back to article Don't pay for the BBC? Then no Doctor Who for you, I'm afraid

Parliament's Culture Committee has revived the idea of "conditional access" for BBC TV services – which means that if you don't pay, you won't receive the full package. MPs argue that with UK Magistrates Courts rammed with thousands of non-payers a year, conditional access would be cheaper and fairer than the current system, …

  1. }{amis}{ Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Telly Tax exit stage right!!

    I personally don't pay the licence fee as it only applies to live broadcast television if you are like me and only watch Netflix / YouTube and DVD's you don't have to pay to hold up aunties bloated corpse.

    http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/topics/how-to-tell-us-you-dont-watch-tv-top12

  2. sawatts
    Happy

    Worth every penny...

    ...for "Atlantis", "In The Flesh", and BBC 3 alone.

  3. MJI Silver badge

    Devices

    Multiple PVRs TVs

    How do you enable a house full of them?

  4. dogged

    Trickle it in

    All you really need to do is make iPlayer demand a code on your (physical or virtual) license in order to work at all.

    This would raise revenue considerably because you could make licenses available world-wide, safe in the knowledge that overseas viewers would actually be paying for the BBC and not just freeloading it.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Just stop there.

    "Introducing a means of authorising access to television services would solve the criminalisation issue associated with non-payment of the television licence"

    That has bugger all to do with how it is paid for, it is simply how we CHOOSE to collect no payment.

    There is NO reason why it couldn't be a civil issue, the authorities simply choose to make it a criminal issue.

    So do not say X will fix Y. Simply changing the offence could wipe that out in seconds with out ANY change to the license fee.

    1. Squeezer

      Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

      So if you don't pay it, why are you complaining about it? Many people think the license fee is pretty good value for what you get compared to the other ways of getting content...

      1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

        "So if you don't pay it, why are you complaining about it? Many people think the license fee is pretty good value for what you get compared to the other ways of getting content..."

        Sure, and Asda is pretty good value as well, but I'm sure you would object if you had to pay Asda in order to buy stuff from Tesco ...

    2. Lusty Silver badge

      Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

      I assume you're not watching any of the many, many BBC programs on Netflix then, given your apparent dislike for the BBC? It's fine that you're not paying, but calling them a bloated corpse and then watching Dr Who and Red Dwarf, or David Attenborough would seem a little off. I think they are worth every penny even if I can now choose to get the content for free. I'd much rather see them continue than go the way of American TV!

      1. david bates

        Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

        If he does watch BBC stuff on Netflix then he's paying Netflix you idiot

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

          I'm American so I really don't know: if you pay this fee, do all shows have their commercials cut out?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

            "I'm American so I really don't know: if you pay this fee, do all shows have their commercials cut out?"

            No ad breaks, some station idents before and after shows.

          2. Oninoshiko

            Re: I'm an American

            BBC's programming in the UK is like PBS in the US, it does not have commercials. (except for the "here is what we show today" thing between shows)

            The difference is, rather then a fundraser, it's paid for with a tax^w license-fee on everyone who owns a TV.

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: I'm an American

              (except for the "here is what we show today" thing between shows)

              which are getting long enough to rival commercial network ad breaks.

              Still, at least it's not TV licenses AND 22 mins/hour of adverts - which is what the state broadcaster in one country I lived in was getting away with.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: I'm an American

                "which are getting long enough to rival commercial network ad breaks."

                That's because large amounts of BBC production has been farmed out so the BBC only buy it in rather than produce it themselves. The original producers want to sell that content elsewhere in the world too so they create it based on future ad breaks being inserted. That's why even so-called BBC programmes have a obvious break points. In the case of non-drama type programmes there will be one, two or even three "here's what we just told you and here's what we're about to tell you" re-caps.

          3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

            @MyBackDoor: Yes. I know BBC stick commercials into their world-wide broadcasts, but the domestic channels show the programs without interruption and without ads in between either.

            How else could you televise cricket?

            1. Graham Marsden

              @Ken Hagan - Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

              > How else could you televise cricket?

              IIRC Sky stick a single advert between overs.

              Which is fine if you're listening to the FREE commentary on BBC's Test Match Special...

          4. Chad H.

            Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

            There are no commercials on the BBC.

          5. Paul 195

            Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

            There are NO commercials on BBC TV. It's much nicer than watching US network TV where there appears to be a commercial break every 10 minutes.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

          I assume these people send a cheque off to the middle-east every time they fill their car with petrol from a supermarket- after all, just because TESCO is selling something, it would be freeloading not to also pay the people who originally produced it... Either that, or the people who produce a product are within their rights to agree to sell to a third party and for that third party to then sell it on to its customers.

        3. Lusty Silver badge

          Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

          "If he does watch BBC stuff on Netflix then he's paying Netflix you idiot"

          If you're calling me an idiot then I suggest you learn to read. I specifically said not paying the licence is fine by me and perfectly legal even if he doesn't pay Netflix. My issue is that he's insulting the BBC and implying they are no good at what they do. My point was the hypocrisy of watching the programs while insulting their maker. I then went on to make the completely separate point that I'm proud to pay the tiny fee for some of the best content in the world to be created.

        4. J 3
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

          And from whom is Netflix licensing the content?

      2. keith_w

        Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

        If he is watching BBC product on Netflix, then he has paid for Netflix and Netflix has paid the BBC. Therefore, there is no problem with his not paying the license.

      3. fearnothing

        Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

        If you watch BBC programs through Netflix, you're still paying for them.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

        Netflix PAYS the BBC to have those shows in their platform.

        This is the BBC's biggest scam, we pay for it once for it to be made in the first place and then they charge us a second time to see it on streaming or DVD.

        The TV licence is there for education/news programs, not a forced subscription for crap like the voice or eastenders. It is about time they sorted this out.

        Next to deal with, 'why am I paying BT £3 a month extra on my phonebill for football that I don't watch?'

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

          Um, no.

          You pay to have it made, via the licence fee, and delivered to you in the UK by either DTT Freeview or Freesat. You choose to use a different delivery method which is not funded by the BBC but for which you pay a subscription. The BBC receives some negotiated fee to provide their content to the secondary provider - who, guess what, is providing BBC because people won't buy his service *without* the BBC - and that in turn slightly reduces the licence fee for everyone who receives it direct - and for you.

          But you're paying more for a service you could have for less, you're doing it by choice, and you're complaining?

          The charter of the BBC requires it to 'educate, inform, and entertain'. Regardless of what you or I might think or The Voice or Eastenders, an awful lot of people seem to consider them entertainment.

          Which is why a strict subscription model for the BBC is very unlikely to work: a low-viewer program might be seen by only half a million people, and that's not enough to fund it. So instead of providing a service where the Eastenders viewer might flick through the listing and decide that, hey, that documentary looks interesting, the documentary would never be made. If the policy remains to make those documentaries about the possibility of life on Europa or why black holes are hairy or the discovery of a new dinosaur or whatever, then they need to be funded by the income from those who mainly watch Eastenders.

          A thought experiment. Walk into a bookshop, and look at all the books on the shelves. And then ask yourself, how many of those would have been published were they not subsidised by Harry Potter and Shades of Gray and the other blockbusters? And then look online at the self-publishing sites and see how bad things are when you remove the professional editors... You need the popular to support the best of the rest.

    3. Stuart 22

      Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

      That's very public spirited of you. Are you absolutely sure you don't benefit in anyway from those who do pay the tellytax? Never listen to BBC radio, watch BBC productions, appreciate the breadth of classical music available in this country, keeping bloated politicians to account (and Cliff Richard), and provide a valuable companion to many poor pensioners, disabled and so much more for £145 per household?

      It doesn't all get blown on ridiculous salaries, pay-offs and Eastenders. But if it makes you happy to brag about not paying it then keep right on. Its almost a free country.

    4. djack

      Re: Devices

      Never mind PVRs, adding a CA layer will involve having to upgrade/replace pretty much every TV.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Devices

        I have 1 OnCam on the shelf though!

    5. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: Worth every penny...

      I would willingly sell my house and all its contents to help the BBC.

      1. Mr Mulligan

        Re: Worth every penny...

        I think the BBC is a load of cr4p

        1. Ian Emery Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Worth every penny...

          Downvoters are obviously too young to know this is a quote from the same comedy sketch Blowhard quoted further up this thread. (NTNOCN)

          If switching to a CA system, will this mean I can watch Dr Who on iPlayer when I am in China, and not have to BT it a few days later??

          (The "D'oh" is for people not knowing classic comedy when it is quoted at them).

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: Worth every penny...

            +10 for the person who registered as Mr Mulligan to make the 'crap' comment.

            Well, Mr Mulligan, I think you're a load of old crap too :)

    6. Chad H.

      Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

      Which, if you'd read the article, is exactly what they're targeting now.

      Do you watch any BBC programming, and if so, have you always been a freeloader, or is this a recent development?

      1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

        "Do you watch any BBC programming, and if so, have you always been a freeloader, or is this a recent development?"

        Do you watch any CBS, Disney, MGM content (etc.), and if so do you send money to those organisations every month, or are you also a freeloader? Or perhaps you watch the free Sky channels without having a Sky subscription? Come to that, how much do you send to "The Register" in return for reading its content?

        1. Chad H.

          Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

          >>>>Do you watch any CBS, Disney, MGM content (etc.), and if so do you send money to those organisations every month, or are you also a freeloader?

          I don't go onto their website and watch it for free. I either pay for their content, or watch it on a commercial operated service that pays for it.... Unlike Cord Cutters who run to iPlayer.

          >>>>Come to that, how much do you send to "The Register" in return for reading its content?

          The Register is a commercial service with advertisements, and unlike many on here, I dont freeload by using adblock.

    7. Pristine Audio

      Re: Trickle it in

      This would raise revenue considerably because you could make licenses available world-wide, safe in the knowledge that overseas viewers would actually be paying for the BBC and not just freeloading it.

      No you couldn't, because the programmes shown on the BBC are licensed and sold on a per-territory basis. The BBC couldn't sell general access outside the UK - just as you can't legitimately buy a UK Sky card outside the country or get the UK's iPlayer service (there's something else for international subscribers that shows old programmes).

      Of course there are well-known hoops some people jump through in order to get decoder cards, usually to watch Sky Sports, but "officially" it doesn't happen.

      1. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Re: Trickle it in

        It would be nice if they got rid of the per-territory exclusive license crap but I don't see that happening because media companies love it, no mater how much the public hates it.

        If I want to watch BBC stuff in Canada I have to subscribe to BBC Canada, since that's a cable service I also need at least basic cable, a cable box with PVR so I can time shift. Not going to happen so I'll stick with my antenna, and netflix.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Trickle it in

        "No you couldn't, because the programmes shown on the BBC are licensed and sold on a per-territory basis."

        aka the global copyright cartels are still hard at it.

    8. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Overseas viewers

      In my experience, overseas viewers can't "freeload it". As a licence-payer I was a bit miffed when I settled down to catch up on some iPlayer viewing while stuck in a French hotel on a business trip last year...iPlayer refused to play as it could tell I was accessing from a non-UK IP address.

      1. dogged

        Re: Overseas viewers

        > In my experience, overseas viewers can't "freeload it".

        I know - it's region locked. My point was that it would no longer need to be, if it were locked to license holders.

      2. Dave Fox

        Re: Overseas viewers

        Even completely non-technical friends of mine have cottoned on to using a VPN to geo-locate themselves elsewhere, usually using a tablet device with VPN software that requires zero technical ability to set up and install.

      3. Rabbit80

        Re: Overseas viewers

        "In my experience, overseas viewers can't "freeload it". As a licence-payer I was a bit miffed when I settled down to catch up on some iPlayer viewing while stuck in a French hotel on a business trip last year...iPlayer refused to play as it could tell I was accessing from a non-UK IP address."

        Easy - just sign up for a weeks trial of a "Smart VPN" such as www.unblock-us.com

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Overseas viewers

          "Easy - just sign up for a weeks trial of a "Smart VPN" such as www.unblock-us.com"

          Warning: May also bollux up your connections when the 'Smart' isn't.

          That was not fun to diagnose. Felt like an episode of House, with the client 'accidentally omitting' its existance until rubbed in the face with the evidence..

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Overseas viewers

        "In my experience, overseas viewers can't "freeload it". As a licence-payer I was a bit miffed when I settled down to catch up on some iPlayer viewing while stuck in a French hotel on a business trip last year...iPlayer refused to play as it could tell I was accessing from a non-UK IP address."

        Why not tunnel everything through your home connection? The BBC wouldn't know any different, legalities aside.

    9. Jonathan 29

      Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

      Even if nothing else changes, it is an absolute certainty that the license will be amended to include anyone who watches catch up tv services online.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

        Indeed, but that's actually the biggest philosophical change. Previously the licence was for the reception of broadcasts (originally radio, then TV); it was never for owning the equipment. Also, the licence fee does *not* go to the BBC; it goes to central government funds who every three years agree a grant to the BBC which, by coincidence, closely tracks the licence revenue.

        Charging to watch catchup - which has been a huge hole in the system - is effectively charging per device (or at least, per household).

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

          "Previously the licence was for the reception of broadcasts (originally radio, then TV); it was never for owning the equipment."

          And that is still the case. In fact licence cover is required only by the person who "operates or installs" equipment so as to receive broadcast TV. If a TV licence inspector sees that a TV set in your (unlicensed) house is receiving a live TV broadcast they would still have to prove who caused it to be switched on to a live broadcast channel in order to gain a criminal conviction. Proving that you have a set that is *capable* of receiving broadcast TV is nowhere near proof of an offence, though they like to pretend that it is. There is no specific person in a household who is responsible for ensuring that TV broadcasts are not received unless the household is covered by a licence. Most (all?) convictions come about because a gullible householder confesses.

      2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: Telly Tax exit stage right!!

        "Even if nothing else changes, it is an absolute certainty that the license will be amended to include anyone who watches catch up tv services online."

        Which, from the POV of the BBC will have the advantage that they could gather evidence that TV content was being watched in a household just by getting a log from the website. Easier than sending a powerless licence inspector to a house in the hope that the gullible householder will either let them in or confess to watching telly without a licence. Not that it *ought* to assist them in gaining a criminal conviction, because they would then have to prove beyond reasonable doubt *who* is the individual who watched the content from said household. Note that the only person who must be covered by a TV licence (and who could be convicted for not having one) is the person who physically operated (or caused to be operated) the viewing apparatus, and that needs to be proven.

    10. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: Devices

      It's a complete bugger even if you've got one telly. Either all tellies are getting an upgrade to have some form of authentication scheme to dictate what channels you can view (whether that's the "hardware dongle card" or a web-login interface) - or you're supplying new decoder boxes to everyone that will effectively perform the same function.

      In the former case, there's nothing to do as "upgraded" kit will do the authentication thing inherently. In the latter case, just stick the authentication system on the antenna (although perhaps some method of communicating with it would be nice so you don't have to climb a ladder to change credentials).

      Massive upheaval, either way.

      Of course, if everything moves to IP TV, rather than old-fashioned radio waves, it becomes a lot easier at the domestic end, but requires BT Reacharound to do a lot more work on the country's infrastructure.

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: Devices

        "Of course, if everything moves to IP TV, rather than old-fashioned radio waves"

        Why is it that wireless seems to be the must-have for every gadget *except* the TV where people still seem to believe that a 1980s style plug-it-into-the-wall cable feed is the best approach? Can someone explain this doublethink to me?

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Devices

          Give me a "B", give me an "A" give me an "N" give me a "D", give me a "W".....

          1. boltar Silver badge

            Re: Devices

            "Give me a "B", give me an "A" give me an "N" give me a "D", give me a "W"....."

            Are you suggesting 80 channels on freeview and god knows how many on satellite still isn't enough?

          2. Valerion

            Re: Devices

            "Give me a "B", give me an "A" give me an "N" give me a "D", give me a "W"....."

            Bandwagon? Ok, I see what you did there.

        2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Devices

          Many modern TV sets can display video streamed over a WiFi network, and display video files direct from a USB storage device, so it is perfectly feasible to have a wireless TV set.

          But in general video is very bandwidth intensive, so the portions of RF spectrum currently allocated for local communications would soon become too congested in (say) a block of flats where there is a need to supply a dozen or more separate HD video feeds within a few tens of meters radius, especially if the video is from something like a bluray player or games console that is not as compressed as broadcast sources.

        3. Daggerchild Silver badge

          Re: Devices

          "Why is it that wireless seems to be the must-have for every gadget *except* the TV"

          Because if you annoy the bored spotty teenager next door he'll go and trivially interdict all your home wifi devices to drop your connections every 5 minutes, forever. And you'll never work it out and never fix it.

          Wifi infrastructure is *convenient*, not *reliable*.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Devices

          "Why is it that wireless seems to be the must-have for every gadget *except* the TV where people still seem to believe that a 1980s style plug-it-into-the-wall cable feed is the best approach? Can someone explain this doublethink to me?"

          A big screen TV isn't moving about every 10 minutes, is it? Normal fixed appliances should always have an Ethernet option and people should be encouraged to use it above wireless (where available)

          Wireless is a convenience, not an option meant for reliability, that's what Ethernet is for.

          1. Senshi

            Re: Devices

            Luddites should use their real names, unless you aren't proud of being a luddite.

    11. Ol'Peculier
      Meh

      Sky

      Same way Sky does, you can connect up to 3 (?) devices per account and only switch them every month (I think, this is based on why a friend uses another friends Sky account to watch F1 in his own home)

    12. illiad

      Re: Devices

      all modern TVs have a 'conditional access' slot, so you can get things like UKGOLD etc on your freeview TV...

      surely it is simple to use that??

      1. xslogic

        Re: Devices (@ Illiad)

        Errr... No. The only thing that's currently subscription on Freeview is BT sport. And for that you require a box that'll plug into your HDMI socket. There is no option of a CAM.

        Besides which, I'm less sure on TVs, I'll admit, but I do know it's difficult to get a cheap Freesat box (Which also has to be catered for) with a slot for a CAM these days. (I speak as somebody who tried to find one to buy)

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Devices

        "all modern TVs have a 'conditional access' slot,"

        Emphasis on "A", as in "singular"

        With a half dozen CA broadcasters this becomes a bit of a problem.

        It's cheaper for the BBC to be directly funded or a universal levy introduced.

        radio licenses were abolished because transistorisation meant they were impossible to keep track of. The same thing happened with TVs a long time ago but civil servants have clung tenaciously to the notion firstly that "they're hard to move around" and more latterly "everyone has a TV, so those without licenses must be illegally watching"

        One of the harder things to put up with from smug non-BBC watchers is that they're often avid radio listeners - to the BBC, so that means license payers are subsidising them.

    13. James 51 Silver badge

      Re: Worth every penny...

      Atlantis was so so but In The Flesh was bloody good. Certainly beats what I've seen of 'I survived the zombie apocalypse'.

    14. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: Trickle it in

      "All you really need to do is make iPlayer demand a code on your (physical or virtual) license in order to work at all."

      How would you prevent me and 100 other people from entering someone else's code?

    15. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Worth every penny...

      But ... Gordon Ramsay.

    16. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: Just stop there.

      Surely it is far easier and far more efficient to remove the license fee and recover the money through fiscal drag on tax thresholds?

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Just stop there.

        Surely it is far easier and far more efficient to remove the license fee and recover the money through fiscal drag on tax thresholds?

        Sure, but the problem is that all tax goes to the treasury and this would make the BBC directly beholden to the government of the day. The licence fee guarantees a certain amount of independence from the government of the day.

        1. Alpha Tony

          Re: Just stop there.

          Exactly. The unique way the BBC is funded at the moment keeps some degree of separation from both commercial and political interference. It's not perfect, but it's a lot better than any alternative I have heard proposed, including what is being recommended here.

    17. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Trickle it in

      licenses

      tsk, tsk

      To license but a licence. Same for practice and practise. Except in America which takes English spelling irregularities and makes a mockery of them. Sigh.

    18. phuzz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Worth every penny...

      BBC4 and 6Music are worth the license fee for me, but each to their own.

      Oh, and you don't usually have to wait more than a few hours for Dr Who to show up on the torrent sites. Er, or so my friend informs me...ahem.

    19. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Worth every penny...

      It seems that your 8 downvoters (at time of writing) would much rather watch Coronation Street and Dickends Real Deal than pay for BBC shows like Doctor Who and Top Gear.

      1. Senshi

        Re: Worth every penny...

        Interesting comments from an anonymous commentard. Keep it up.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Worth every penny...

          If you have a problem with anonymous 'commentards' then you may be more suited here > http://www.facebook.com

    20. Craigness
      Facepalm

      Re: Just stop there.

      "There is NO reason why it couldn't be a civil issue, the authorities simply choose to make it a criminal issue."

      For it to be a civil issue the BBC would have to prove they have contracted with the TV set owner, even if the owner never watched BBC.

  6. Tzhx

    How much money does the BBC make selling their tat overseas? How much of that is re-invested / set against the costs of making the programmes vs. sent to line pockets of the Trust and their friends? I think probably not a lot, since every time there's a FOI request on that issue they avoid it saying it's "not a public affair".

    I don't consume a lot of BBC content. I don't like that I have to pay such a (relatively to me) high price for it. I don't give two flying pigs or a masturbating monkey who killed Lucy Beale. Scrap the license fee, and for the two or so hours of BBC content that I do watch, I can just fast forward through the adverts like I do for everything else on TV.

    1. DJO Silver badge

      More Adverts

      No no no.

      Basic Economics part 1:

      Increase the amount of advertising space available (such as putting commercial ads on the BBC) and the value of that space goes down so you need even more adverts to raise the same revenue.

      The upshot of putting adverts on the BBC would be to increase the quantity of adverts everywhere and reduce their effectiveness so ultimately pushing the demand for advertising down which would mean less revenue leading to poorer quality programs (even on ITV, I know it seems hard to believe they could get even worse but it's possible, just).

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: More Adverts

        I suspect that if you put adverts on the BBC, ITV may as well pack up and go home.

  7. codejunky Silver badge

    Well

    I would prefer not to have to pay for a channel/series of channels including radio services and web services that I dont use. I have no interest in their output and hated paying them just so I could watch the better programming on sky. Now I do neither as the overall cost for the little TV I watched was far more than it was worth.

    Also I cant really consider BBC news as news unless I consider FOX to be too. The massive bias has removed credibility.

    1. dogged

      Re: Well

      It's amazing the amount of strongly partisan vested interests out there who think the BBC is biased.

      You're company with the Greens, David Irving and Nigel Farage! Lucky you.

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: Well

        My experience of people who complain that the BBC is biased is usually that they're talking about a specific episode/series rather than looking at the whole offering. So you get 'the Beeb is biased' as a result of a documentary specifically looking at one side of the argument, whilst ignoring the fact that other programs look at the other side (or both sides).

        I don't watch it much anymore, but I think the Beeb is pretty good value. Look at what the commercial broadcasters do with things like nature documentaries and you soon realise the BBC is a step ahead. Personally, I would rather they'd scrap Strictly Come Dancing (as I think that's something a commercial broadcaster would happily make) but I try not to whinge about it and claim the licensing fee should be scrapped.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Well

          @ Ben Tasker

          "My experience of people who complain that the BBC is biased is usually that they're talking about a specific episode/series rather than looking at the whole offering"

          Or presenting scientifically failed theory as factual (mega tsunami), unanimously deciding the scientific debate of climate change is no longer a debate (against the factual science which is still ongoing), refusing to say a bad thing about windfarms when they had already been outed as vastly under-performing then when they FINALLY acknowledge it the article was still in the most positive light for windfarms, poor quality reporting of Japans 'nuclear apocalypse' starting with a mushroom cloud image, or the severe misreporting of the stag that was shot and abandoned by a heartless bastard with a gun.... hunted and killed by a heartless bastard who took it away.... hunted and killed under licence for the good of the deer population, and so on.

          "I don't watch it much anymore, but I think the Beeb is pretty good value."

          Excellent for you. And so like minds can pay for it because they want it, enjoy it and use it. And those who through personal choice dont shouldnt have to pay for it. If it is actually good value then it doesnt need enforced payment of the TV tax for the pleasure of watching other things instead.

          "Look at what the commercial broadcasters do with things like nature documentaries and you soon realise the BBC is a step ahead."

          Sorry I dont watch them. I have nothing against them but if I wanted that I would pay for a channel that provided it.

          "I would rather they'd scrap Strictly Come Dancing (as I think that's something a commercial broadcaster would happily make) but I try not to whinge about it and claim the licensing fee should be scrapped."

          I comfort myself that if it was scrapped it would be replaced by something else I would have the torture of hearing about like for example The Voice. So because I choose not to watch any of that at all full stop because I dont want any of the BBC stuff, then for me the BBC is of negative value because I must pay NOT to watch it. A simple concept which upsets any BBC tax supporter.

          1. dogged

            Re: Well

            Have you got kids, codejunky?

            Is it feasible that you will ever have kids?

            If so, get down on your knees and give thanks for the BBC because the alternatives are crammed with 20 minute ad-breaks aimed at turning your children into marketers on corporates' behalf.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: Well

              @ dogged

              "Have you got kids, codejunky?

              Is it feasible that you will ever have kids?

              If so, get down on your knees and give thanks for the BBC because the alternatives are crammed with 20 minute ad-breaks aimed at turning your children into marketers on corporates' behalf."

              There is no alternative?!? Not even the option to not sit them down in front of it for (how many ad-breaks do you measure it in?). As a stunning way of protecting them from advertising... at least until you take them outside where there is much advertising. However without excluding TV how many ads are on the films and TV shows/cartoons available in the bargain bins of many shops? Assuming you dont want them to watch adverts.

              Lets reiterate the basic point- I dont watch the BBC nor listen to it. Certain elements of it provide uncomfortable bias against fact which I do not have any interest in. I dont have much interest in the content but I do not oppose others right to pay for it if they believe it has value. So why dont we all pay for what we want to watch? You could even pay enough that they dont do adverts!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Well

            all that spiel was rendered void when you said climate change was a debate. It is a fact. Get used to it.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: Well

              @AC

              "all that spiel was rendered void when you said climate change was a debate. It is a fact. Get used to it."

              I ment the scientific debate not the political/religious/fanatical one. Sorry if you misunderstood.

        2. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Well

          Actually could you imagine an ITV version of SCD?

          Antanddec would be required to present, it would be full of minor soap characters and reality show contestants only, and full of annoying overloud music.

          ITV just can't match even on stuff you don't watch.

          Compare Great British Railway Journeys to Barging Around Britain.

  8. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    If we can get rid of the crap

    i.e. all the stuff made for the CDE group who allegedly don't watch it, it might be worth a subscription to keep BBC2, BBC4 and Radio 4 (with a little Radio 2 for seasoning).

    But the presence of a conditional access system is fine if you already have one (e.g. cable or satellite) but not if half the population or more have to get the hardware - and of course the cost of a CA is a net drain as well.

    A hypothecated tax - which is effectively what we have now - is surely the simplest method.

    I wonder what happens to my pension if the BBC runs out of money?

  9. Truffle

    We should pay for TV we dont want

    I'm desperatly against a pay-per-view model. It will result in 100 look-a-like program all trying to capture that magic formula for top viewing figures.

    100 variations of Top Gear? No thanks.

    It's vital that people don't have a choice where their money goes. Just because 1 million people watch Brian Cox's latest series, and 10 Million watch 'The Voice' or Strictly, does not mean that either of the latter shows are better and deserve more money.

    Childrens programs, news, education, science etc will all be scrapped for 'Top Gear Overdrive' (A live top gear followup program), 'Call the Babysitter', and 'Strictly come Dancing, on ice, trampolene edition'

    1. RISC OS

      Re: We should pay for TV we dont want

      UP yours,

      I don't want to watch the BBC and can't see why I should pay for it. I don't see it as vital.

      As You do and are "desperatly against a pay-per-view model" why don't you pay for me and everyone else... especially as you think "...It's vital that people don't have a choice where their money goes", paying for me shouldn't be a problem for you.

      Currently I'm paying for the likes of you for something I don't use.

      1. zebthecat

        Re: We should pay for TV we dont want

        Er, this is kind of how public service and taxation works (for tax is what the license fee is).

        See also:

        Roads

        Railways

        The NHS

        Schools

        etc etc.

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: We should pay for TV we dont want

          So the BBC is as important as all of the above? Come off it.

          It's an entertainment service, of which reasonably priced alternatives exist at various price points ( including free for ITV, etc ).

          Make it subscription only and I'll do without MOTD and Top Gear. Infact, if the BBC went subscription only, Sky would presumably be allowed to buy the rights to show highlights packages, so I wouldn't miss out on that either.

          1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: We should pay for TV we dont want

            It's also a news reporting service that, lacking any private financial backing, has to maintain enough balance that it doesn't upset any major UK political group. Many other countries would benefit from a similar arrangement, but the politicians running the show in those countries don't like the idea of balanced reporting so it doesn't happen.

            Those outside the UK might take issue with the suggestion that the BBC is balanced, but that's probably because the BBC doesn't have to keep foreign politicians happy, so it probably *is* less balanced in its foreign reporting.

        2. Ossi

          Re: We should pay for TV we dont want

          "Er, this is kind of how public service and taxation works (for tax is what the license fee is).

          See also:

          Roads

          Railways

          The NHS

          Schools

          etc etc."

          So your argument is that we pay for roads out of general taxation; therefore we should pay for a broadcaster out of it? Am I missing something here?

        3. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: We should pay for TV we dont want

          Roads, railways NHS schools etc. benefit people who don't use them, either directly or indirectly. I do not however see any direct or indirect benefit accruing to those who do not watch the BBC from those who do.

        4. Senshi
          FAIL

          Re: We should pay for TV we dont want

          So you're comparing TELEVISION to things like: roads, railways, schools. Right, great comparison.

      2. Truffle

        Re: We should pay for TV we dont want

        I haven't been to hospital since i had butterfly stitches at, probably, the age of 8. I don't smoke, I exercise regularly, I use a private dentist, 20:20 vision etc etc. But yet a good percentage of my salary goes to the NHS each month.

        I've never called the police, my house has never burnt down, and when the grass over grows on the roadside near my house, i'll go out and cut it. But yet I still pay my council tax.

        I dont watch alot of TV, infact I couldnt tell you when I last watched a BBC program myself, but I understand the importance of the BBC charter model. It is the only thing keeping good quality programs that appeal to ALL audiences, on the air. I'm not interested in University Challenge, but i'm happy to pay knowing that there are others out there, possibly less fortunate than myself, who DO enjoy watching it.

        Look at Pay-per-view attempts at 'educational' programming. Track the History or National Geographic's channels show listings for the last 10 years and watch the slide into reality TV.

    2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: We should pay for TV we dont want

      "Childrens programs, news, education, science etc will all be scrapped for 'Top Gear Overdrive' (A live top gear followup program), 'Call the Babysitter', and 'Strictly come Dancing, on ice, trampolene edition'"

      So how does "The Discovery Channel" and "The Disney Channel" survive?

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Devil

        Re: We should pay for TV we dont want

        > So how does "The Discovery Channel" and "The Disney Channel" survive?

        Discovery went to crap and Disney was always crap. Disney is not a good example of quality children's programming even if you focus on them as "strictly entertainment".

      2. Mark 65 Silver badge

        Re: We should pay for TV we dont want

        So how does "The Discovery Channel" and "The Disney Channel" survive?

        By selling formulaic tat to subscription TV services.

      3. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: We should pay for TV we dont want

        So how does "The Discovery Channel" and "The Disney Channel" survive?

        By catering to the lowest common denominator, which may or may not (in the viewers opinion) lead to lower quality programming. In my view, it generally does, though it's not like I don't criticise some of the crap that the BBC churns out (Strictly, some of the 'science' shows) they do sometimes put a real investment into some high quality shows

        Someone mentioned ITV and it being free, presumably they haven't looked at the garbage that ITV have resorted to airing. Most of it is utter shite.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Holmes

        Re: We should pay for TV we dont want

        God knows how, it isn't good enough

  10. Pisartis
    Pirate

    Axe the Telly Tax

    And the sooner the better!

    I can't remember the last time I watched live broadcast BBC. Yet I've still got to pay the telly tax if I choose to get my idiot-box entertainment from elsewhere.

    At the risk of giving them ideas, it's the equivalent of forcing everyone to pay for a copy of the Guardian before they're allowed to buy any other paper.

    (Jolly roger icon, because I couldn't see a Dick Turpin one!)

    1. Ike Aramba

      Re: Axe the Telly Tax

      @Pisartis

      They've already had something similar to that ridiculous idea

      http://www.theguardian.com/media/2012/sep/23/broadband-levy-save-newspapers

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fair Enough

    I don't pay it either - again, because I don't watch live TV.

    I watch a lot of iPlayer though and frankly, while it's nice having it for free, I wouldn't object "in principle" to some kind of pay per download model.

    As others have mentioned, how do you manage multiple PVR's in one house. Yes, you could just all sit around one TV and watch together - but it's not that convenient. Plus Tommy might want to watch Dr. Who on a tablet on the train etc.

    I reckon the best "model" for charging would be to offer both of the following:

    1. Access All Areas - Unlimited. AKA The Licence.

    AND

    2. Pay per download in GB's. In other words pay for (for example) 500GB of BBC access at a time. Available to all. Similar to newsgroup access. Expires in a year (or whatever). You can share it with your family. You can choose to download SD or HD.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I sold my television because of the tax in support of the National Leninist propaganda machine. The delicious irony is that BigBrotherCorp's dwindling relevance has come as a result of the football money spent by the very working class down whose throat the BBC has been so determined to stuff its patronising middle-class leftism. I look forward to being able to buy a television without having to pay 145 GBP a year to that bunch of pampered smug socialists. Damn the BBC.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      And yet you happily pay the fortune in advertising revenue that is levied on each and every purchase you make, whether or not you actually watch the bloody programme or use the products advertised?

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "I sold my television"

      Obligatory XKCD

  13. streaky Silver badge

    Conditional Access

    I have no issue with conditional access. I don't watch broadcast TV, and I'd be happy paying on a case-by-case for the stuff I would want to watch if it stopped sucking and started being good again like it used to be, for example Horizon.

    There's a problem, they're not talking about conditional access, they're talking about billing people regardless of them watching broadcast TV; I'll happily go to jail before I pay it.

  14. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    Speaking as a middle-aged person....

    it's worth it for Radio 4 alone

  15. Captain Hogwash Silver badge
    WTF?

    Re: "would probably see an increase, because the middle class value their Radio 4"

    Er, conditional access for radio? I think I might have misunderstood something. They got rid of the need to have a radio licence in 1971.

  16. unitron

    Being in the US, I'm no expert on the BBC...

    ...but apparently it was decided sometime back that its broadcast services were a public good that benefit society as a whole, so why not just cover the cost of all that out of general revenues and scrap the idea, and the immense hassle and expense, of trying to keep track of which household has what kind of radio and video gear?

    1. zebthecat

      Re: Being in the US, I'm no expert on the BBC...

      Don't be silly - that is far too sensible an idea.

    2. dogged

      Re: Being in the US, I'm no expert on the BBC...

      Rupert Murdoch gets very upset about that kind of talk.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Being in the US, I'm no expert on the BBC...

      If it's funded by general taxation then politicians are going to fiddle with it more than they do now.

      Want to see journalists being hired and fired when there's a change of government when the new government took office they got their man in as the new head of news? No, neither do I.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Being in the US, I'm no expert on the BBC...

      I came here to say the exact same thing.

      Thing is, that is exactly what is happening now but the government are putting a different procedural slant on it.

      As someone said above, the license is effectively a tax that go to the general government coffers and the BBC gets a separate grant purportedly matched to the license revenue. There is very little difference between this and funding the BBC out of general taxation.

      Over and above the emotional reactions and issues related to "fairness", scrapping the license would kill a whole wadge of stupid criminal law in the UK and remove any necessity for pay per view style access requirements which would be expensive to operate, divisive and probably unsustainable in the long run.

      The BBC was started as a public service for the common good, evidenced by the Open University, science programmes and the like, many of which have been canned since they don't cater to a wide and witless audience. The fact that a lot of it seems to have devolved into tat is a problem in itself.

    5. RISC OS

      Re: Being in the US, I'm no expert on the BBC...

      because there are idiots in this country who can't speak another language and have never lived anywhere else and truly believe (in the same way yanks believe in the bible stories) that british TV "is second to none and the envy of the world".

      Sadly, they are wrong on both counts.

  17. Bob Dunlop

    Hope they have a subscription plan with "NO sport, NO celebrity, NO soaps, NO game shows/reality TV"

    Should be about 50p a week since there would be so little content.

  18. CADmonkey

    £2.80 a week for no adverts during programmes?

    The BBC could do fuck all else and I'd still pay it.

    Last time we watched a film on C5 there were 16 adverts per break, and breaks 3-4 times per hour...insane.

    And with Sky you pay to watch ads! Wish I'd thought of that one!

    Watch any other country's TV and you too will value the BBC.

  19. FunkyEric
    Happy

    Look...

    They'll probably just stick it in with your council tax and you'll all have no choice. Unless you don't live in a house. Unless you're unemployable and then the government will pay it for you so you can sit around and watch telly all day.

  20. Alan Denman

    BBC earnings give extra value

    It might be best to switch to a '100% of households' tax at say £110 per year.

    The total cost ain't even a single pint of beer per week highlighting the value of the collective.

    It is also worth mentioning that the upcoming removal of BBC 3 is looking extremely suspicious.

    Get the wrong directors/trust workers and we suddenly find people plotting for privatisation cash bonuses earned from corrupt thinking by those 'who would be king'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BBC earnings give extra value

      And how long before the £110 per year increases to something ridiculous? Also who are you know who can afford to pay? A pint is cheap for you but a luxury to others. How about making the TV tax £1000 per year, I mean bankers spend that on lunch in a week so it's really cheap. The licence fee worked when there was one channel, there are thousands now. I sell a service and my price is reasonable (i think), but whether or not you take my service I demand payment. Feel free to go elsewhere as I get paid anyway. That is the BBC payment model. Sounds like extortion to me.

  21. billat29

    What is the BBC for?

    If you drop the licence fee and make it sell subscriptions, then you need to let it compete with the others by allowing it to have its own mobile network and broadband.

  22. peterm3

    handing the future to Murdoch

    Abolishing the licence fee would mean handing the future to Murdoch or other foreign-owned media. British culture would be seriously damaged. Public Service Television should remain just that, a public service accessible to all. Politicians in the pocket to powerful media interests (in the lead-up to an election where Murdoch's newspaper support is vital) making these decisions is really depressing and short-sighted.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: handing the future to Murdoch

      it's very important to have a left wing TV news station to balance against the right wing newspapers, so we should keep BBC news on that basis..

      1. Magnus Ramage

        Re: handing the future to Murdoch

        Like that well-known leftie Nick Robinson, the BBC's political editor? Or their endless fawning Royal coverage? Or their over-emphasis on UKIP?

        I don't get the argument that the BBC are leftist. To me they're part of the British Establishment. They're probably broadly socially liberal, in the way of the London-based media, but they'll always basically support the political status quo.

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: handing the future to Murdoch

      This would'nt be a problem if politicians stood up to the likes of murdock and said "print media.. or TV media... one or the other but you cant own both".

      And any compulsary tax al la 'the poll tax' levied on every household at £200 a year... stuff that.

      I maybe a virgin media customer and pay them X number of pounds to access cable TV... but I dont want the sky or netflix subscription services so I dont pay for them.. I dont want BBC either but I'll HAVE to pay even if I dont have a TV.

      As for the silly 'we all pay for the NHS or roads or military" arguement, we use those services in our day to day lives.. some parts we hope not to use, some parts we hope never to use, but I've never heard of anyone being forced to watch BBC in order to defend their country or deliver parcels or have life saving heart surgery.

      Guess when the levy comes in I'll be posting to el-reg from in prison

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: handing the future to Murdoch

        "print media.. or TV media... one or the other but you cant own both".

        So you agree the BBC should stop printing magazines or broadcasting?

  23. Christian Berger Silver badge

    That would mean DRM

    Essentially you'd no longer be allowed to record TV or watch it on devices other than your vendor approved ones. Essentially this will open the door to your TV spying on. There will be databases on what you watch.

    Plus this will bring no additional revenues, cost quite a lot of money (in part for the station, in part for the viewer) and will drive more people into piracy. In short it's possibly the worst thing they can do. It's a perversion of the idea of television.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    meth or death

    £6 for 48 solid hours of Breaking Bad 15 times a month (approx) or £145 for as many episodes of Antiques Roadshow required to make you comatose. No contest.

    1. CADmonkey

      Re: meth or death

      £6 per month versus £12 per month? How many times can you watch Breaking Bad?

      Netflix gets pretty stale, pretty quickly. It took us about 3 months to watch everything worth watching IMO. Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, OITNB are all well and good but man, there's loads and loads of rubbish, even if you blag it onto Netflix US. And the interface sucks.

  25. phil dude
    Joke

    alternatively....

    there are those that torrent everything in nicely ad-free packages and wonder what all the fuss is about.

    P.

  26. Enrico Vanni

    Sorry, but Conditional Access systems get compromised, all the time. ITV Digital went tits up largely because it could not stem the leak of customers when its CA system could be bypassed with a microcontroller and eeprom - hell the market for pirate stuff was so large that the hack was manufactured en masse in smart-card form factor. Likewise Sky and Virgin Media. The whack-a-mole game was very expensive for the providers, and even when they thought they had made their smart cards secure enough the pirates discovered how to share the decryption keys from one legit card across the 'net.

    CA will spell the end for the BBC as an independent body because they will be forced to throw in with the most secure (for the moment) CA provider (which pretends to be independent from Murdoch these days) or if they choose a rival system they will quickly go the same way as Canal+, Multivision, Premiere, Stream TV and the many, many others on the long list of providers whose systems were 'compromised' and were eventually assimilated by the Murdoch empire anyway (which is maybe what this is about all along...)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Posting anonymously as I've worked for both CA companies mentioned below...

      NDS is independent of Murdoch these days - they were sold to Cisco a couple of years ago. News Corp no longer have any stake, although there is still a relatively tight working relationship between NDS and BSkyB.

      As for modern CA, the latest versions of Nagra and Videoguard are both pretty secure so I'd argue against the 'get compromised, all the time' comment. Both as far as I know haven't been compromised (yet). ITV Digital used SECA 2 (off the top of my head) which was pretty poor.

  27. kellerr13

    Fuck them

    Fuck Doctor Who, and Fuck the BBC, and FCC

  28. AManCalledBob

    The problem they are trying to solve is the impact of non-payers on the courts system. The way to solve this is to not have any non-payers. The cost of the licence fee is set by the Government; so the amount of money the BBC receives is fixed as the total number of households less those who don't have receiving equipment multiplied by the license fee. So why does this not come from general taxation, as it is constant? There would be no avoidance, so no need to have any detection/enforcement. It would not impact the independence of the BBC,

    And while they are at it, could they add road fund license, and 3rd party car insurance to the cost of fuel - no avoidance, no collection required, no enforcement costs.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "And while they are at it, could they add road fund license, and 3rd party car insurance to the cost of fuel - no avoidance, no collection required, no enforcement costs."

      Pay per mile road tax and insurance? That's a civil servants wet dream

    2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      "And while they are at it, could they add road fund license, and 3rd party car insurance to the cost of fuel - no avoidance, no collection required, no enforcement costs."

      You've got people complaining about having to pay the license fee already, what do you think it's going to be like when they start complaining that they shouldn't need to pay road tax/insurance whenever they need to refill their lawnmower/generator/chainsaw?

    3. captain veg

      there is no "road fund licence"

      It's called Vehicle Excise Duty.

      But yes, it could usefully be added to fuel duty.

      Insurance, no, unless you want to be subsidising reckless youths who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford even third party cover and forget about any notion of no claims bonus. I know I don't.

      -A.

  29. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Devices indeed

    The problem isn't paying for a CA card to be active versus not. The problem is having DVB TVs that become useless, DVRs that become useless, set top boxes that become useless, DVB cards for computers that become useless.

    I've put off switching from OTA (over the air) plus about 20 channels from (very cheap) analog cable to DirecTV or digital cable for just this reason -- I have a MythTV DVR, and I don't want to set up a clunky set top box + IR blaster arrangement, and none of the vendors (DirecTV, DIsh Network, or any cable company with CableCard) has any viable arrangement to just pop that access card into a USB, PCI, or PCIe device and get video into the DVR.

    (I think with CableCard there's like 1 super-clunky setup, that requires buying an ENTIRE pre-built Windows PC. The card is not sold seperately due to some assinine idea that rights restrictions systems work if the video card and PC are tied together.)

  30. Daggerchild Silver badge

    "Only one remains compulsory: the BBC"

    Well, I on-demand - I don't own, watch or record TV, so it isn't.

    I was very impressed by the one 'pay only for what you need' model I used - Sky Sports splits a competition across *all* of their optional channels so I only *needed* to pay for them *all* to get all of anything. Funnily enough that cost a *lot*.

    But really, I thought the BBC existed to supply people's needs, not just their wants. People won't pay for what they may need but *don't* want. As it stands, love em or hate em, everyone gets the BBC equally. Demanding we split ourselves into classes of haves and have-nots... hrm...

    What was the headline Doctor Who threat about though? I can watch Doctor Who on iPlayer without a licence. Is the proposed model changing that?

  31. A Ghost
    Mushroom

    Saw this coming

    Too many people angry at the intimidation tactics of the Beeb's bully boys: WE KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE!

    Yeah, and I know your detector vans tech doesn't exist.

    Remember that little campaign? It was around the time that the internet started and information was getting out about your operation.

    Keep harassing me. I'm keeping all the letters as evidence. I also assume you are using RIPA to have me followed by private detectives. As well as monitoring my internet activity. Good luck. If I find this out, I'll post it everywhere to let all the taxpayers at the Daily Mail get more apoplectic (than they are already).

    I watch iPlayer now and again, but to be honest there are so many more interesting and educational things on youtube (yes really - it's not all cat vids, but those are nice too).

    These are the three things that have changed the game for you dear Auntie:

    1: The aforementioned bully boy business with regard to collecting your fees.

    2: The institutionalised blind eyes and looking the other way with regard to abuse of minors.

    3; The propaganda. Though to be fair, those on the right, think you lean to the left, and those that dress to the left think you lean to right. Can't please all the people all the time I suppose. Doesn't matter anyway, it's all brainwashing.

    By all means get heavy and send the big boys around. Not a lot I can do about that. I'd liked to have beaten the crap out of those five yoots dat mugged me, but unfortunately, it wasn't to be.

    What irks me most though, is this sense of entitlement as if you have some kind of pre-ordained primatur from God himself. Get over it. The party's over. It's nothing personal. It's just the internet. Things move on. Attitudes change.

    Try strongarm tactics if you like but that is what has lost you any good will you had in the first place. It's a shame, because yes, you were the best, the most professional organisation of its kind in the 20th Century. I for one, will be sad to see you go. I hope you can mend your wicked ways and adapt, mutate, survive. But I don't hold my breath.

    But honestly, I would love to see you take all that expertise and do something great with it. If you showed more integrity I would voluntarily pay a small fee to see you go on to the 21st Century. But I'm funny like that. Most people don't donate to donationware, I'm an exception. Why not pare down and stop paying those idiots multi million figures (I'm looking at you Graham Norton, the most unfunny person in Father Ted and the only stain on its good name). It gives people the impression that you really are a propaganda mind control arm of the psychological operations arm of secret government to dumb down the masses.

    [A Ghost takes his specially adapted tin foil colander off his head, safe in the knowledge that it's only needed when dealing with the Beeb, just in case they actually have mind detectors in those supposed TV detector vans (you cant' be too careful)]

    1. CADmonkey

      Re: Saw this coming

      All that stress for the sake of £140 a year? It's only television....

    2. A Ghost

      Re: "Only one remains compulsory: the BBC"

      -------------------------

      What was the headline Doctor Who threat about though? I can watch Doctor Who on iPlayer without a licence. Is the proposed model changing that?

      ----------------------

      As I understand it, yes! They are going to use it as leverage. But I might have got that very wrong as I quickly skipped the article.

      They have been testing the waters for this for a few years now, since the internet started holding sway and their grip waned. Same result everytime, people like me say 'over my cold dead body will I ever pay you', and then they up the ante bit by bit, with this new 'government approved' ok- well we'll just take it from you anyway with a compulsory tax, whaddya gonna do about it eh?

      At least that is how I read it. Please correct me if wrong.

      They just don't get the animosity towards them, invested in people like me, by their strongarm tactics, and retaliate, by force of more of the same. Doh. Belligerent and arsey people knocking on the door. Scaremongering posters. They target single mothers and vulnerable people who they know are poor and can not afford the license in the first place. They are the largest majority of people going to court.

      I don't expect something for nothing, but I also don't expect to pay for something I don't use. And I certainly don't expect to be told 'you will submit'!

    3. Magnus Ramage

      Re: "Only one remains compulsory: the BBC"

      "What was the headline Doctor Who threat about though? I can watch Doctor Who on iPlayer without a licence. Is the proposed model changing that?"

      That's a classic 'tragedy of the commons' scenario. Yes, you can indeed watch Doctor Who on iPlayer for free (after transmission time). Perfectly legal. But if too many people chose to do that, the BBC would have no revenue stream, and thereafter either there'd be no Doctor, or they'd need to charge iPlayer users. That's not a threat - simply a statement of market reality.

      1. Daggerchild Silver badge

        Re: "Only one remains compulsory: the BBC"

        "That's not a threat - simply a statement of market reality."

        But, taking that same scenario userbase, who put effort into not paying, and giving them the proposed model of only paying for the BBC parts they want, wouldn't that also collapse the BBC's revenue in a similar way?

        They'd have to charge one hell of a lot for Radio4 to balance the books.

  32. tin 2

    how do you get...

    ...the CA version of the BBC on all the sets in one house, without opening avenues for abusing the system. You cannot. End of discussion as far as I can see.

  33. Paul Shirley

    cant see the BBC or terrestrial tv surviving this

    The most likely outcome is the BBC abandoning terrestrial broadcasting for some or all of their output, as the only viable way to shift users to CA capable platforms. That puts them in a really bad bargaining position with the cable+sat platform owners, utterly incapable of coercing viewers to actually pay for their channels, let alone pay enough extra to cover the carriers profit margin. The idea this will increase BBC income is beyond optimistic.

    Secondary effects are it becoming unsupportable to impose obligations more onerous than existing commercial channels have. Looking at some of the fckwits making stupid decisions inside the BBC today, that's a recipe for catastrophe. The many commenter claiming they don't watch BBC may actually stop watching.

    Still, it's likely to happen, this is a key part of how the gov clear the airwaves ready to sell off TV bandwidth to the mobile industry.

  34. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Up

    In the words of Mitch Benn...

    ... I'm Proud of the BBC

    Unless, of course, you want endless versions of Britain's Got the X Factor Strictly Coming Dancing Through a Hole in the Wall on Ice..

  35. Cheshire Cat

    I'd happily pay the license fee to access BBC from New Zealand

    I - and many ex-pats - would be quite happy to pay the BBC license fee, if it meant being able to legally access the UK broadcast channels on demand. Sadly it is not possible to do this.

    People who complain that their license fee is used to fund Eastenders, Top Gear and other tat, while applauding the occasional documentary and drama series, should be aware that it is in fact the Eastenders viewers subsidising the documentaries and dramas. If everything were funded proportional to the number of people watching them, Eastenders and Top Gear is all you'd have. The TV License funding model is why the BBC can risk funding on less popular or new series, dramas and documentaries. If funding were proportional to the number of viewers, then it would soon be goodbye to anything innovative or highbrow, and you'd have TV like they get in the US...

    1. gerdesj Silver badge

      Re: I'd happily pay the license fee to access BBC from New Zealand

      Personally speaking, as a UK resi, I'd be happy for that. Seems fair enough although an export tax err fee should probably be a fair bit cheaper than the full fat local version because OD via iPlayer is after the event I believe unless they start streaming live stuff at the same time as the TV transmission (1).

      There will be some sort of naff licensing arrangement making this unworkable though. Probably, in your case, NZ TV content delivery agents (TV/Netflix/SKY or whatever exists in your part of the world) will not allow a foreign national org like the BBC to muscle in. Then the local govt will probably want to raise a levy etc etc

      Mind you the more I think about it, I don't see why the BBC couldn't directly deliver our domestic content abroad and it could kill off the awful BBCWS (TV not radio - that was excellent) ...

      Cheers

      Jon

      (1) Mind you, live seems to mean 10 mins delay to allow for cutting out naughtiness these days.

  36. DLKirkwood

    Beware from America !

    The terms a different, but this sounds like what the US weasled in about a decade or more ago under the guise of television waves interfering with airline jets - so everything must go “digital” cable or broadband wire, and not “analog” through the air. Of course we all needed to purchase either a convertor box, or a new flat screen that already had a built in digital system. And prices of watching television has climbed ever since and controlled by a very few - until small companies like NetFlix, Hulu, and the like bought the rights to show older tv, movies, documentaries, and forth to offer an alternative to people sick, and tired of paying $100.00/month or more, for what the big companies wanted to package together. Of course, the most popular channels were mostly on the largest package - costing nearly $200.00 a month or more.

    I fired Cable and Satellite five years ago and now pay $10.00/month for thousands of varied and eclectic offerings - free to watch what I find entertaining and an unlimited supply of it, too. With the huge amount of money I have saved I can purchase entire series of boxed sets, go out to the movies or sports event, enjoy a fancy restaurant on occasion now, buy new clothes - or better still I can buy a very entertaining book that I can savor for days.

    So, beware what your people are doing and hopefully they have not learned greedy new tricks from the crooked Corporations in America!

  37. veti Silver badge

    RIP BBC

    Bye bye "open broadcasts", where you can tune in with any device you like and be reasonably sure that everyone viewing the same channel is seeing the same thing. Hello encryption, private content, "personalised" content, your own little bubble where your masters can ensure you don't see anything that might alarm - oops, sorry, I mean 'radicalise' - you.

    British governments have been looking for ways to censor the BBC for more than 50 years. "Reviewing the license fee" used to be the best they could do, but that was too crude. Then they moved on to "regularly reviewing the charter", which was always a thinly veiled threat. But with a system like this, they could stop pussyfooting about and just censor the programs directly!

    It's a home secretary's wet dream.

  38. Youngdog

    The counter-counter-argument works here too

    At one end you have the Beeb raising Middle England's awareness of social issues and at the other you have Top Gear rent-a-racist Clarkson providing front-page fodder for consumption by the poor, destitute plebiscite.

  39. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Coat

    Greg Dyke

    Anyone prepared to hold my coat while I give him a good kicking? I'll then hold yours while you have your go. He's the guy responsible for dumbing down the BBC.

  40. ben kendim

    I would gladly pay the BBC, if they only let me to do so...

    I am an American and would gladly pay the BBC license fee for straight-forward access to iPlayer from the US.

    I do not have cable TV and I am not interested in BBC America, thank you. I want to watch the real UK version, and am willing to pay for it. Why does the BBC force me to VPN's and other goofy means to get their content???

    While we are at it, why are Dr. Who and Top Gear delayed for a day before they show up on Amazon VOD? And why is not the entire BBC content available through Amazon?

    1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      Re: I would gladly pay the BBC, if they only let me to do so...

      ...Why does the BBC force me to VPN's and other goofy means to get their content???...

      We won't forget 1776 in a hurry...

  41. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    I don't have a telly..

    ...Don't pay for the BBC? Then no Doctor Who for you, I'm afraid...

    ...and I don't watch Dr Who either. But if I wanted to, I'm sure that I could. Without paying anything to the BeeB...

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