We All Need a Mute Button
Last week, I was watching CNN and heard about a new gadget called the Smash Mute. The Smash Mute is a giant button that you press or smash with your fist and it will mute your television. That is all this $24.95 gadget does, but I just had to get my hands on one. In this election year we could see close to $1 billion in campaign spending, so it's inevitable that TV commercials will drive us all crazy and need to be muted.
The good news for TV viewers is that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will soon require commercials to have the same average volume as the programs they accompany. The rule is called the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act. The bad news is that this act will go into effect on December 13, 2012. This is conveniently after the United States presidential election of 2012 that takes place on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. That means we have months of political commercials ahead of us at full blast. This is where something like the Smash Mute can come in handy!
The Smash Mute arrived to our offices in a full color cardboard box that clearly shows what you are getting. The one thing I didn't see mentioned on the retail box is anything about the warranty. I contacted the maker (Damn Handy Products, Inc.) and was told that the Smash Mute carries a 1-year warranty against manufactures defects.
Inside the box you'll find the Smash Mute and a page of instructions. The instructions are easy to understand and were made with a large font, so they are easy to read.
Here is a closer look at the button. The Smash Mute reminds us of the Staples 'Easy' button. Only when this button is pressed your TV will be muted and you should have silence. The button says "Shut the #*@% up!" on it in all caps.
On the front of the Smash Mute you have two infrared sensors. The plastic Smash Mute body measures 5 1/4" x 3" x1 3/8".
On the bottom of the Smash Mute you'll find four rubber pads to keep your furniture from being scratched by the plastic housing. You also have the programming button that is labeled 'use' and learn' along with an IR receiver that is labeled 'learning port'. There is a red LED light on the bottom that shows when the button is being pressed, when it is ready to program and it blinks twice to show you it has been programmed.
We love taking things apart here at Legit Reviews, so I had to tear into the Smash Mute and see what made it tick. As you can see from the image above you have four springs on the large red button to give some resistance when you press or hit it. There is a single click sensor on the PCB that lines up with a pedestal on the button.
A fairly simple design as you can see for yourself.
The Smash Mute doesn't come with batteries, so you'll need to install two AA batteries into the Smash Mute.
Once you install the two AA batteries into the Smash Mute you need to program it before being able to mute your television. To do this you just need to slide the switch from the 'use' position to the 'learn' position. A red light will come on and stay on. You then point your TV remote (or receiver remote) at the 'learning portal' and press the mute button. The Smash Mute's red light will flash twice and that is the sign that it has copied your signal properly. You then move the switch back to the 'use' position and are the Smash Mute should be working like a champ.
We programmed the Smash Mute to several televisions and had no issues with the programming. The Smash Mute only remembers one code at a time, so you can only use it on one TV at a time. The exception to this is if your TV's happen to use the same signal. We also figured that you can program any remote button to the Smash Mute, so we tried it and found that you could. It doesn't have to be the mute button if you don't want it to be!
It should take just a minute or two to get the Smash Mute up and working!
If you consider the Smash Mute a remote, this is as simple as it gets. After installing batteries and synchronizing the TV remote signal you are able to mute your TV with ease. The Smash Mute was designed to be "so easy to program an old person can do it" and we found that to be true. This also applies when you go to use it as you just push the big red button to silence the TV. Who cares where the TV remote is as long as you have the Smash Mute next to you! The Smash Mute was designed to be hit, but keep in mind this device is all plastic and will break over time. A gentle bump on the gigantic mute button will do just fine!
When it comes to pricing the Smash Mute runs $19.95 plus $5 for shipping and handling anywhere in the United States. This puts the total price at $24.95, which might sound like a lot to some, but for others it is likely worth it. The Smash Mute is functional device, but it is also a great conversation starter and something that is fun. You really can't put a price on something like that as each person values that differently.
Legit Bottom Line: The Smash Mute is a gigantic mute button that is ideal for anyone that wants to quickly and easily mute their TV!