How to Hijack Times Square Screens with your iPhone


…or not. I’m calling this a brilliant fake, similar to the giant iPhone table from a while back.

“The way it works is pretty simple: plug in my transmitter into the headphone minijack of an iphone 4 and play back any video clip. you can play it through the ipod feature or through the camera roll. the transmitter instantly sends the video signal to the video repeater and the video repeater overrides any video screen that it’s being held next to. it doesn’t matter what shape or size the hacked screen is because the hack video will simply keep its correct dimensions and the rest of the hacked space will stay black.

i chose times square for my demo because it has lots of video screens to try it on. it is also one of the most monitored and secured areas in new york city and that made it that much more fun :). you can see in my video that the repeater is pretty powerful but the signal is not very stable yet. i’m working on that. i will post a new video later this week explaining how i made this prototype.”

Check out this video below, and let me know your thoughts. Fake or real? 😉



  • Anonymous

    pretty sweet, if real

  • M Summers 1

    Meh. Would be really cool if it’s real. Maybe it is. But I could do the same thing in after effects easy with motion tracking and a mask.

  • Anonymous

    Good video but totally fake. When he used the balloon to take over the large screen there was a CNN screen just below it showing advertising for Piers Morgan and then the weather and it was not affected at all. His “repeater” would have to interrupt the video input and the inputs for these 2 different screens would be somewhat the same distance from the repeater so they should both be affected.

  • Jmac

    I want one!

  • AnonymousGuy

    Totally FAKE! The 3.5mm audio jack on the iPhone is for audio-out only. LMAO!

  • Calgary

    why was the cnn screen still on the bottom

    what makes me laugh is, who has time to go out and do all this….doesnt this guy (and his friend) have better things to do>?

  • Anonymous

    actually you can buy an iphone accessory for credit cards that lets you use it as a swiper (whatever its called)
    it goes in the 3.5mm jack and you swipe your credit card to make a payment

  • Haha

    Maybe yours is limited like you say (you should return it)…

    Mine also receives audio when I use the mic on the headphones that were included and receives data when I press the remote on the headphones to skip/pause songs or adjust the volume.

    I’ve also seen a credit card reader that plugs into the same port. It’d be useless for you though, since yours is for audio-out only.

  • Haha

    Let’s call it a “reader”.

    It reads credit cards.

  • Boo

    I think YOU’RE for audio out only!

  • JohnnyC

    Hey guys,

    I work in post production and have worked on my fair share of paintboxing, tracking, and compositing shots. If this is fake, I don’t see obvious signs of it. I will watch again because I’m only on my iPhone, but simple things to look for…

    1) The reflections on the screen when it goes momentarily black – are they consistent/ believable? On my first view, Yes.

    2) How the light being thrown from the screen itself illuminates surroundings. Again, seems realistic on first viewing.

    3) In addition to point 2, the transparency of the balloon and the visible light through it changes with the screen. The balloon itself could also be added in post however, which is made easier by the far distance.

    Of course these shots are all possible to fake, but the advanced level of work required would be pretty deterring. People with the means would more likely be spending their time working on high-paying post production gigs.

    The biggest problem I have is not the compositing, but the screen types. I have to question the screen that is split into 4-quadrants displaying one image instead of each screen getting taken-over individually. In this case, if the tech is overtaking a wall of screens acting as one display, then the “hack” is being performed on the video feed hardware, nit the screen. In other shots, there would be no such hardware present, yet the “hack” still works. Big inconsistency for me.

    Watching again.

  • JohnnyC

    Yeah, watched again. It looks perfect on my phone. The realistic light bounce (from the affected screen and onto his jacket) as well as the reflections are perfect….

    I still don’t believe how this could be real (video out from the headphone jack?) – but from a technical standpoint, I can find any flaw in their footage. It’s incredibly well done if it’s fake.

  • JohnnyC

    Ok, I watched again. It’s definitely post work, but damn they did a good job. It’s also telling that they shot it 4 days before they posted it because they needed some time to put it together. Very impressed.

  • Thanks for your insight. It definitely looks ‘real’ at first, but after a
    while you’d figure something like this would be pretty tough to pull off.

  • ML

    You spent so much time analyzing the video footage whereas you only had to ask yourself one simple question: why would all TV screens apparently have a built-in wireless transmitter to get the video feed? They don’t and that’s where one should just call it fake and move on UNLESS the guy is using technology that he was given as a reward for the anal probe that aliens took during his abduction.

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