Who needs one?
I've got iPlayer, 4oD, and for everything else there's various websites. I can even rent the DVD boxed set of whatever show I want, watch it, and still be quids-up.
Down with TV Tax!
Embearded TV presenter Noel Edmonds last week made a heroic stand against the BBC's "threatening" manner towards those who refuse to stump for the privilege of gawking at the idiot's lantern by cancelling his TV licence, the BBC reports. Edmonds, 59, declared he was protesting against "an aggressive culture in the UK", and …
... is the primary reason I never got around to getting a new television.
When confronted I ask them how to test whether I can receive a television signal without needing a licence. They offer me the chance to pay just a tiny bit of the licence to be allowed to test. I tell them to begone and trouble me no more. They trouble me more.
Really, I can't be bothered dealing with these jackasses just to see a handful of shows a few hours before they're free on iplayer.
As for Edmonds, presumably he was paying by DD and therefore paying six months in advance.
I lived for years without a TV and therefore without a license. I watched movies from my substantial DVD Collection on my PC.
But I got letters... oh how I got them..
I'd like to say that they start out friendly, but they don't.
The first letter, although stating facts, makes you feel so terrified of the TVLA that the only way to prevent Jackbooted Stormtroopers kicking in the door when they "Send the boys around" is to get a license anyway... even without a TV. Maybe that's what they want.
It's not what they say, it's what they imply that scares people.
I read the letters and they say... You are a criminal.. We are sending the buys around.. if they find anything, you're nicked sonny!
Just because they have a bit of power, and they are in charge of collecting the TV Tax, they treat everyone like guilty criminal scum.
Piracy - because, let's be honest... it is.
That new show of his on Sky is toe-curling.
The problem with trying to tap into the general mood of disaffection with the government (by setting yourself up as a latter-day Robin Hood figure), is that everyone remembers you live in an enormous fucking mansion in Devon, travel everywhere by helicopter and occasionally fuck up your career by dropping hapless members of the public 150ft from a crane onto concrete.
Hardly Che Fucking Guevara, are you Noel?
I'd happily pay double the TV licence, tomorrow, just to make sure there's a channel without that irritating diminutard on it.
There is no IT angle to this story but who cares. It doesn't matter what is it doing here. I am looking fondly at The Register in my bookmarks, glad to have bookmarked it many years hence. Please re-affirm my subscription (oh hang on, there is no subscription, all this news and amusement is provided free of charge, oh well...). I am also perfectly satisfied with today's weather. The Register has clearly made the weather the way I like it. Thank you.
<quote>Here you go, cut and paste this: "There is no IT angle to this story. What is it doing here? I am removing The Register from my bookmarks. Please cancel my subscription. I am also dissatisfied with today's weather. Please make the weather the way I like it. Goodbye."</quote>
Don't let the commentBastards get you down, Lester.
There's no IT angle, theres no hotel heiress angle... oh yeah, it's Friday.
... and besides... it's in the 'Entertainment' section of the website for fcuks sake!
<rantFlame>I can never understand the morons who complain about their being no IT angle. to a story! If anyone doesn't like it then don't read the bloody article!</rantFlame>
Hotel heiress because.. [see above]
"There is no IT angle to this story. What is it doing here? I am removing The Register from my bookmarks. Please cancel my subscription. I am also dissatisfied with today's weather. Please make the weather the way I like it. Goodbye."
Seriously, can I be the first to welcome our bearded, jumper wearing overlords....
The bearded eejit paid by Direct Debit, which is 6 months in advance and 6 in arrears. His licence is probably valid for the next 6 months... *sigh*
Of course he's got another option - not watch any sodding TV. I use the 2 weeks or so per year that I'm visting the folks to check whether I'm missing out on anything and all I tend to see is the likes of Edmonds spouting banalities and calling it entertainment. Can't wait to see reports of a Jeremy Kyle "I'm not paying for a licence just to watch people like me" special.
As requested: "There is no IT angle to this story. What is it doing here? I am removing The Register from my bookmarks. Please cancel my subscription. I am also dissatisfied with today's weather. Please make the weather the way I like it. Goodbye."
PS: About the weather - warm and sunny, but not too hot, please.
Firstly, since when was it acceptable to disclose details of whether an address is licensed or not? Surely a breah of DPA, no? Can I just phone up and ask whether my neighbour has a licence?
Secondly, I have to agree with the embearded one's principles here. Their entire approach appears to put the burden of proof on you to prove that you don't have a TV. The law, however puts it on them to prove that you DO.
Imagine if the DVLA sent out letters with bold red text stating that because you weren't on their list of licensed drivers, they suspect you of driving without a licence and you'll need to show them that you weren't out driving illegally.
Or how about "We can't find you on the register of Sex Offenders, therefore we believe you may be out molesting small children and need you to confirm that you weren't"...
My address has been "authorised for immediate investigation" and has been due for a "visit from one of our Enforcement Officers" for over five years now. I'm still waiting for the chap to pop round as promised.
Some VERY telling answers (and even more telling witheld ones) here :
A TV Licensing spokeman said: "TV Licensing has checked its records and can confirm we have a valid current licence on record for his address."
That's none of our business, and the BBC's money-with-menaces department has no right to make this information public. Data protection, anybody?
Don't tell me that Mr Edmonds has finally found some balls to play with? Although with two contradictory stories printed who's to say that both are not accomplished in lying .... the Great Political Disease.
* MunchKin .... One who is easily Gobbled up and Ignored.
Who cares about the IT angle? I work in IT all day and appreciate distraction from re-arranging electrons in a manner that is, quite frankly, non-essential to the continuance and happiness of life on this ball of polluted mud.
I must say that my IT skills come in handy when it comes to avoiding clicking on links that indicate a topic in which I have no interest. Through the magic of causality, this saves me from having to berate authors who write on topics in which I have no interest.
I am also dissatisfied with today's weather. Please make the weather the way I like it. Goodbye.
Paris, because my electrons love her long time.
Here you go, cut and paste this: "There is no IT angle to this story. What is it doing here? I am removing The Register from my bookmarks. Please cancel my subscription. I am also dissatisfied with today's weather. Please make the weather the way I like it. Goodbye."
You missed out the new images suck....
There is no IT angle to this story. What is it doing here? I am removing The Register from my bookmarks. Please cancel my subscription. I am also dissatisfied with today's weather. Please make the weather the way I like it. Goodbye.
If I didn't pay my TV license fee would the BBC cover up and pretend that I've already got a license? Doubt it. I'm not Noel Tidybeard.
I have a TV but I refuse to pay for a load of pointless drivel (some of which Noel was involved in), so I only watch DVDs, get the news from the radio and internet, three letters and a visit from a (to be fair nice) bloke and now they will leave me alone for 5 years, sorted, saved loads of cash, time and braincells (I miss discovery 'tho, but there's loads of stuff on the 'net which makes up for that, play is cheap and bargains on eBay means I have more than enough films to watch (the Palin box set is really good, go buy a copy).
Oh and by the way "There is no IT angle to this story. What is it doing here? I am removing The Register from my bookmarks. Please cancel my subscription. I am also dissatisfied with today's weather. Please make the weather the way I like it. Goodbye."
"Edmond's spokesman Mark Borkowski counterattacked: "They have completely not issued Noel Edmonds with a TV licence. He has not got one.""
Probably won't stop the jobsworths at TV licensing going after him though, if my experience as another abstainer of the shit-pump is any indication. I ceased to have a TV in November 2006 (about the time I went to work on a contract at the Beeb - oh, the irony) and dutifully rang up TV licensing, cancelled my direct debit and was told that that would be the end of the matter.
Despite regular letters along the lines of 'EXPECT A VISIT FROM US!' and multiple phonecalls, I still cannot get it into the heads of these fuckwits that a) not only do I not possess a TV or any other form of receiving equipment (no PVR, no TV card, no nothing)[*] and b) they should remove me from their database so as to avoid wasting their time and mine. Short of visiting them with a ClueBat[tm] there's not much else to be done.
The BBC was a fine institution, but given that they appear to generate little in the way of original content any more it's high time the license fee was scrapped and Auntie was dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. To be honest, the only saving graces of the Beeb nowadays are Radios 4 and 7 (R4 for the cricket, R7 for The Goons :-) )
Flames, 'cos TV licensing deserve to burn in hell, as does Noel Edmonds, come to think of it.
[*] - I have been known to take a peek at iPlayer content from time to time, but there's precious little on that that warrants a first look, much less a second.
There's one thing that I'll always wonder about.
Broadcasting all TV programmes scrambled and requiring a viewing card to watch them (but leaving the sound "in the clear", because you don't need a licence to listen to the TV sound) would require every TV receiver in the country to be replaced.
The transition to digital broadcasting also required exactly such a move.
So why weren't Conditional Access Modules (the proper name for card slots) made a mandatory requirement on all digital set-top boxes and integrated digital TV sets and recorders, right from the day the digital switchover began? Then, the BBC could broadcast their programmes scrambled; and anyone who hadn't paid for a viewing card, simply wouldn't be able to watch. And no need for poison-pen letters and strong-arm enforcement tactics either.
There is no IT angle to this story. What is it doing here? I am removing The Register from my bookmarks. Please cancel my subscription. I am also dissatisfied with today's weather. Please make the weather the way I like it. Goodbye.
You'd think Edmonds has a new show on telly or something... I take it that all the other semi-controversies have been done to death now that they're having to resort to TV license protests. Maybe he knows that he's only a year or two away from advertising Stannah Stairlifts.
I have a TV licence, and this year just like the last three, I've received an identically addressed letter from the TVL people in the same post as the licence to tell me that the spinning roofrack boys are coming for me.
"According to our records you don't have a valid TV licence..."
Well TVL - according to *my* records, your records are shite.
Did TV detector vans ever actually do anything other than provide transportation for officials? If the method of detection is (as we're now told) based on comparing a database of who's paid against a database of occupied houses, was the role of the vans simply to prowl around with aerials on the roof looking all high-tech and omnipotent, occasionally dropping off an official or two?
But wait? This makes no sense. A man who appears to have become the face of Murdoch's Sky is attacking the BBC?
Oh wait, no that makes perfect sense. It was probably in his contract when he signed up with a company who's Chief Exec stood up a couple of years ago and made a speech to the industry insisting that the role of the Beeb should be to take risks on new programming with public money - then hand anything successful straight to the commercial sector so that they could cream the profits.
There is no IT angle to this story.
What is it doing here?
I am removing The Register from my bookmarks.
Please cancel my subscription.
I am also dissatisfied with today's weather.
Please make the weather the way I like it.
Damn! Where's the tongue-in-cheek icon? :P
Please excuse my American ignorance on this matter, but you people over there are really charged a fee to view your TV? What kind of nonsence is that?
I was wondering if it was possible to buy a Dish network satilite on line and view our American TV? I dont know if the Dish Network Satallite is viewable from the UK's vantage point or not. It might be kind of low on the horizon.
There is no IT angle to this story. What is it doing here? I am removing The Register from my bookmarks. Please cancel my subscription. I am also dissatisfied with today's weather. Please make the weather the way I like it. Keep the fixed width, as I like it. Goodbye.
Paris, because like her, I feel used...
I have often wondered how such a thing could possibly work, how, can a device 'detect' a reciever? From my (limited?) knowledge a TV (old ones deffinately, new ones maybe not so much) only recieved a signal, transmitted nothing, and would there fore be about as noticable as a brick wall to some kind of van, unless they claim they can detect the presence of the CR tube itself?
I could be waaaaaay off on this one, and if so, please correct me.
"There is no IT angle to this story. What is it doing here? I am removing The Register from my bookmarks. Please cancel my subscription. I am also dissatisfied with today's weather. Please make the weather the way I like it. Goodbye."
Oh, and good for Noel. A TV license may have made sense when the BBC was the only thing you could watch, but nowadays it really should be optional.. if it's such good value for money, they could survive on subscription fees...
There is no Paris Hilton angle to this story. What is it doing here? I am removing Paris Hilton from my trousers. Please confirm my subscription so I can cancel my subscription. I am also really happy with today's weather, it is very sunny in Cornwall. Please make the weather the way I like it every day. Goodbye, I'm going to the pub and invite all el Reg staff along to the Union Bar for unlimited* free pints
*Fair Use Policy Applies, fees may be charged if you go over the FUP which will be determined sometime soon.
"There is no IT angle to this story. What is it doing here? I am removing The Register from my bookmarks. Please cancel my subscription. I am also dissatisfied with today's weather. Please make the weather the way I like it. Goodbye.""
p.s can you fix the firewall at my office as well
pps on topic it might be that he payed for a year and it just has not run out and all he did was cancle the direct debit
ppps can we have a pix of the eepc girl on this sotry as well?
So most of the time it is moot.
His new paymasters want me to pay three times for watching their shows
1) Sky subscription
2) Increased costs should I buy the product of the show sponsors
3) Increased costs should I buy from the Advertisers
He really is a self-righteous berk
More people should do this and maybe then the government would re-evaluate its stance on the licence. Especially now with the run up to the general election what with all the politicians kowtowing to the public to try and get their vote.
I had a visit from them once. They weren't actually after me, I was in the process of moving into a new flat. The jobsworth turned up looking for the previous occupier and then asked me if I had a license for the property - The moving van was still outside and I had a box in my hands, very obviously just moving in. When I said the obvious -just moving so NO- but I did have one for my previous address but not yet changed the address, the jobsworth took quite some pride in doing his job telling me that was illegal and proceeded to caution me along with all the warnings about fines, prison etc!
Not a draconian outdated organisation then!
There is no IT angle to this story but so what. I like the fact it is here. I am looking fondly at The Register in my bookmarks, glad to have bookmarked it many years hence. Please re-affirm my subscription and email my friends with the link to this site. I am also perfectly satisfied with the PH angle.
Yes we do pay the licence fee. It goes back a long way and is used to fund the BBC (and part of Channel 4, I think). On the plus side, we don't get bombarded with adverts with the result that a film with a 152 minute running time takes up three and a half hours (210 minutes), as I experienced recently in the US.
I don't have a TV. Since I moved back to the UK about 2 years ago, I've not owned a TV. When we got the first threatening letter ordering us to pay our license, we informed them, repeatedly, that we didn't have a TV. Eventually, after repeated letter-writing, they stopped sending us threatening letters.
Until last week. Yes, they decided it's time to send us demands for a TV license again.
I'm tempted to get a TV just so I can actually be guilty of that they're accusing me of. The bastards.
So, why don't I just change my name to Noel Edmonds and stop getting brown envelopes through the door?
I was always against the TV license until I moved to the US.
The quality of TV over here is awful - lowest common denominator crap to drag in the proles for long enough to convince advertisers to cough up money to funnel consumer desires into the viewers' open, drooling mouths.
I'd happily pay £12 a month for something half decent to watch, a proper news program (rather than talking heads screaming at each other or sub-tabloid scaremongering) or a sitcom which wasn't sickeningly aspirational.
Given the number of unimaginative sheep that actually DID cut-and-paste, I wonder if the Reg might be better off putting in instructions for a 100 quid direct debit direct to the El Reg drinking fund. Hearing the totals on that would be much more amusing.
When I was still in the UK I didn't have a TV or a license. Every couple of months I'd get a nasty (really, really nasty) letter threatening all sorts of things. Eventually I collected all the letters received and my replies to the first few, took them to a friendly local magistrate, and got an injunction banning them from sending me more than one letter per year as it was considered harassment. They never appealed, and until I left many years ago they sent me one reminder notice per year - politely worded. To which I would reply impolitely.
On a more serious note Edmonds is correct - I remember the adverts that "said look what you get for your license fee- top quality programming". Now it's "we know where you live and we are coming to get you if you don't pay up"! Which sits with the UK's current predisposition that we are all criminals and need fining, surveilance systems to watch us and entering on numerous databases for checking us out.
I used to be a huge supporter of the License fee however now that the Beeb is showing lots of junk TV and repeats and I am watching more and more pitated TV I am less inclined to stump up. I still do though :-(
"Please excuse my American ignorance on this matter, but you people over there are really charged a fee to view your TV? What kind of nonsence is that?"
It's the way the BBC is funded, with a complete lack of ads during the programs, with ones for BBC TV & radio channels (& BBC merchandise ocassionally) along with trailers for shows between the programs.
The commercial channels show ads I would guestimate every 12.5 minutes or so
"I was wondering if it was possible to buy a Dish network satilite on line and view our American TV? I dont know if the Dish Network Satallite is viewable from the UK's vantage point or not. It might be kind of low on the horizon."
I wouldn't think for one moment that's practical or possible, but it wouldn't change anything as the licence is required per household to watch TV irrespective of the method of delivery be it Satellite, cable, digital or analogue or indeed the channel being watched at the time.
Getting my coat & moving to Canada despite the frequent ads during programs (sometimes even between the opening credits & this weeks special guest stars) & the "This program contains content of a adult nature - Viewer discretion is advised" announcements that pop up at the start of each episode & resumption after the ad break when watching something as tame as Stargate SG1.
As I understood it, they used to work by detecting electromagnetic radiation from the TV's electronics and CRT.
That was in the days before electrical equipment were required to dampen EM radiation (remember when old ZX81s used to cause havoc with your AM radio?).
More than that though, the high pitch frequencies of CRTs could be heard and thus detected outside of a house. I remember as a kid doing a paper round I could hear these high pitches outside houses.
Of course with LCDs now it's much harder to detect them.
Besides that though, it was just much easier to just look through a database at who *hasn't* got a license and make a visit (and I gather they can also cross check against who's bought a TV from major retailers, but not sure that's true).
Anyway, saw Edmond's stunt on Breakfast telly. Was surprised he was on there to be honest, but plainly a stunt combined with the fact he's generally pissed with the Beeb anyway (who to their credit did finally kill off that god damn f'ing awful House Party after people finally realised it was not clever, it was just crap).
The Breakfast show hosts did seem a little shocked by his revelation though.
The idiots who enforce this TV license farce clearly have no idea whats going on.
They have been sending letters to a flat in my building which doesn't exist. We've wasted enough time trying to let them know this, but they insist that such property DOES exist and continue to send letters. Letters with lots of red on them. Buts that all they do. No enforcement thugs have turned up at the door.
If they bothered to do a couple of simple checks, the mistake would be rectified, so I can only assume that noone is doing anything. Its just a computer routinely printing letters.
There are a number of ways a TV can be detected. First the CRT type produce scanning signals that can be detected. Second, ard normally this is what they look for, the oscillators in the receiver section produce a signal that is mixed with the incoming RF to produce an intermediate frequency. Since the frequency of the oscillator varies with the channel tuned they can tell what you are tuned to. TVs are rarely built in a way that prevents the output from these oscillators, or for that matter any of the signals, being detected outside the set.
Never mind that there's no IT angle.
I'm from the states and have no knowledge of who Noel Edmonds is, I'm totally bewildered by the concept of TV licenses [heck, we don’t even need licenses for firearms here] and I’m even more confused as to why one of your “presenters” [another thing we don’t have here] would complain about the very thing that pays part of his salary.
But a guy that refers to himself as “auntie” – well that’s enough for me; this story should certainly be in el Reg.
I don't have a TV license. Other than the monthly letters with massive headings telling me I have to pay a £1000 fine (followed in small print with the phrase 'if you are using a tv without a license'), the only encounter I had with an 'officer' was a brief conversation through the intercom where he didn't even know my name and when I told him to sod off he stated in no uncertain terms that he would keep coming back until I let him in.
That was 18 months ago, and the most annoying fact about it was that he interrupted me watching Dr. Who on the iplayer.
When will this man just bugger off. For the older readers we had to suffer this idiot on radio 1, swap shop and (arse)Noel's house party - note the silent N.
Noel if there was any good reason not to pay my licence fee, it would be that it was going towards employing an idiot like you !
No deal - now F&*K OFF and get a Suzanne and Trinny makeover !
Foot note: for a laugh look up Noel Edmunds, basil Wainwright and water speed record (conned) :
A Golden Gotcha for you eh Noel ? Ha Ha !
Little as I like siding with Edmonds, he's very right in pointing out that the letters sent out to non licence holders are aggressive, rude and threatening. They contain pseudo-legal language designed to scare. As a non-viewer I resent the insinuation of criminality.
Incidentally, were those TV "detector" vans ever real? I mean is it possible to detect a CRT by any electromagnetic emissions? Other than light, I mean - clearly if they can see a TV through a person's window they don't need fancy star trek tech.
Oh, nearly forgot to Post Like A Pirate. Keel-haul the bla'guards!
My dad used to operate a detector van so let me share the science with you.
Your tv is a recievet and not a transmitter. In TVA (analogue ones atleast) the tuner resonates at a fairly specific frequency range in order to pick up the signal. This is what the drtectir is looking for. They also have hand held detectors which can point to the signal with an accurancy of under 10 feet.
So the db proves you don't have a license and the detector proves your watching tv. This is good enough to push for a fine and more than enough for a search warrent.
Yes, they can work... you may think your TV doesn't broadcast, however it uses a local oscillator to tune itself in - have a google for Super Heterodyne. This is what can be picked up by the van, and is how they know what channel you are watching.
<I accept no reseponsibility for the accuracy of the above comment, as this is how it was explained to me by an RF Engineer colleague a few years ago. At least, I *think* that's what he said>
I moved to the US about 15 years ago but recall just before we moved that we had a visit from the dreaded van. Although it has an aerial on top it really contains a bloke with a printout of your town, showing houses that don't have licenses. I opened the door to see a woman from TVLA, with a clipboard. She could see into the lounge that the TV was on - I think it featured advanced cranial surgery. She said that we were operating a TV without a license.
I invited her in and she brushed past me as she walked into the lounge. She had what appeared to be a wonderful body under her uniform, and accepted the coffee that I offered her. As we sat on the sofa she moved closer, until we were kissing and cuddling while the TV showed a drill entering some guys temporal lobe in emergency surgery. Her blouse dropped to the floor and she said that she had to punish me for not having a license. Her knickers fell on top of the rest of our clothes and we slid off the sofa to the floor, naked.
She said "I'm going to have to issue you with a ticket which will lead to a fine". What a turn on, I thought, this girls gets it.
"OK, I said, but I'm going to have to disappoint you"
"You haven't so far" she said
"No, I mean, like, you know, you can't fine me, like"
She sat up, stunned. "Why not?"
"Because I'm emigrating to the US in two weeks"
"Oh no!" she said, standing up. My, she was truly magnificent from my position on the floor. "I can't give you a ticket, or punish you, I'll have to leave."
"OK, don't forget your knickers". She sniffed.
So that was it. If they knock on the door say you're emigrating in a few weeks and they will leave.
By the way, I made up part of this. She was a red-head, not a blonde.
Now can I have my own TV series?
Not a moment too soon either!
Does he have a tv? Or even a computer because apparently, according to the beeb, if you have a computer, you need a tv license. It says so on those threatening letters they send out!
Presumably because you can watch tv show's on your computer.
When I decided not to have license, I got lots of letters but nobody called. So I advised my (then) girlfriend not to bother either, (she's asian by the way, I'm caucasian) She had a knock on the door the following week. Funny that, isn't it?
What can I say but Yaaaagghhrr!!!!
The TV Tax and the notion that we "need" a vast government monopoly to provide us with a handful of channels of expensive tat when other companies are quite happy to provide dozens of alternatives are both completely outdated. There may be a justification for genuine 'public service' broadcasts - educational content, coverage of Parliamentary sessions etc - but that is a far cry from anything the BBC exists for today.
As another poster pointed out, with the switch to digital we had the perfect opportunity to eliminate the 'enforcers' entirely: make the "license" a viewing card, without which you don't receive channels. End of story. Of course, the BBC was terrified this would be the first step towards making their overpriced subsciption optional, hence their rush to dumb down Freeview receivers to remove this facility as soon as ITV Digital was out of the picture.
* It is a monopoly in the legal and economic sense, since we are not permitted to replace it with a competitor, whether we want it or not.
Bill - because he knows all about expensive monopolies, but at least we can use computers without being forced to pay him now.
Scott: TV Licence: yep, we pay to watch our tellies. It funds the BBC,
and pays for a stack of programming that isn't bogged down by stupid adverts every
twenty seconds. Some of it's really quite good as well.
D@v3: How do detector vans work? There's no evidence that they do. Nobody's
ever been convicted on the basis of detector van evidence alone. What they
do is park one in the middle of an estate where it's known that lots of
people don't have licences and just sit there scoffing doughnuts while they
watch everyone scuttle off to the Post Office.
"...the CRT type produce scanning signals that can be detected..." Is that
just TVL pseudo-scientific nonsense or has anyone actually tried it? Where
is an example circuit that I can build to test the theory? Where
are the convictions based on detector van evidence alone? Why are you
posting anonymously if what you say is true?
Convictions are all based on confession. They turn up, you let them in
because you think you have to (YOU DON'T, unless they turn up with the Plod
with a warrant), they see the telly is warm and a conviction from that
is child's play. They do some disgusting stuff as well, one chap
got convicted because his telly COULD be tuned in, and he didn't want a
fight, so he got fined for NOT watching telly.
Went without a TV licence for about 3 years. Got one again now; Doctor Who is what tipped the balance. Yes, I could have DL'd it instead, but I also had other reasons for re-enabling my address for TV signal receipt.
IT? in honour of all those commentards who thought they were being really funny by collectively doing what they were told. Yes, the first 3 times it was funny. After that it wasn't.
Simon, if you threaten them with legal action for harrassment, writing it in a letter and sending it to them, they'll stop. I wrote a very strongly worded letter to TV Licensing regarding their tactics, and threatened to take them to court for harrassment if I received one more letter that practically accused me of being a criminal.
They apologised and stopped the letters. DO NOT bow down to them. Tell them they are thugs and nothing better, and that you won't have it. Other people (see the URLs below) have done the same:
The below links are very useful and sum up some of the things I've done. The second is a great form letter:
Also, the BBC Trust is currently investigating the claims by many people about the heavyhanded tactics of TV Licensing, I emailed the BBC Trust to tell them my story, and they responded saying that they'd added my name to the list of people who have had a bad experience. You should too. You can contact the BBC Trust from their homepage.
How to avoid paying your TV licence:
1 - Buy a projector.
2 - Use Internet TV. (Dispite what people say, non-CRT computer screens don't have occilators)
3 - Stick your receiver (freeview?) in a faraday cage, and use an external ariel.
4 - Be Noel Edmonds.
But i know what the guy means though, those TV Licencing letters are incredably un-British.
"Dear Valuded Customer, we have noticed you are using your telly to watch are humble television broadcast. If you wouldn't mind, could you pay your TV Licence so we can continue providing this service? Pretty please?"
But no, when staying in Uni halls last year i got a letter more along the lines of :
"Dear Mr. Uzbeckistan (not me, he lived in the room two terms before me),
Where the fuck is out fucking money? Eh? Where is it?
We (may) have detected you where using your TV, probibly to watch BBC3's comedy shows, because it's fucking brillient as always.
Either that, or you where checking out Sara's from Big Brother 9 great arse on BBC1. you dirty cunt.
If you don't send us the money quick-snap, Jonny and the boys will be paying you a little visit, and you don't want that now do you.
To sum up:
You've probibly watched the telly,
You havn't paid us any money,
We want your fucking money,
Where's the fucking money?
The guy before me didn't have a TV.
I know this because my room had no power sockets.
They just had it on record that someone new is living in room 209, and they thought they'd try there luck.
Some poor bugger is probibly getting letters to me now. Oh well :P
I've move around in London and further afield, every time not having a TV. So you kindly phone the men, say the name they have at the address is wrong and say you don't have a TV.
Then they go all serious and threatening on you, disbelieve you and nothing happens. At one address a man turned up, but looking for the last renter (although I'd registered myself there for the TV licencing). I said I wasn't him (no papers needed, clearly) so he went away and didn't even want to come and see the absence of a TV.
Now, to me the obvious thing is to link databases of councils and TV, but what am I thinking? Voting and council taxing paperwork isn't even name/address linked. Given that your ID in this sad little mess is established by gas bills [Bill Bailey: <midnight, Turkish border. "Passaport? Passaport!"... "No, gas bill" "Ah, ok, good."> ]. I guess you don't want a database because it cannot be perfectly protected, so the solution is not to have any kind of protection. Clever, that will fool 'em.
Where's the "we want an ID database and be quick about it" icon??
"There is no IT angle to this story. What is it doing here? I am removing The Register from my bookmarks. Please cancel my subscription. I am also satisfied with today's weather. Thanks for making the weather the way I like it. Goodbye."
The detector vans *might have been* fitted with TEMPEST scanners, but in reality they used the awesome tech of THEFEAR. Quite a successful little ruse, all told... think of it like the local doc sending a hypochondriac patient down to the local chemist for a prescription of ADT.
Helicopter, cos of the nice weather.
Actually, it has nothing to do with the line timebase or CRTs. The way they used to work was to pick up the local oscillator- this is part of the receiver that picks up the video signal, and even LCD TVs have it (only the direct TRF type of receiver, which are quite rare in TV-land due to poor sensitivity at that sort of bandwidth, don't have them).
The local oscillator generates a signal a few MHz below the signal you want to pick up. This signal is mixed with the received signal, and the difference between the two- the beat frequency- is the signal you want, shifted down to a lower frequency. This is called the intermediate frequency signal. That is then demodulated and fed to the rest of the TV receiver.
All of these signals are generated by the TV, and all of them leak out through the incoming aerial cable. There are filters to reduce this, but since they're analogue technology they're not 100% effective and a sensitive receiver can pick them up.
However, the way they do it these days involves a database of every address in the country and the SQL statement "SELECT offender WHERE licence EQU 'no'". After all, what's the point of a detector van when everyone has a telly? The detector vans you see driving around these days are fake, and intended purely for scare purposes.
Arr, so there be no IT angle, it still be news, aye?
The Register has been on me bookmarks since the first time I heaved-to and boarded thar internets, The first scurvy dog that touches it, feels the kiss of me cutlass, YARR!
Scurvy dogs, what I said for me bookmarks, goes for me subscription too! Davy Jones locker for the landlubber that touches it!.
It be fine sailin' weather, Yarr. So hoist sail and set sail for plunder, me heartys!
BUT... this skinny'd down webpage be lookin' thinner than a poor seadog marooned on a sandbar! And where be the rest o' me icons, ye bowlegged, landlubbin' bilge rat?
Happy talk like a pirate day!
" one chap got convicted because his telly COULD be tuned in, and he didn't want a fight, so he got fined for NOT watching telly."
Probably true. But then you pay for the licence to own a TV. Having an old broken TV in the loft with the plug cut off and isn't currently tuned in to any channels isn't a defence either - you have a TV in the house, you have to have a licence. Stupid but true.
Disclaimer - I work for a very large consumer electronics company making digital TVs, hence the anonymous post.
Detector vans were a great idea when they were introduced in the 1960s. They were just sensitive directional receivers, tuned to pick up the local oscillator signal in your TV. This was quite easily done when the chassis was made of wood and the oscillator circuits were made out of valves (big hot glowing bottle type things, for you youngsters).
Over the years things have gotten smaller and better shielded, which I would suspect makes them a lot harder to detect. Recently they have gone mostly digital, which makes them harder still to find.
If you look at the plasma telly in my front room, it has a handful of chunky switch-mode power supplies, line driver circuits, a CPU and some flash memory, RAM and stuff like that. It does have an RF tuner, but it's tiny and completely shielded in a tin can. To top it off, there's a pressed steel back panel.
I haven't tried, but I would imagine from an RF point of view it looks like a computer - i.e. just wideband mush. A detector van could probably tell you had an RF-producing device running, but I really doubt they could tell it was a TV.
For that reason, I suspect that detector vans nowadays probably just contain an SQL database rather than any kind of magical radio boffinry. Since the vast majority of houses do have a telly, the chances are quite good that a house without a licence contains a licence evader. I'm not being judgemental about it, it's just statistics.
That's my 2 pence worth.
Gotta say , I dont bother with TV these days, not really into the 'sports' (aka sky et all), that are rammed down our necks 24/7 and all the reality shite!. - got four warning letters (each time I've called them and explained i wasnt bothered in watching the general dross they produce) (sounds of incomprehension at their call centre ... what no tv?!) seem to remember there was a guy who had done time for man-slaughter and put his hand up to it - upon release he used his game console and portable just to while the hours away.. - they tried to prosecute him (you know he held his hands up to the original crime - but fought the TV licensing through the courts and won)but, like he said , he was neither receiving nor recording a signal - anyway had a knock on my door few moons ago now and a quite big burly chap - 'heloo mate TV licensing!!!' *big grin on his face* - after I openly invited him in, asked him (nothing to hide nothimng to fear being my maxim) if he wanted a cup of tea, and gave him the Grande Tour - he left some what dissapointed ....- afterwords laughed like a drain for days :D
"There is no IT angle to this story. What is it doing here? I am removing The Register from my bookmarks. Please cancel my subscription. I am also dissatisfied with today's weather It's too bloody sunny . Please make it p**s down again. Goodbye."
P.S Can we have the dead vulture icon back please?
it's not a case of whether you are tuned into a channel at any point, but whether you *own equipment capable of receiving broadcast television signals* as I recall. That is, you can be done for having just a DVD/VCR hooked up to an actual television, or a TV card. I believe that is the important definition.
I don't have a telly. I have a TFT moniter on a 15pin VGA connection. I have had *several* letters to the effect of 'You don't have a TV license you terrorist scum' to which I respond by sending the same letter back, with a biro-scrawled note reading 'Really? Well fucking prove I'm receiving broadcast signals then, you fuckwits'.
Funnily enough, no knocks on the doors as of yet, most disappointingly. Not that I give a fuck these days - there's sod all on Terrestrial TV worth watching other than Newsnight and C4 news, and I have the Times for that level/depth of coverage, ta.
Interesting, apocryphal story:
Friend of my dads got pissed off with all of his mates asking where his telly was. He didn't have one. However, the questioning got a bit annoying, so he bought an old telly, ripped out everything but the CRT, and left it in the corner of his living room, just to shut people up. TV Licensing come round, and without bothering to actually check the telly properly, give him a court date. He gets the inspector to sign the back of the telly to confirm he has 'inspected' it, which is a requirement before setting up the legal stuff, apparently. Confirmation of inspection that is - not signing the telly. But old mans mate wanted something good for his day in court. TV taken away as evidence by the old bill.
Day in court comes up, back of telly is removed at the defendants request. No RF equipment in the back [or mains cable for that matter] despite the inspectors signature on the back with the phrase 'checked' below it in his handwriting, which was confired in his report to have been turned on and checked before starting the proceedings, which it clearly wasn't.
Case thrown out, TVL done for wasting the courts time, inspector dismissed on the spot [actually in court, allegedly, by his boss who was there to back him up] job jobbed. This is the level of intelligence you are dealing with, or at least, it certainly was twenty years ago...
As I say, apocryphal, but a great story nonetheless, and perfectly believable given how these cunts operate. They are like club doormen, but without the intellect, in my experience.
Speaking of wasting time, and mewling cabbages, Lester, never, ever again encourage these fucking idiots to copy and paste a response into the comments sections - or I will butter up Ms Bee with compliments and promises of chocolates and wine, in exchange for photographs of your beaten and bloodied body and face after a session in her boudoir...
Seriously, not cool - a good third of the 150 comments here are rendered moot. Ms Bee is on leave, and it's clear - she would *never* have allowed such heresy....
Steven "No license here, bring it on, bitches" Raith
I also don't have a TV licence but then I don't have a TV. I find this an easy way round the whole not paying fees you don't want to malarkey.
I should say that they have been round my place twice in the last year trying to persuade me that I need one, I will send them to Noels place next time they knock.
The TV tuner uses a local oscilator to convert the incomming signal to a lower intermediate frequency (IF). I can assure you that it is possible to detect the local oscilator and measure it's frequency. It is also possible to detect the IF and resolve the audio and video. This can be done over a resonable distance. This can all be done with off the shelf components. I don't know if they actually do this to find TVs, but it does have other uses.
The kit is mandatory in black helicopters.
It seems there are quite a few folk that seem unhappy with the weather. Here are a few freshly minted happy snaps taken just outside the office that may or may not cheer you up:
All images licensed under some kind of Freetard 2.0 dealy so feel free to steal for non-commercial usage.
I won't get my coat because I don't need one (where's the evil laugh icon?)
people sure like to spend a lot of time moaning about the TV license (all ~£130/year of it)
but how about paying VAT on spending your own money or tax on what little interest you earn on your own savings or a license to fish public rivers or having to pay council tax for services you never use or paying for a "national insurance" scheme that really goes towards today's pensioners and may be obliterated by the time you retire/etc/etc..
The IT angle is that TV Licensing now claim to be able to interrogate their own database. This is a massive technological breakthrough. They obviously couldn't in the past, 'cos the fact that we've always had a license didn't stop them sending abusive letters and threatening to take me to court after I bought a new telly a while back. (Did you know shops are legally obliged to tell them the name and address of anyone buying one?)
I have emails in my inbox from tvlicensing telling me this isn't true, that I didn't have to throw my telly out just because I didn't have a licence.
Not that I trust them but I kept it in case. Oh yeah, and I did chuck a perfectly good telly in the scrap metal bin at the local tip.
It should be easy enough to detect any TV device whether it's digital or analog. There will be some emissions and, regardless of what they are, they will have some component that is perfectly synchronized to the refresh rate. It's nothing that a laptop computer couldn't analyze. A few seconds of listening for refresh synchronization should reveal exactly which station is being watched.
I hope you have good TV over there. I can hardly believe that people pay $60 to $100 a MONTH for TV hookups in the US. I spent $200 on a rooftop antenna. If that investment doesn't last for at least 10 years I'm going to feel like I wasted my money.
"...you pay for the licence to own a TV. Having an old broken TV in the loft with the plug cut off and isn't currently tuned in to any channels isn't a defence either - you have a TV in the house, you have to have a licence. Stupid but true."
No no no no no. You are completely wrong.
The expression "TV licence" is a misnomer, since a TV does not require one (otherwise, they would be issued when the TV is sold). The licensing requirement is for the receiving of live television broadcasts. This includes satellite and overseas broadcasts, as well as domestic terrestial channels. A licence is not required for the ownership of a television, or its use for DVDs, video games, etc.
Letters from TVL/BBC demanding a response have no legal backing. TVL/BBC can ask for a response, but they cannot compel. Their letters can be ignored. A householder's need for a licence arises only if he or she undertakes an activity that is licensable (watching or recording broadcast television); if not, there is no need for the householder to communicate with the licensing authority.
The legislation (Communications Act 2003, chapter 21, part 4) is worded thusly:
Licence required for use of TV receiver:
(1) A television receiver must not be installed or used unless the installation and use of the receiver is authorised by a licence under this Part.
(2) A person who installs or uses a television receiver in contravention of subsection (1) is guilty of an offence.
(3) A person with a television receiver in his possession or under his control who -
(a) intends to install or use it in contravention of subsection (1), or
(b) knows, or has reasonable grounds for believing, that another person intends to install or use it in contravention of that subsection,
is guilty of an offence.
Let's debunk some myths.
1. You ONLY need a TV license if you are using equipment TO VIEW BROADCAST TELEVISION AT THE TIME IT IS BEING BROADCAST NATIONALLY. This means you do NOT need a license to watch iPlayer, you do NOT need a license if you just use a TV for watching DVD's or play console games on. Only if you use it to watch broadcast television at the time its being broadcast.
2. The TV detector vans inner workings are a "trade secret", hence, they HAVE NEVER AND CAN NEVER BE USED TO GAIN A SEARCH WARRANT FOR A PROPERTY. A judge will not sign a warrant purely on you refusing entry to their sweeper teams, nor can any evidence fabricated by any so-called detectors - wether they work or not - be used to gain a warrant. Pretty much, unless they see you watching TV through your front window, they aint getting a warrant.
Be strong and don't let the bastardsgrind you down.
It is a common misconception, and one fostered by the BBC and TV Licensing, that you need a licence just to own a TV, even if you do not watch it.
This is NOT the case.
You only need a licence to receive Broadcast TV - whether you watch it or record it.
You do not need a license to watch a video or DVD.
You do not need a licence to watch a programme recorded by a friend at their house (though you are in breach of copyright, but that is a different issue).
You do not need a licence to use the iplayer service.
You do not need a licence to watch TV in a mobile caravan, provided you have a licence at home and that there is nobody watching TV at home at the time.
Shops selling TV's have to take your name and address and report it to TV Licensing, where they will compare it with their database. Give them Noel Edmond's address - they'll never know the difference.
I haven't had a TV for 20 years. I just throw the letters in the bin. If they ever turn up (no sign so far) I will tell them politely that I have no TV and they should go away. They have no right of entry without a warrant, and would probably fail to get one, as they would have no evidence of a crime being committed!
Oh, and I don't call Noels facial fuzz a beard!
Is that icon Pac-Man?
Why do people get so upset about the TVL - they're so easily dealt with...
When I moved to a new home 18 months ago, I decided that I wasn't going to bother with a license. Being a fairly consciecious sort of chap, I therefore detuned the only telly in the house, and cut the aerial lead - just to leave any TVL chappie that might turn out in no doubt at all as to the situation... I then wrote to TVL, and told them I wanted nothing to do with them.
Then the fun began... They wrote back basically saying "Thanks for telling us you don't need a license, but we're not sure we believe you, so we'll be sending the enforcement lads round to check...". Having just bought the house, I decided that I would manage my own guest list, thanks very much... So I wrote and told them I wasn't interested, they know the score, so soddity offity.
A few more letters, and I decided to do something about it, so read up on the legal side of things... TVLs big threat, if you don't voluntarily let the enforcement lads in, is that they'll turn up with a warrant... No problem - coz when you read about the law, they can only do that if they have no other reasonable means of gaining entry - so I decided to give them one...
I said they were welcome to come around, unannounced, at their convenience, so long as they paid for my time (and at £20, I was cheap!). I didn't want to be accused of trying to profit from this personally, so I stated that a receipt for a £20 donation to the local kids hospital would be quite acceptable...
At that point, after some hummng and arring, they wrote back basically saying "Erm, you're not breaking the law, are you?" - and that was the end of that!
Moral of the story - fight!
Unfortunately, since these events I became aware of the fact that Top Gear was being screened on Dave, so ended up buying a license anyway - but the moral victory was mine!
Paris, because I'm sure she's had some dodgy content on her box once or twice as well...
When they were hassling me it was illegal to "Use or install" equipment capable etcetc...
So in these terms it is legal to have a telly but you need reasonable doubt as to whether it gets turned on or plugged in. Being under a pile of junk in your garage and connected to nothing ought to be reasonable doubt.
Here, have a quote from one of their boys:
"Under the Communications Act 2003, a TV Licence is needed to cover the installation or use of television equipment. The full fee is payable despite the quality of reception, or the number of programmes received. People who live in areas where there is poor reception must still pay the full fee."
My dad died when I was 14. When I turned 18, almost to the day, a local court official showed up at my mom's house demanding she pay the local "street walking tax". I guess today it might be called something else. Anyway...
It seems in my small South Georgia (USoA) town all males upon reaching the age of 18 were required to pay a tax to legally walk on the town's sidewalks. You see, all men in that little town were "spitters" and it was assumed when I turned 18 I'd walk and spit too and somebody had to clean up all the disgusting saliva and that cost money. My mother argued but paid the tax every year for as long as I officially lived there.
At the tender age of 18, I learned my first real lesson in life: all government officials are not fully aware and are of lesser intelligence than the normal person. I'm sure there are those who are the exceptions; I hope to meet one someday.
the BBC or british broadcasting coperation was set-up when tv's were first introduced in britian and is a advert free collection of channels it servives because when you brought a tv you brought a tv license to this goes to the bbc and is renewed annually. this money goes to make top gear and doctor who and together they make the tv license worth while in my eyes.
and i can see several tech angles first tv in a technology based medium and second i don't know a british IT professional who doesn't want to choke edmunds to death with a length of cat 5 for ruining tele and introducing mr bobbly to the world. fire cause well that bobbly suit loves flamable
Actually, it is ONE license per household, which means your five sets are covered by one license.
However, in certain other countries that use TV licensing (*cough*SA*cough*), you can't get away with claiming that your TV license covers the household. They usually don't bother, but there the license is apparently per set.
On another note, yes, retailers are legally obliged to notify TV Licensing with your details if you have bought equipment that is capable of receiving and displaying TV signals. I have yet to see PC World do that with TV cards though (not that I've bought one, but someone else has).
When I pay my bills I like to do when I am ready so I get lots of these letters. And often they are strongly worded. I always complain about the manner of these letters and its always the same response.
'These letters are automatically generated by computer and we have no control over the content of the letter.'
So we are in essence being threatened by a BBC computer which is IT angle. So the question I have Who? put the computers in charge.
I have also been taken to court by the BT Computer over an error which no human was able to rectify. I had already paid the bill (months before) and when I told BT this they said they have no record of this. I appeared in court showed my receipt to the judge and was awarded £500 for my trouble. Nice days work for a poor student. It hasn't happened again but I'm still trying...
When you screw up blame the computer. What people fail to rememeber IT is only as good as the clowns that designed the system.
So I think the IT angle is here
"this money goes to make top gear and doctor who and together they make the tv license worth while in my eyes."
Doctor Who being the only show these days I'm interested in that the Beeb make, that's £130 a year for that and then on top I have to spend another £50 or so to buy the series boxed set!
And then it's all repeated on UKGold/Dave or whatever which is advert funded anyway.
With all the celebrity crap and "pop-dramas" (Robin Hood, The Tudors, etc) the Beeb churns out these days I do feel like stopping paying. The old argument was that licence funding was better for quality than having adverts, but yet we have quality worse than many commercial outfits! Though admitted that ITV is still shit but then who watches that these days? I stopped back when Sky didn't carry ITV and never bothered much with it since.
Anyway, the other way round the licence is of course illustrated by the Beeb themselves in The Young Ones...
Eat the TV ;-)
I have a TV licence, but every month for at least the past year, I get a letter from TV Licensing warning that they'll send enforcers round. They also send the same letters to Flat 5 and 6 of the same building, there is no flat 5 or 6, so I'd like to see them collect their fine from there.
I don't like being harassed, their information is obviously incorrect and so I will cancel my licence. Screw them!
The TV licence pays for iPlayer, and all the programmes on iPlayer. It is not free although, because the licence fee only covers the live transmission, freetards are able to use it without paying the licence fee.
The licence fee also funds the BBC's radio activities - once again, since the TV licence doesn't cover radio, freetards can also use this, at the expense of actual licence fee payers.
So if you listen to the BBC's radio stations (World Service exempted), or use the iPlayer, or even use the BBC's website, then morally you should have a TV licence, as this is what funds all of these. Hell, get the black & white one for £47 - that's probably equivalent to the spend on these areas.
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