The thing about the Emergency Alert System is that it’s only supposed to be used to alert people when there’s an actual emergency. So anyone viewing the trailer for 2013′s Olympus Has Fallen might’ve been alarmed to hear those telltale tones along with “This is not a test” — at least until Gerard Butler’s face hits the screen. [More]
Remember Jim? His Comcast cable box randomly responded to the emergency alert system (EAS) by tuning in to QVC. According to a source inside Comcast, rogue lightning strikes set off the EAS, even though there wasn’t an emergency. Two things happen when the EAS activates: the cable box switches to a local channel, and Comcast replaces the local programming with an alert. In Jim’s case, the box switched to the emergency channel—which happened to be QVC—but since there wasn’t an emergency, there was no special broadcast. So what can you do next time your cable box independently declares an emergency?
When Comcast activates the emergency alert system, Jim’s cable box snaps into action and tunes itself to QVC. The locked cable box refuses to tune to any other channel, so Jim is left wondering what emergency information he’s missing while staring at the latest deals on cubic zirconia bracelets.