This cheap security gadget simulates your TV being on while you're away, and I kind of love it

This little TV-mimicking light is a brilliant way to battle burglars when you’re away from home

Defender Plug In Simulated TV
(Image credit: Red Line Security)

After more than a year stuck inside, it’s great to be getting outside again – but unfortunately as things go back to normal that means they go back to normal for burglars too. While the best security cameras can sound sirens and capture footage of the culprits in the act, it’s even better to stop burglars from picking your home in the first place.

There are several ways you could do that. You could buy a tiger and let it roam around the garden when you’re out. You could make a neon sign with an arrow pointing to the neighbour you dislike and the words “next door has better stuff”. Or more practically, you could try the Defender Plug In Simulated TV.

Defender Plug In Simulated TV

(Image credit: Red Line Security)

Fake Plastic TVs

As you’ve probably guessed, the Defender Plug In Simulated TV makes it look like your TV is on when it isn’t. It’s an array of 12 coloured LEDs that does a good job of imitating the light patterns of watching TV. Someone eyeing up your blinds or curtains will see moving changing colours behind it, like you'd get from a TV.

This is a smart option for a number of reasons. First of all, it uses much less energy than an actual TV. Secondly, it’s much smaller than an actual TV, so you can take it to a different location or on holiday to deter burglars there. And thirdly, it’s got a dawn to dusk sensor so it’ll go on when it gets dark and switch itself off when the sun comes up. It’s best teamed with the best smart bulbs so the house lighting is on a timer too, but it’s quite happy as a stand-alone device. Finally, it costs less than £20! (Sorry, we don't know US availability yet).

Of course, the illusion will be spoilt if you leave a gap and the burglars are able to look in the window and spot that the light they’ve seen isn’t coming from the TV. That’s when the tiger gets them.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (