect to its microcontroller to read the PIN code to unlock the book lock. Thank you for inspiring me!
John Smith
John Smith Vor Tag
@James1095 I don't know what you're doing, but it's way less effective than you think it is. You're talking logic to an emotion. That doesn't work. I didn't reason myself into an emotion, so I don't expect to reason myself out of it. What worked is watching this video.
James1095 Vor 2 Tage
You should never be held back by fear of failure, to avoid doing something because you might fail instead guarantees failure because you never even tried. You can get an arduino clone for just a few dollars, what is the worst that could happen if you never get anywhere with it?
wisenber Vor 2 Tage
I enjoyed the way you composed the video to make me feel like I knew how to do what you were doing, but in reality I don't. I was about to grab my soldering iron and bread board then go to town, but I realized I'd be spending half a week looking up the rest of it.
Andrei Baciu
Andrei Baciu Vor 8 Tage
The reverse engineering we never knew we needed :)) great video! This has the potential of a series, no doubt about that
D. Vor 7 Tage
Oh I immediately thought about ben when I saw the original video :)
pouu ktin
pouu ktin Vor 5 Tage
Great video. You never cease to amaze me (a moderate hobbyist) with your technical cunning. Keep up the good work and teaching and inspiring people.
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electron Vor 4 Tage
Engineer thinking, analytic solving and great logic! Like always 10/10! Great!
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seakayaker20 Vor 2 Tage
Teach by fostering a relationship with the material! Loved this on many levels.
Ynot Webb
Ynot Webb Vor 23 Stunden
I appreciate the descriptions of the different chips and their functions.
MrKltpzyxm Vor 7 Tage
I wish I could like this video twice. This is such a nice, condensed collection of knowledge and skills combined with a practical demonstration of their use. I feel like you could develop a whole curriculum just based on this video. Not a Masterclass, but an inspiration for designing a class or, more likely, set of classes that result in the ability to perform the tasks in this video. (This is all from the perspective of someone who has spent decades watching, listening, and reading about other people doing interesting things, but never learning them myself. I feel worried that anyone with expertise is rolling their eyes at this effusive praise, but this video just clicked for me in a way that made me feel like there is a path that I can still follow to get there too. Sorry for dumping my insecurities out. Unfortunate habit of mine. But the venting helps. Writing long, rambly, meandering DE-vid comments is mostly harmless and feels like free therapy sometimes.)
ezra cramer
ezra cramer Vor 4 Tage
true, I was fiddling with arduino for some time based on theoretical practices&examples, this thing totally blew my mind
NEWQ Vor 5 Tage
What's wild is how much he got done using just a damn spreadsheet. I switched careers from information technology and went back to college for a science degree. I barely touched Excel working in IT, but doing science things, we use it constantly. I guess you bring it full circle when you start doing computer science!
Jessy Vor 7 Tage
I am finishing off a computer engineering degree and the concepts in here were covered this year, such as what a PIC is, an SPI, a breadboard, reading input/output/clock, timing diagrams, reading datasheets, seeing the data in a table of hex and ascii in the format he showed, microcontrollers, shifting, binary addresses, etc. Seeing it applied so practically is insane to me and I wish this was used as a consistent example throughout our studies to make it more meaningful than the confusing projects we got.
ShadowStep sanctuary
ShadowStep sanctuary Vor 15 Stunden
It is so much more fun dismantling dissecting and reverse engineering any and every product then it is to use a product designed to do that for you Props and amen to you!
I knew after I saw Alek's video on this I'd be seeing other people interested in it. Awesome job. It is really a unique device.
yoymate Vor 22 Stunden
this was great. i’d never seen arduino code before and yet i could perfectly understand what you were doing
P Vor 2 Tage
Is the final text ("TV Guardian", "The Foul Language Filter", "Dictionary Version 1.05", etc) ever actually displayed on screen? It looks like an internal reference. The manufacturer likely has ROMs for many different products. It could be a copyright trap. To clearly identify who made the original data when it gets cloned or pirated.
Mr. Nybbles
Mr. Nybbles Vor Tag
I think only the Substitute words are displayed via the Closed Captioning system (replacing the original words). The Text about "TV Guardian The Foul Language Filter Dictionary Version 1.05" not only documents what that chip is used for (like in a repair shop setting), but also if someone had several versions of the source code, they could just look at the end to see which version they had (usually the manufacturer) so for something that is likely never shown to the end-user it is still incredibly useful information when you deal with a lot of similar things. There really wouldn't be a reason to display the text on the screen since the user already would know they were using the product and might not want their children to know they were using it, but sometimes companies go out of their way to annoy their consumers (*cough* Microsoft telemetry randomly making my hard drive nice and noisy when I boot up *cough*).
Aidan Vor 18 Stunden
Even though I couldn't finish watching the video because I have no idea what I am looking at, I do recognize the incredibly high quality of it. Keep up the good work, your videos are probably very cool for the people who have a understanding of chip programming.
Swearing and obscene words are happily growing all the time 🤯😊 I initially wanted to know the dictionary but you explained what you are doing so well I got more interested in the programing BTW I was not expecting such obscene words and I have been mentally damaged 🤯except to be sued.... eventually... 🤯🤣
Christopher Vor Tag
Nice demonstrations from ROM to Excel. This is some epic free content.
TheBastardCommie Vor 8 Stunden
Wow, this was so complicated and well broken-down. I feel like I need to pay you tuition.
Rusty's No Man's Sky Connection
As to the comparator, it wouldn't surprise me if it's taking the output of the re-write chip and only replacing it in the video blanking window if one of the switches on the back is at the position that requests it. The idea being that if you are watching TV with Little Joe, and Grandpa Joe, if Little Joe can't read, and Grandpa Joe can't hear, he can at least read the original dialog, but little Joe doesn't get either.
Michael Dawson
The only viable use for this I can think of is for waiting rooms where there is a TV to distract waiting people, but its on mute to prevent the TV from interfereing with the secretary's work. The chip would keep things mostly G-rated.
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In Technology Connection's video (at time 7:07), you can see that the Guardian removes articles attached to the foul word (in that cases it censores "What the fuck is that?" into "What is that?"). The whitelisted words are all articles (the, that, those) that would have to be removed to maintain the sense of the phrase. Probably for the microcontroller firmware, the fact that the word is whitelisted and has a substition bit (0x1) flags it as "if encountered before a foul work, also remove that article"
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Christian Linnell
"'Bitwise and' the decimal representation of that binary string with 31, so that'll just grab the last 5 bits." Such a great example of fantastic teaching. You ignored the more obvious substring functions to sneakily showcase a way of thinking about bit string manipulation.
threeMetreJim Vor 5 Tage
A quick look at the 'video super-imposer' IC datasheet would suggest that the PIC micro is generating the video signal for the text, as well as doing the censoring. A fair chunk of the code space in the PIC is probably taken up by the character bitmaps.
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Using power tools the wrong way
How does a USB keyboard work?