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back to article Forget 3D: 13,000 UK homes still watch TV in black and white

13,000 households in the UK still watch TV in black and white, telly licence fee collectors have revealed. In an age when TV sets are often internet-enabled with high-def plasma screens and 3D capabilities, some people obviously like to keep it simple. And cheap too. At £49, a black-and-white TV licence is cheaper than the …

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Alert

Hmmm...

Cant help thinking that [number of black & white licenses] != [number of people owning black and white TVs] :-)

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Happy

Re: Hmmm...

In many ways, yes :-)

1 - [number of people owning black & white TV] will include those who already have a colour tv & licence

2 - [number of B&W licenses] <= [people who require one!]

3 - [number of B&W licenses] will also contain the set [those buying B&W licence to get the inspectors off their back and know to turn the colour off in the very unlikely scenario where someone comes round]

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Anonymous Coward

Especially

as the digital switch-over happened some time ago in Manchester, and it's unlikely anyone got a special set top box to work with an old black and white set.

No surprise that Salford is chav capital of Manc???

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Especially

Manchester and Salford are not the same place. They are both cities.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Especially

Whatever man, it's the same place.

This isn't a geography lesson

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FAIL

Re: Especially

a special set top box to work with an old black and white set."

A cheap freeview box with a UHF o/p will work just fine with any "modern" b/w TV. Maybe you are thinking of the positively ancient 405 line VHF sets?

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Thumb Up

Re: Especially

Yup, Freeview will work perfectly on any 625 line TV if you can connect it, you can even get Freeview HD boxes that down convert to an RF output. :D

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Anonymous Coward

I'm fairly sure 90%+ of those are people with colour TVs but just declaring them as b/w to stop hassle from TVL for not having one at all. Seems very little point administering a different license for so few people.

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My thoughts exactly.

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Meh

Totally Agreed.

John Trenouth's suggestion that it is low income house holds that will have a B&W TV just doesn't hold water for me. It always strikes me that the 'low income' household tend to be on every benefit they can apply for and have all the latest technology such as large TV's, games consoles, iPads, Cars and holidays every year.

Eaqually likely that it is working families with 2 or more kids that have had to cut costs due to the cost of living shooting up like a rocket these days and wages not keeping pace.

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Anonymous Coward

You possibly read the Daily Mail too much then.

...although nasty tower blocks do tend to be covered with Sky dishes.

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working families with 2 or more kids might even be low income families claiming in work benefits.

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13,000 households, surely it cant be that hard to send someone round to check up on these obvious fraudsters...

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Anonymous Coward

> surely it cant be that hard to send someone round to check up on these obvious fraudsters...

The TV licensing people have no right of entry to your property so all they can do is stand at the door and ask you of you have a colour TV or colour PVR*.

* If you have recording equipment connected to your B&W TV that can record in colour then you need a colour license.

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Stop

"It always strikes me that the 'low income' household tend to be on every benefit they can apply for and have all the latest technology such as large TV's, games consoles, iPads, Cars and holidays every year."

Like that Cameron fellow claiming disability allowance for his son, despite being stinking rich you mean?

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@ Simon Round

You forgot to blame Labour for the increase in living costs/wage stagnation.

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I hear what you say....

but you should have worked harder at school and got a better job, like I did! then you wouldn't be so bitter and twisted about people not being allowed to starve to death in one of the richest countries in the world cos they cant get a job.

<curse you godwin>

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They could always use their super-accurate TV detectors

http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2003/06_june/24/licensing_detector_vans.shtml

It says they have them here, so it must be true. The BBC operate to the highest possible standards of honesty and integrity. They would never make inflated claims in a press release.

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Happy

Re: @ Simon Round

@Lamont Cranston

You are quite right. Mind you I blame all MP's and political parties for the state of the country.

Wouldn't want to be accused of favouritism.

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Devil

Re: I hear what you say....

@Naughtyhorse

I did work hard at school and have worked hard in every job I've had since school and have a pretty good job at the moment.

In my comment I am just playing Devils Advocate. Basically saying that there is an assumtion being made that it is low income family with B&W tv licences and that this is not necessarily the case.

I also have no problem with "people not being allowed to starve to death in one of the richest countries in the world cos they cant get a job".

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Black Helicopters

@jonathanb

You don't mean to suggest these vans.. Don't exist! Surely not?!

Seriously though I thought it was just me wondering where the money is being embezzled.

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Anonymous Coward

Might be blind people? after all, they only need the sound. They get a discount already though.

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Big Brother

So would a chap who is colourblind qualify for the discount? So many questions...

I suppose there could be others in the household who are not colourblind.

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Anonymous Coward

The blind and partially sighted still have to buy colour or black and white licenses but they get a 50% discount.

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resident resides there on a permanent basis, then yes, he is entitled to legally own a BW license...

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Sorry, title went AWOL

As long as there are no other permanemt tenants then yes, he can use a colour set on a BW license..

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Anonymous Coward

WTF?

Special set top boxes need to be bought to adapt colourless tellies for the digital switchover.

Is this true? If so, why? B&W sets always managed perfectly well with an analogue colour signal from a transmitter. Why should it be any different if the signal is generated by a set-top box?

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Boffin

Re: WTF?

I take it that it's because black and white TVs don't have composite video signal input connectors and needs a RF converter? Given how most set top boxes nowadays lack RF output.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WTF?

My cheap Freeview box has an RF Out, so connects to any TV with an RF in. Nothing "special" about it. Mmm, perhaps it is more special than I thought then.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WTF?

I assume this is because your license cover NAY device capable of receiveing a TV signal - If you have a 'normal' set-top box, you need a colour license. There were cases years ago of people with B&W TVs but with normal VCR's being done. But maybe the licensing authority has seen sense since then...

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Boffin

Re: WTF?

I'm willing to bet that the RF-out is simple a pass-through of the incoming analogue signal - no digital signal added. Pretty much every set-top box has one of these, but I only know of one that adds decoded digital to the output.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WTF?

Your are ok with a colour STB, but not with anything that can record in colour. If your VCR/PVR records in colour then you need a colour license.

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Stop

Re: WTF?

There's nothing special about it - it was a slip of the keyboard for whoever wrote it. Any black & white TV won't have DVB tuners in so, like DVB-tuner-less colour TVs, they'll need a Freeview box - any Freeview box. No special box for black-and-white TVs will be needed, as long as they have the usual RF "aerial" socket.

There is no such thing as a digital signal, it's all broadcast using the exact same UHF channels as analogue - the box merely interprets the "1s and 0s" to make up the picture.

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Re: WTF?

"There is no such thing as a digital signal, it's all broadcast using the exact same UHF channels as analogue - the box merely interprets the "1s and 0s" to make up the picture."

That statement is nonsense of the highest order. You've essentially just said digital doesn't exist and then gone on to explain how it does.

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DN4

Re: WTF?

> There is no such thing as a digital signal,

DVB signal is an MPEG stream. Please describe how to interpret it non-digitally...

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Re: WTF?

praps thats why my bullshit detector lit up when i read that passage in the article

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Re: WTF?...There is no such thing as a digital signal

heheheh

quite right, but you will upset and confuse the hell out of many commentards saying such blasphemous things on the reg.

akshully i heard its yer actual noughts and ones being sent down the wire - you know just like in a chip.....

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Re: WTF?

There is no such thing as a digital signal,

conversely find me an mpeg decoder that can decode a stream that isn't analougue (i.e. made of volts and amps, suffering from ohms, farrads and henries)

it may be encoded in a way that _can be seen_ as digital, but the nature of the signal is analogue.

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Re: WTF?

quote: "conversely find me an mpeg decoder that can decode a stream that isn't analougue (i.e. made of volts and amps, suffering from ohms, farrads and henries)"

Unfortunately for your argument, since electrical charge and magnetic charge are quantised then they are, by definition, digital. Quantum electrodynamics would indicate there is no such thing as an analogue electrical signal, since it can only be a subset of discrete values, rather than continuously variable :)

Note that digital and binary are 2 seperate concepts in this context.

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Re: WTF?

Put this down to poor sentence structure. It implies "all black and white TVs, because of their vintage, require a set top box to receive digital television" and not "black and white TVs require a special kind of digital set top box".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WTF?

"There is no such thing as a digital signal, it's all broadcast using the exact same UHF channels as analogue - the box merely interprets the "1s and 0s" to make up the picture."

You fail at DVB-T/T2. Go and stand in the corner.

Mine's the one with QAMs in the pocket.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: WTF?

Actually, it's about old TVs needing an RF analogue signal and modern digital boxes offering only Scart or better. If your cheapo Freeview has an RF out it's highly likely it's just a passthrough and thus the signal fed into your B&W telly will be useless.

I've fixed the par to make it clear what "special" means in this case.

C.

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Re: WTF?

if you electrical signals aren't different for analogue and digital I think perhaps you need some training in electronics and a demonstration of an oscilloscope.

Digital electronics and RF have square wave forms, analogue does not. If an analogue wave form is curved, then it is because it is attenuated and the data will be degraded.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WTF?

I thought my Cheapo box had RF out as it has a Belling Lee connector. It does not, its just a pass though. Why you would want to do this though is beyond me.

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Re: Your are ok with a colour STB

Actually no, ITYF the law says having something capable of receiving a colour signal requires a colour license, regardless of whether you view it as colour or monochrome.

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Re: Why you would want to do this though is beyond me

So you can hook up the TV tuner to view analogue as well as digital channels.

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Re: WTF?

And the signal is transmitted as a square wave ? With the harmonics going on forever ? Are you sure ?

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Re: WTF?

which would be slightly less bolloxy if we were considering just the one electron on a time. which of course we aren't

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