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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  1. Harry Sheppard
    Alert

    Hmmm...

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

    1. Annihilator
      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]

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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???

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Especially

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

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Especially

          Whatever man, it's the same place.

          This isn't a geography lesson

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        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?

        1. Kay Burley ate my hamster
          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

  2. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. Chad H.

      My thoughts exactly.

    2. Simon Round
      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You possibly read the Daily Mail too much then.

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

      2. Beebs

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

      3. Psyx
        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?

      4. Lamont Cranston

        @ Simon Round

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

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Simon Round
          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.

      5. Naughtyhorse

        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>

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Simon Round
          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".

    3. Select * From Handle

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

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. jonathanb Silver badge

          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.

          1. streaky Silver badge
            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.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

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

    1. Sceptic Tank
      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

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

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          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..

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

  4. Anonymous Coward
    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?

    1. RAMChYLD
      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. GettinSadda
          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.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: WTF?

            almost all freeview STB come with RF connectors and they clearly don't just pass the analogue signal though as you get all the digital channels.

        2. Naughtyhorse

          Re: WTF?

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

        3. Anonymous Coward
          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.

          1. Pookietoo

            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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. Pookietoo

          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.

    3. Test Man
      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.

      1. Phil W

        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.

      2. 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...

        1. Naughtyhorse

          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.

          1. NumptyScrub

            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.

            1. Naughtyhorse

              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

          2. Phil W

            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.

            1. Chemist

              Re: WTF?

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

            2. Naughtyhorse

              Re: WTF?

              lol

              you think I need training

              sign yourself up to Fourier 101

              then we can talk

      3. Naughtyhorse

        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.....

      4. Anonymous Coward
        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.

    4. dintech

      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".

      1. diodesign (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.

  5. o5ky
    Thumb Down

    Yeah surely the B&W tvs dont have scart or other input (as mine didn't) meaning that they can't have a freview box unless it's plugged into a tape recorder then outputted to RF... how likely is that!

    1. Test Man
      Thumb Down

      Freeview boxes will have RF sockets, like every other piece of broadcast equipment (like Sky boxes).

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        FAIL

        > Freeview boxes will have RF sockets, like every other piece of broadcast equipment (like Sky boxes).

        You should test more, Test man. Sky boxes are among the very few digital TV receivers that still have RF modulators in them. I have an oldish Labgear/Icecrypt one that has, I've not seen others recently

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...added that Britons lead the world in accessing TV content over the internet. "

    Thirty miles from London - and the digital TV signal is still unreliable due to local high buildings. Analogue was never a problem. BBC iPlayer isn't brilliant either - with its compression artefacts, jumps, and disconnections. The internet connection is apparently solid at 12mbps.

    1. Test Man
      Stop

      I'm about 25 miles from the Crystal Palace transmitter. No problems with either analogue (before the switchoff) or digital.

      That said, if you're 30 miles away, you tried pointing your outside aerial at a different transmitter? If you are in the south of Hertfordshire, there should be one nearer Cambridge to point to.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Crystal Palace has always been the town's terrestial TV source. Sandy Heath is closer - but that path was blocked for just about everyone in my part of town by a very large building about 40 years ago. The CP analogue signal was good - and remained useable even after a tall building went up in the next street. However digital TV then went from mostly ok to almost useless. It has remained so even after the switchover and presumed power boost. The FM radio from Wrotham is reasonable - but DAB is very poor on most days.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    even on modern tellys,

    you can adjust the colour balance and making an CVBS to rf-modulator is easy....

    I have a BW license as i'm not paying the beeb the fucking rip-off amount they want so she can watch corrie...

    £50 is more reasonable and as long as my name is on that database, i get left alone...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Rip off

      People call the license fee a rip off, but will spend the same over 2 0r 3 months with Sky. Virgin, and presumably soon BT.

      The BBC license fee is an absolute fucking bargain for what you get. Spend a few months forced to watch TV in any other country on the planet and you realise how good ours is...and don;t fool yourself thinking ITV and a few other channels would be as good as they are if the BBC wasn't here.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Windows

        Re: Rip off

        Not true.

        I dont have sky, i dont have virgin and i most certainly dont have BT.

        I have a cable broadband connection and a usenet account.

        I can watch all the telly i like, in HD for very little outlay...

        I have NO need for terrestrial TV but pay the bw fee to keep the buggers away from my door and save me getting up to abuse them....

        1. Test Man
          FAIL

          Re: Rip off

          So you don't watch broadcast TV but you pay them anyway?

          You mug.

          Considering they can't do anything as they are not allowed in your house (they're not the police), you don't need to worry at all. All you do is send them a form saying you have no TV. Problem solved. Once every two or three years they'll visit or send a letter but that is it. Don't pay it if you don't have to.

          1. Gav

            Re: Rip off

            Except he does have a television. He just thinks he's special and shouldn't have to pay what everyone else does.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Windows

              Re: Rip off

              Of course i have a TV, how else do i watch the stuff the beeb themselves transmit after broadcast on iplayer???

              And did you not read that i DO pay a fee, but i aint paying 150 odd quid so she can watch corrie....

              Please engage eyes before gob...

              1. Naughtyhorse

                Re: Rip off

                <pedant>

                last time i checked - about 20 years or so ago - corrie was on ITV - non license payer funded

                </pedant>

                1. Phil W

                  Re: Rip off

                  As I posted above, ITV (along with Channel 4 and Channel 5) do receive some of the licence fee.

                  It is only a very small proportion compared to what the BBC get, but they do get some.

                2. Goldmember

                  Re: Rip off @Naughtyhorse

                  "last time i checked - about 20 years or so ago - corrie was on ITV - non license payer funded"

                  The channel is irrelevant. If you watch broadcast TV in this country, you have to pay for a licence. It is an antiquated and unfair requirement (especially for those of us who pay for Sky), but a legal one nonetheless.

        2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Rip off @cornz 1

          I hope that you are only using usenet for your content, because if you watch 'live' TV over the Internet (yes, it's a bit of an ambiguous definition, but I believe that it means material that is broadcast over the Internet while being broadcast to air, even if delayed by a few minutes), then you still need a TV license. Your computer becomes TV receiving equipment under the terms of the law.

          But if you are using usenet, expect a letter from your ISP accusing you of copyright infringement.

          What's not clear is whether the fact that you could watch Internet broadcast TV but don't is enough to remove the requirement for a license.

          1. Andy 115

            Re: Rip off @cornz 1

            "What's not clear is whether the fact that you could watch Internet broadcast TV but don't is enough to remove the requirement for a license."

            Actually it is VERY clear…

            The mere possession of equipment capable (even tuned to the correct frequency) DOES NOT GIVE RISE TO THE REQUIREMENT TO HAVE A LICENSE.

            A license is ONLY required if such equipment is use to watch or record broadcasts (from any source, even the continent) as they are being broadcast.

            I could have been previously licensed and watching BBC1, turned of my TV and cancelled my license, my TV is still tuned into BBC1, but as I am not watching or recording it, I need no license.

            HTH

          2. 4.1.3_U1

            Re: Rip off @cornz 1

            "But if you are using Usenet, expect a letter from your ISP accusing you of copyright infringement."

            I think in this case the letter would have to come from the Usenet provider not the ISP, and only for uploaded content, which in any case wouldn't require a TV licence unless it had been captured from a live TV feed in the UK.

        3. Phil W

          Re: Rip off

          The TV licence isn't a rip off if you watch anything on BBC channels, or even ITV, Channel 4 or Channel 5 as they all get a small proportion of the fee. It's even justifiable if you watch any Terrestrial RF or Satellite broadcast TV since some of the fee goes to pay the OFCOM licences for the RF frequencies.

          That said, you should have a choice. There's no good reason I can see why you should need a TV licence if you have Virgin Media. The fees to the BBC should be part of the cost of the Virgin package, with no TV licence required, since there's no OFCOM licence fee for cabled broadcasting.

        4. Craigness
          Facepalm

          Re: Rip off

          @cornz1

          Stop paying for a BW license! If you don't watch or record live TV and use only catch-up services instead then you don't need a license. If you make a false declaration about having a BW TV then you could be in for more hassle than if you told them the truth.

          I've had no TV license for more than 5 years. I have to visit their website every 2 years or so to confirm that my circumstances have not changed, and I've never had a visit. It's not worth paying £100 over 2 years to avoid 3 minutes' work.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Rip off

        It's no bargain when you have no choice - they should just take it out of other taxes instead as basically everyone has to have one unless they genuinely do not own a telly - unlikely.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: Rip off

        "and don;t fool yourself thinking ITV and a few other channels would be as good as they are if the BBC wasn't here."

        I wouldn't describe ITVs output for the last 10 years or so as in any way 'good'. They should just rename the channel to CTV - Cowell Television and be done with it.

        I do agree with you thought that the BBC, however, well worth the licence fee. Some great programming, educational programmes such as Stargazing Live, Africa etc, great drama series, their comedy output is keeping Comedy Central's evening schedule filled (in between reruns of friends).

      4. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Re: Rip off

        The difference is we CHOOSE to pay other providers. With the BBC, we do not get a bloody choice in the matter.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Rip off

        A bargain for what exactly? As a freeview user I have to note that I rarely if ever watch BBC channels. If I want to watch something intelligent I'll buy it and do so in my own time and as often as I want.

        I sure as hell don't want to be subsidising the brain rotting shite that goes by the name of Eastenders. Nor do I want to be subsiding the kind of scum that 'get off' watching football.

        As for 'wouldn't be as good' .... you are joking right? TV quality has plummeted over the last 30 years, and it wasn't very good even back then.

    2. MrXavia
      Facepalm

      Re: even on modern tellys,

      I think the License fee IS a bargin, 4 channels with decent programs, 2 kids channels, Radio, News... NO adverts

      Compare that to sky, where you pay to watch shows WITH adverts....

      I'll happily pay my TV license to get the content!

      1. Goldmember

        Re: even on modern tellys, @MrXavia

        "NO adverts"

        The BBC DO advertise. All of their radio and TV channels advertise the other BBC radio and TV channels, all day long. Radio 1 and 2 (I can only stomach the latter) have as many 'ad' breaks as the commercial stations, so I actually don't think there to be any improvement in the quality over commercial stations, which is why I usually stick on a CD.

        The BBC do generate some great quality TV, but I can't remember the last time I watched it as it was being broadcast. It's all either catch-up or Blu Ray for me, which begs the question; why can't I opt for Sky to turn off the live BBC channels on my subscription and stop paying for the bloody licence?

  8. Pete 2

    It's still the same old programmes

    Whether you watch in B&W or glorious colour, the programmes are still the same. The news isn't any different, the soaps are just as cheesy, the comedies either make you laugh - or not and the documentaries have the same pretty images and narrative, irrespective of whether your telly displays the chrominance signal or not.

    The same can be said for 4::3 formats vs. 16::9 or SD / HD. No matter what format or technology, you still get the same old programmes. So if you're happy with B&W, can't tell the difference or you do manage to get away with the cheaper licence then great. You're not missing that much in terms of actual TV content: merely the superficialities of how you perceive it.

    1. Tom Wood

      Re: It's still the same old programmes

      BBC nature documentaries - e.g. the current Africa series - are almost enough by themselves to justify (1) the licence fee and (2) getting a big HD colour telly.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Windows

        Re: It's still the same old programmes

        No, they arent, as they can be watched, in HD on iplayer later....

        So no need for a license....

        1. Lamont Cranston

          @ cornz 1

          So, happy to watch BBC content, but resent paying for it? Did the reg commentards come up with the term "freetard" just for you?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Down

          Re: It's still the same old programmes

          "Re: It's still the same old programmes

          No, they arent, as they can be watched, in HD on iplayer later....

          So no need for a license...."

          Or, unless you live in central london with fibre to the door...

          "<buffering> Welco<buffering>me t<buffering>o Af<buffering>ric<buffering>a." (Click HD off.).

          Broadcast HD is still the best option for many of us, until universal high speed broadband is rolled out.

          (And I do believe that you need a licence for iPlayer / computers as potential recording equipment, besides many a student using a laptop with TV card....)

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's still the same old programmes

          No, they arent, as they can be watched, in HD on iplayer later....

          So no need for a license....

          but... if no one pays the license, then how will the BBC fund the iPlayer service, let alone fund producing the shows that it'll show on it?

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: It's still the same old programmes

        You forgot

        Palin travel documentries

        Portillos railway journeys

        If you (or your wife) likes it - Strictly Come Dancing

        And good dramas like Doctor Who and Sherlock

        Plenty of BBC HD worth paying for

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: It's still the same old programmes

      Colour is not "superficial" unless you are blind.

  9. MJI Silver badge

    B&W TV

    I have one, about 1" to 2" screen 1982 model, works on composite only - video camera viewfinder.

    To be honest who actually gives a stuff about B&W TV, no one would prefer it, if they really want TV just let them buy a cheap digital TV.

    I haven't seen a real B&W TV since Ridge Hill went colour. (My dad was an early adopter)

  10. Mage Silver badge

    But

    The stats don't count people with an Additional B&W tv. But Colour licence as they have at least one Colour TV, nor do they count the fraudsters.

    There could be more B&W TVs than stated by B&W licence in use before ASO. My B&W TV is now just used for the radio on it (2" set).

    Modulators can be separately purchased.

  11. JaitcH
    FAIL

    TV Licensing: Brain dead

    My Mother had severe cataracts which effectively killed much of what she enjoyed visually, including TV.

    So the idiot employees from TV Licensing came around and demanded she pay the fee. She said she had no TV to which they replied, recorded on a CCTV camera over the front door: "It doesn't matter, you still have to have a licence. Checking on people who say they have no TV is a waste of our time."

    She never did pay and sure as hell, they were around the next year. A lawyer shut them up but their tracking van used to park outside the property from time to time.

    No doubt the TV Licensing people think these people are cheating. Only cretins employed by TV Licensing would actually buy a new TV, especially since there is nothing but garbage on it.

    The satellite channels are running endless repeats, the dog owned by Senior of OCC has been resuscitated, or has risen from the dead four times now - very poor program planning. The satellite channels have turned in to gun boosters where members of America's NRA can watch gun porn endlessly. No wonder they shoot school children.

    Oh, and that BA pilot who was nearly sucked out of a window, he has done that trick 5 times, now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: TV Licensing: Brain dead

      If I could opt out of a TV license and save £150 or whatever it is I would not miss the BBC when there is so much more on.

    2. Test Man
      Stop

      Re: TV Licensing: Brain dead

      There's a simple way to stop them from visiting - declare that you don't have a TV on the form. Don't merely say it to the licensing officer, actually formally write it down on the official form and send it to them. They may come once to make sure but otherwise that's it.

      I don't understand why people think that by ignoring it it will all go away. Be proactive!

      The licensing officer was 100% wrong and was probably trying to trick your mother into paying something, but if you get it formally down in writing the TV licensing authorities can't do shit.

      1. Andy 115

        Re: TV Licensing: Brain dead

        I have done that, it stopped the snot-o-grams from TVL for all of 4-6 months....

        Why the F*** should I have to "prove" to TVL that I don't need a license? I have told them using their website and forms numerous times and I'll be fucked if I'm going to wait in for them, providing them access to my property (that they have no legal right to), to confirm something that I have already told them…

        They can go and swivel!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    500 Shades of Grey

    B&W TV is reality TV in Manchester, grey council blocks shrouded in grey drizzle for months on end whilst the grey people shuffle to and from their grey jobs eking out a miserable existence in a dreary grey environment.*

    Colour TV is just taunting them.

    (*I went there once)

    This is Manchester (NSFW)

    http://www.cyberspike.com/clarke/chicktow.html

    http://www.cyberspike.com/clarke/beasley.html

    Pint icon, hmm Boddingtons (the only thing worth getting out of bed for in Manchester)

  13. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I think my old NTL/Virgin media pace box had a RF output you could tune into but the cheapest option to get digital TV on a old TV with no SCART input is to plug a freeview/sky/tivo etc into a the SCART input on a VCR then tune the TV into the VCRs RF output. People practically give old VCR's away now, i sold 2 on ebay recently they were working perfectly but only got a couple of quid for them

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The old OnDigital Pace boxes were similar to the NTL ones, I used it for a cheap freeview box on my computer monitor which has RF input.

      Was all well and good, until the digital switchover rendered it useless.

  14. Velv Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Stop selling different types of Licence

    You have a TV. You need a licence. Full stop. You "only have a B&W TV" - tough - you're receiving the same content, so you should pay the same as everyone else. If you choose to watch in B&W that is up to you.

    Back in the days when TVs were expensive, and colour doubly so, it was a valid excuse to have a B&W TV. Nowadays there is no difference - you either have a TV, or you don't. I seriously doubt many of the 13,000 remain on a B&W TV because they can't afford to replace it - I'd be fairly confident they have chosen not to replace it (or are cheating).

    1. S4qFBxkFFg
      Stop

      Re: Stop selling different types of Licence

      "You have a TV. You need a licence. Full stop."

      Incorrect.

      A licence is only required to watch (or record) television as it is being broadcast.

      Using it for DVDs, for consoles, as a computer monitor, or to be plonked obviously in front of a window to waste TVL inspectors' time are all perfectly legal without a licence.

      Also, watching iPlayer (when the programme is not being broadcast) does not require a licence.

      To be fair, even the enforcers do not all know this (or at least they may pretend so).

      1. Keep Refrigerated

        Re: Stop selling different types of Licence

        It is my understanding that the TVL agents are on commission, so they have the same incentives as parking wardens.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That many?!

    Given how many TVs have packed up on me in the last 20 years, I'm astonished that many B/W sets are still working!

    1. S4qFBxkFFg
      Thumb Up

      Re: That many?!

      It's not unusual with old sets, my dad bought a Hitachi TV in 1978, (unfortunately, paying for an extra year guarantee on the tube) and it's still, despite once being dropped from a height of about 1.5 feet, in perfect working order apart from the power cable needing replaced.

    2. Test Man
      Stop

      Re: That many?!

      Like someone has already said, there's little correlation between the type of licence and the type of TV. In other words, there could very easily be a large chunk of black and white licence owners who actually have colour TVs.

  16. tony2heads
    Go

    Achromatopsia

    Some people have no colour perception. Hence they would not need a colour TV; it is genetic so there could be local variations (in Pingelap it reaches 5% of the population)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd scrap the TV license completely - it's essentially just another tax - pay for it out of the other tax revenues received.

    1. graeme leggett

      "pay for it out of the other tax revenues received."

      At which point it would dissappear into some sort of governement accounting type blackhole, and the public would have little to no idea what they are actually paying.

      This way it's up front and known about - and you can write letters to the newspapers starting "is this what I pay my licence fee for...."

      1. Keep Refrigerated
        FAIL

        Annoyed, in Kent

        Great, a TV License grants the right to rant to your newspaper of choice... such a bargain!

        But wait, since it's all "up front and known about" perhaps that means the BBC will answer to FIOA requests...?

        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/07/bbc_is_private_go_away/

        That's a no as well then... up front my arse! If they want to be treated as a private organisation then let them do it without depending on a government granted monopoly handout.

      2. Andy ORourke
        Joke

        @ Graeme

        I think this is why they changed the "road tax" to "vehicle excise duty" because they sure as hell werent spending the "road" tax on th F'ing roads!

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: @ Graeme

          Back in 1937 - you remember that?

          Churchill actually started that to "stop motor vehicle drivers claiming ownership of the public roads"

          It helped for a few decades at least...

  18. TrixyB
    Holmes

    Blind People

    If you were blind it would make sense just to have a B&W telly instead of a colour TV even if you do receive a discount. Just sayin'.

    1. Chad H.

      Re: Blind People

      Blind people don't pay for a license as it is, so why would they purchase a b&w license?

  19. LesC

    'Old' B&W on 625 lines is still 576i and gigabits per pixel I've still got an old KB CVC VALVE tv set that works fine off my old VM Pace box. It's easy on the eye to watch.

    LC

  20. jai

    Ted Lowe

    "and for those of you who are watching in black and white, the pink is next to the green."

  21. andy gibson

    @Neil Morgan

    Downvoted because you didn't know that Boddies moved out of Manchester years ago.

    Plenty of other superior micro breweries in the NW though - and of course Hydes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: @Neil Morgan

      As you could probably tell from the John Cooper Clarke references, I haven't been to Manchester since the early 80's. Have they got it in colour now ?

  22. Jess

    I used to have a BW licence

    I don't watch enough TV to justify a colour licence. I had a b/w portable, for the odd occasions.

    I didn't bother to renew it when I realized the TV hadn't been switched on for over 3 months, and I wasn't going to be home for the next few months. And also it had become very difficult to purchase a b/w licence after the contract went from the post office.

    I got so many letters accusing me of being a criminal, I simply got rid of my (b/w) TV, and then threw them in the bin.

    I have a monitor on the DVD/media player.

    I quite often legally use iPlayer for offline programs. Had I not been accused of being a criminal by letter, I would have made the effort to buy a b/w licence, because I consider that a fair price for my consumption, however since it is not a legal requirement, after that they can get stuffed.

    Had they not made it so hard to purchase a b/w licence I wouldn't have even thought about doing without TV at home in the first place.

    1. Craigness
      FAIL

      Re: I used to have a BW licence

      @Jess. Their letters don't accuse people of being criminals. I've had plenty of them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I used to have a BW licence

        Actually they do accuse you of being a criminal. The tone of the letter makes it quite clear that they don't believe it is possible for someone not to have a TV and then they further go on to let you know what your punishment will be once they have actually caught you.

        I spent 10 years without a TV and only bought one when I had kids so that I could make sure they grew up to be thick scum like the rest of the UK's Eastender/Corrie lets go dancing x-factor watching population.

  23. Joe 37

    Their standard letter

    once you've ignored them (I've not had a TV in over 20 years) a few times begins "What to expect in court" which amounts to demanding money with menaces - OIOW extortion. Which is illegal.

    Go away and die horribly Capita, who have the contract for enforcement, renewed for another 8 years in 2011.

  24. Defiant
    FAIL

    Haha they conned you too

    This isn't a genuine news article, its PR by the BBC. The so called TV Licensing spokesman actually works for the BBC

    http://www.zoominfo.com/#!search/profile/person?personId=1886778826&targetid=profile

    If you google "13,000 Britons still have a black and white TV licence" you'll see just how dirty the BBC are, their basically calling people liars

  25. geeky168
    Thumb Up

    Tronsmart Prometheus Android TV box with Amlogic CPU

    Tronsmart Prometheus is powered by a 1.5 GHz dual core Amlogic AML8726-M6 ARM Cortex-A9 processor with Mali-400 graphics, 1GB Of RAM, and 4GB of storage.

    That’s the same chip used in the G-Box Dyno and Diamond Multimedia AMP1000 media players. In other words, it’s not the fastest chip around, but it’s reasonably zippy and works with most Android apps and games, including YouTube and Netflix. You should also be able to run XBMC media center for Android on the Prometheus box.

    Unlike many of the smaller Android TV sticks we’ve seen, the Prometheus has plenty of room for ports and features 3 USB 2.0 ports as well as HDMI and Ethernet jacks. It also has built-in support for 802.11b/g/n WiFi. The device runs Google Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. - ebay.com - geekbuying.com - liliputing.com

  26. GeekinOrpington

    Why are all you anoraks debating set top boxes connected to B&W TVs???

    Anyone who believes that all or even many of those with B&W licences really have a B&W TV must also believe in tooth fairies and santa clause!

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