back to article Brit couch potatoes increasingly switching off telly boxes in favour of YouTube and Netflix

People in the UK are gawping at their gogglebox an average of three hours and 12 minutes per day – 49 minutes less than in 2012 – thanks to online streaming, according to a report from Ofcom. The regulator's weighty Media Nations report (PDF) into the major trends in UK television found the number households signed up to …

  1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    20% have eavesdropping devices by choice?

    Scary! Any old bluetooth speaker can be used to listen to music

    1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Smart speakers?

      I've yet to hear a smart speaker that I truly enjoyed listening to, rather than considering barely adequate...

      You can pry my hifi away from my cold, dead hands... (at least you could try to take it but whine insessantly over how heavy it is).

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Smart speakers?

        Yeah, those valve amps can be heavy...

        1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

          Re: Smart speakers?

          It's more the speakers.. And stands... And cables... And record deck.. And then the amp. And powerfilters... And DAC.

          The music server doesn't count.

        2. RegGuy1

          Re: Smart speakers?

          Quad 303

      2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Smart speakers?

        I agree!

        My hifi has HDMI audio inputs for all my relevant devices, and remote-control ! :-)

        But yeah, for those that think a smart speaker is adequate, I'm sure you can get better quality bluetooth speakers!

        1. Wilseus

          Re: Smart speakers?

          Naim makes a pretty nice one - at a considerable price.

          1. jason 7 Silver badge

            Re: Smart speakers?

            Ahh but as with all Naim gear, do you then have to add the optional £800 power supply and £200 power cable to get it 'sounding right'?

            Like an item costing several hundred or thousands of ponds shouldn't sound right out of the box on its own.

            Naim had the 'reality distortion field' marketing going for them long before Apple.

            1. Korev Silver badge

              Re: Smart speakers?

              Nope, you just plug in the power, connect it to your network and fire up the app.

              The Mu-so is not a smart speaker though as there's no microphone.

              1. jason 7 Silver badge
                Devil

                Re: Smart speakers?

                Okay so to the old guard it will "never sound right!!"

                Maybe put 12 layers of Mana under it?

              2. Wilseus

                Re: Smart speakers?

                "The Mu-so is not a smart speaker though as there's no microphone."

                Yes, I was referring to the earlier comment, "I'm sure you can get better quality bluetooth speakers!"

            2. Wilseus

              Re: Smart speakers?

              "Ahh but as with all Naim gear, do you then have to add the optional £800 power supply and £200 power cable to get it 'sounding right'?

              Like an item costing several hundred or thousands of ponds shouldn't sound right out of the box on its own."

              I don't think Naim has ever claimed that. I think it's fair to say that if it doesn't sound right out of the box, no amount of tinkering with upgrades is ever going to fix that. There is a lot of misinformation peddled in places like hifi forums, but it's usually from fools with too much money.

              While a beefier PSU can improve things like headroom, other "upgrades" such as expensive speaker cables are complete snake oil. Due to comb filtering in a room, moving your head two inches is going to change the perceived sound more than changing a cable could ever do, which is why people swear they can hear such differences.

              In actual fact, the main issue in the vast majority of cases is the listening room. I'm sure that a £1000 system in a properly treated room, which needn't be ugly nor expensive, will piss all over a £10000 system in a typical living room.

              1. jason 7 Silver badge

                Re: Smart speakers?

                Well years ago I was almost part of the sick puppy brigade. Spending a huge chunk of my salary on Meridian gear and CDs back in the 90's.

                I used to be on a lot of the hi-fi forums and so often I'd see some poor guy who was so proud to declare he's bought a new NAIM CD player or amp only to be beaten into submission by 'NAIM fanboys' telling him it wouldn't sound good/right till he added the optional power supply etc. etc. Yeah not so much NAIM but the fanboys.

                It was behaviour like that (plus the start of stock computer/PC products starting to be used in hi-fi and having the hi-fi voodoo BS and price tag applied to them) that made me move away from all that and get a life basically.

                Remember no female has ever said "Oh god you are so sexy talking about your Hi-Fi!"

                1. Libertarian Voice

                  Re: Smart speakers?

                  I shared in your journey!

                2. Wilseus

                  Re: Smart speakers?

                  "Remember no female has ever said "Oh god you are so sexy talking about your Hi-Fi!"

                  I'm struggling to understand what women and sex has to do with the subject at hand.

                  I mean there are a lot of hobbies that are traditionally seen as male pastimes, such as messing with cars, building computers, basically anything that involves tinkering. And that's the thing that a lot of people don't get, hi-fi buffs like tinkering with their systems, that's one of the reasons turntables are still popular.

                  Few women I know are interested in those things, but men do them because they like doing them, not because they want to attract a partner.

    2. Cuddles Silver badge

      "Any old bluetooth speaker can be used to listen to music"

      This is the part that really confuses me about "smart" speakers. They're literally just barely-functional phones glued to mediocre speakers. Forget all the fuss about security, privacy, and so on, I just don't understand why anyone would buy something that fails to replicate what a device in their pocket already does. If you're really that desperate to let the likes of Amazon and Google into your home, a regular speaker can use all of them just by running a different app on your phone instead of locking you to just one, and do all kinds of other things in addition. As far as I can see, the sole selling point for smart speakers is "It's like your phone, but more expensive and much, much shitter". Even if you don't care about privacy at all, that's a pretty weird thing to go for.

      1. 's water music Silver badge

        "It's like your [...], but more expensive and much, much shitter"... ..that's a pretty weird thing to go for.

        Have you encountered human people before?

  2. Andy 97

    Showrunner?

    Did you mean executive producer?

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Showrunner?

      I think no. "Showrunner" is a type of showman, give or take gender. "Executive producer" is a type of executive. One of them makes shows, and one of them signs cheques, give or take 21st century fintech. A person can do both jobs, and in terms of credit usually does, but one you're supposed to put your soul into, and in the other, if you have one it's liable to get damaged. I'm romanticizing this a bit... a "showrunner" has overall "creative responsibility" but that doesn't guarantee that they personally do anything "creative". There's staff that that can be left to.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Showrunner?

        "Executive producer" is a type of executive.

        I thought executive producer was a way to pay the stars more without pissing off the rest of the cat too much. And to keep them onboard after series 4 finishes with good ratings and they can't continue if the star leaves.

        Having said that, a showrunner seems to be different things depending on who they are and the show they are "running". In the bets cases, they seem to be producer/writer/general boss and maybe even director, or at least do parts of those jobs.

  3. G R Goslin

    Brilliant?

    "But traditional broadcasters still have a vital role to play, producing the kind of brilliant UK programmes that overseas tech giants struggle to match. We want to sustain that content for future generations, so we're leading a nationwide debate on the future of public service broadcasting."

    Brilliant? I've not turned my TV on for the past four years. I'd waste far too much time waiting for one of these "brilliant" programmes to come on, to make it worth while. I do use iPlayer, to check on what's available and maybe download a programme, perhaps once every two or three weeks. The bias, the hype and suppression of "unsuitable" news, leads me to seek day by day news from other sources.

    1. simonlb
      Trollface

      Re: Brilliant?

      I don't think Amazon struggled that much to make Top Gear look woefully pathetic and outdated next to the Grand Tour.

      1. G R Goslin

        Re: Brilliant?

        Top Gear and Grand Tour brilliant? I think not. A group of large children at play. Think again.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Brilliant?

          Top Gear was amusing entertainment and vicarious access to interesting machinery. I watched all the series over the years.

          Grand Tour I watched about 6 and then it faded and I haven't bothered to catch up on any more.

          New Top Gear with Matt LeBellend or whatever, I just didn't care about.

          New Top Gear with that Cricketer and other northern bellend is not much of an improvement for me.

          Top Gear does still have some of that amazing photography that Grand Tour was completely unable to match.

          But there are more educational and documentary stuff on TV that I really enjoy but would never have time to watch. Also, for me, there is nothing like live TV when the events are happening as you see them. Same for radio, I like listening to words as they are spoken, rather than recorded replays.

          1. Blane Bramble

            Re: Brilliant?

            "Top Gear does still have some of that amazing photography that Grand Tour was completely unable to match."

            You might want to go back and watch a bit more of Grand Tour then, you clearly didn't see the same camera work I did.

            1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

              Re: Brilliant?

              Yeah they clearly ended the studio type episodes to gt rid of the shovelware type episodes.

              All 3 series so far have a few brilliant episodes and a lot of very bland and boring ones.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Brilliant?

                I've found the grand tour to be much better, mainly for the lack of a 20 minute advert in the middle of it. But then again it's easy enough to skip when you never watch TV as it's broadcast.

                It's simple entertainment but some of the locations have been great. I really want to go to Columbia after watching that one.

                The thing I despise most about top gear is they seem to think it's funny to bully the small clever guy who knows what he's talking about. First they made Joey off friends the bully and now they have two of them. Not exactly a great message.

            2. MJI Silver badge

              Re: Brilliant?

              Most of the Grand Tour production team including the technical staff are ex Top Gear.

              I checked the first 4 camera operators on IMDB. All have Top Gear and Grand Tour in their resumes.

          2. MJI Silver badge

            Re: Brilliant?

            I quite liked Matt LeBlanc but he was not a bully to me, unlike the cricketer, that WAS uncomfortable watching.

            Evans was shit, mainly as he annoys me a lot.

            As to TGT the episode with the self built car (John) was some of the best TV I have seen in ages.

      2. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Brilliant?

        I'm sort of glad that Grand Tour is finished. The first couple of episodes were reasonably good. But they just kept re-hashing the same old jokes - sabotaging each other's vehicles, doing stupid things, where you could see the punchline before they even started with the joke.

        The last season was pretty embarrassing. It took me ages to actually get through it, because I'd start with an episode, find it too banal, them come back to it a couple of weeks later, watch another 10 minutes and so on.

        The Jim Clark episode was a real highlight. Wheelspinning through a vegetable garden, not so much... The Columbia episode could have been great, but it was just rehashed kindergarten idiocy with some breathtaking scenery.

        1. batfink Bronze badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Brilliant?

          Pedant alert: "Colombia" is in South America, and is where the Grand Tour ep was set. There are various "Columbias", mostly in North America, or maybe it refers to the suburb of the idyllic town of Washington in Tyne & Wear.

          (Alright, maybe not "idyllic" per se ...)

          </pedant>

          1. big_D Silver badge

            Re: Brilliant?

            Thanks for the correct.

            Too long not in an English speaking land. Here it is Kolumbien...

    2. CASIOMS-8V

      Re: Brilliant?

      Totally agree wondering if I can stop paying the TV tax , er license

    3. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: Brilliant?

      I'd much rather watch project binky on YouTube any day of the week. Proper shed, engineering, car, comedy show (with a not insubstantial obsession with brackets).

    4. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: Brilliant?

      "Brilliant? I've not turned my TV on for the past four years. I'd waste far too much time waiting for one of these "brilliant" programmes to come on, to make it worth while."

      To which do you compare the British TV content you so much dislike?

      In my mind,

      - the BBC/Attenborough nature documentaries are second to none.

      - BBC Horizon and Panorama have often good content.

      - Black Mirror (Channel4) was great, but lost something when Netflix started to produce it. (YMMV)

      - I watch the occasional Graham Norton or QI episode and they're just as entertaining as American shows. (less low brow though)

      Every channel has garbage content as well, the aforementioned Channel4 is rife with it.

      "leads me to seek day by day news from other sources."

      Which sources? Come on, list them.

      I really don't watch British news at all for the simple fact that I'm not British and I don't live there...

      1. G R Goslin

        Re: Brilliant?

        I might agree with you on the early Attenborough films, but the later years are full of environmental claptrap. As someone with a scientific bent, much of the latest is unsubstantiated doctrine rather than established fact. it's a shame, I did rather like him when he was just showing us the marvels of nature. Horizon, I gave up watching many years ago when it became dumbed down, less information and more ostentatious display. If you put on a science programme, I'd expect to come away knowing more about the subject, rather than just being impressed with the camera work, the graphics and the music.

        1. Sandtitz Silver badge

          Re: Brilliant?

          "Horizon, I gave up watching many years ago when it became dumbed down, less information and more ostentatious display. If you put on a science programme, I'd expect to come away knowing more about the subject, rather than just being impressed with the camera work, the graphics and the music."

          I partly agree.

          I'm just watching The Planets documentary series with my kid (7yo) and I approve the content very much. Yeah, it's got impressive visuals but that's not a hindrance. BBC production, though not part of Horizon.

          The problem with BBC is that they're expected to keep the standards high (with Symphony orchestra etc), yet at the same time they need to justify their existence / the TV license when many people are turning into (paid) streaming.

      2. Steve Crook

        Re: Brilliant?

        BBC science and nature documentaries have declined in bitrate in the last couple of decades to the point where I couldn't watch them live any longer, the urge to FF through the filler is too strong.

        I don't watch soaps or reality TV, and, recently, even the drama has started to test my patience. The little sport I'd like to watch has been on satellite for a decade or more.

        Couldn't see the point in sticking with it.

        Radio's going the same way. If I want to listen to music, there's the stuff I own, and plenty of opportunities to stream to listen to new stuff. So, no R1, R2, R3, R5. News, current affairs from R4. Occasional drama. But there's little that's worth the time and the 'Sounds' app is *still* not as good as the iPlayer Radio.

        To me, the BBC isn't quite dead, but it gets a little closer every year....

        1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          Re: Brilliant?

          the BBC isn't quite dead, but it gets a little closer every year

          Sadly true. The other evening their three TV channels offered the choice of sport, more sport and antique Top of the Pops. And if you're a heretic that's not really that interested in wildlife, it's slim pickings.

          I used to have great respect for BBC News, but lately they seem to be mostly interested in telling you that the world's going to ruin and it's all your fault. Their Holy Grail is a major disaster that they can attribute to Brexit and global warming.

    5. Just Enough

      Re: Brilliant?

      A news story about TV broadcasting on the internet wouldn't be complete without the inevitable comment section of blowhards telling us how they don't watch TV.

    6. batfink Bronze badge

      Re: Brilliant?

      So what you're saying is that you DO watch content produced by the "traditional broadcasters", but only on iPlayer.

      Sorry but I'm struggling to follow your point here. Just because you don't watch something live doesn't mean you're not consuming the content.

      And my next post will contain even more negatives in the one sentence.

      1. G R Goslin

        Re: Brilliant?

        So what you're saying is that you DO watch content produced by the "traditional broadcasters", but only on iPlayer.

        Sorry but I'm struggling to follow your point here. Just because you don't watch something live doesn't mean you're not consuming the content.

        Ahh! As the old saying goes, "Hope springs eternal", But eating the meal after the first taste, is something I'd only do if I liked the taste. Unfortunately, few programmes get by the first, or even the second taste

    7. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Brilliant?

      My TV is used a lot. Every day. It is on for quite a few hours per day.

      So what does it get used for?

      Day time gumpf my wife likes.

      Me however, I watch up to 2 hours a day of TV, 90% of the time recorded, mainly BBC1 2 4 or C4, if not watching and want background noise BBC News 24.

      But then I will also use the same TV to watch streaming TV, I really enjoyed Good Omens recently, and as a CHM fan The Grand Tour of course.

      But the streaming box also has another trick, it does games, so I shoot aliens in the face more than I watch TV.

      My TV gets plenty of use, just not all broadcast TV.

    8. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Brilliant?

      I have seen some brilliant stuff on BBC recently, but most of it is CBeebies stuff*! It is rarely watched live (Iplayer or recorded, generally), but "Sarah and Duck" and "Hey Duggee!" are absolutely brilliant.

      I've also just finished watching the series of "What we do in the Shadows", which was quite good, but that is an exception these days (on any channel/platform.

      *Three-year-olds at home.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Brilliant?

        CBeebies

        Some excellent stuff on there.

        Shawn the Sheep

        Bob the Builder (Neil Morrissy version)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The most common use of smart speakers is to listen to music via a streaming service be spied on by ad-peddling corporations

    FTFY

  5. Andy Livingstone

    Not as comoplex as you might think

    Most likely the over 75s practicing how to live without TV once the Greed Squad gets its way. There is a lot of anger out there about BBC

    1. Andy 97

      Re: Not as comoplex as you might think

      There's not much genuine anger; it's all being fuelled by certain newspapers, media organisations and rent-a-gobs.

      Those (over 75's) that can't afford to pay get the license fee for free.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not as comoplex as you might think

        It's a little more complex than that and tied to pension credits which are determined by what you get from your state and/or private pension so you can't dismiss it as some attack on the Tories or the BBC. A lot of pensioners don't claim pension credit because it's not in the governments interest to let them know they are entitled to it so they don't get a free licence and those are the ones that will suffer.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Not as comoplex as you might think

      "There is a lot of anger out there about BBC"

      Which is odd, since it's a government grant that is being withdrawn and the BBC are trying to put something in place so some people well still get a "free" licence.

    3. Steve Crook

      Re: Not as comoplex as you might think

      Ditched TV License about 2 years ago, and subsist on Prime and Netflix for the little I want to watch.

      Can't say I miss much of BBC TV or commercial channels except occasional docs, rarely drama and some of the news/political coverage. I'd rather pay for the Economist.

      Can't see anything is likely to make me pay for a TV License again.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Podcasts

    I use In Our Time to go to sleep. Just find an episode you have no interest in (for me it was Lorca, but Bergson and Time was also good) and drift off

    Anon: I would not like to upset Melvyn Bragg, as his calm tone of voice is part of the reason I drift off

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All very well, but how many subscriptions do you need ?

    Got Virgin ? Still need to pay extra for Netflix.

    Got Virgin *and* Netflix, still need to pay for Amazon.

    Got Virgin *and* Netflix *and* Amazon, still need to pay for Sky Atlantic

    and so on.

    All dipping their beak in for £15/month (or whatever).

    I notice only this week a new bunch of clowns "Nextup comedy" that I can get via Amazon for an extra ... £3.50 month.

    Luckily I can't stand sport, so haven't been repeatedly bumraped by the fragmentation of the sports channels.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All very well, but how many subscriptions do you need ?

      Piracy was apparently decreasing when it was mainly Netflix offering everything. Now (as you say) every corporation seems to have their own streaming service it's on the rise again.

      No wonder!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All very well, but how many subscriptions do you need ?

      The problem with Virgin is that there is still precious little worth viewing, even with dozens of channels. If you could choose for just the watchable channels, that would be great - but the scrotes have made sure that you have to pay for an entire 'package' just to get one channel that you like. I'm sure Sky is pretty much the same as well.

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Re: All very well, but how many subscriptions do you need ?

        Plus Virginmedia are putting the bill up by £3.50 a month from 1st October...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: All very well, but how many subscriptions do you need ?

          With Virgin it's cheaper to get a package with TV than it is to get broadband on its own. I did once use my TiVo box but the new one just sits there switched off. A pi3 with osmc has rendered it worthless.

          I have Amazon because the wife spends her life shopping on it and Netflix mostly for a couple of series although I keep meaning to get rid.

          The rest is get_iplayer and torrents of stuff I can probably get through the subscriptions but can't be arsed looking for. (And avoids the crappy connectivity issues)

        2. VinceH Silver badge

          Re: All very well, but how many subscriptions do you need ?

          "Plus Virginmedia are putting the bill up by £3.50 a month from 1st October..."

          That might depend what package you're on. Mine is going up by a full fiver - which is a bit of a kick in the teeth given my ongoing (now six month old) complaint with them, and about which I'm told - yet again - that someone will be in touch soon.

          The problem is the telephone line - or lack of one, though I do have one according to my contract (and, yes, I know it's cheaper with the mythical telephone line than without).

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: All very well, but how many subscriptions do you need ?

      "I notice only this week a new bunch of clowns "Nextup comedy" that I can get via Amazon for an extra ... £3.50 month."

      I only just noticed the Amazon "channel" on Virgin. At first I was interested because unlike Netflix, they let you browse through the content to let you decide if it's worth it. But it all got too confusing as far as I'm concerned. Everything is in horizontally scrolling "video wall" format, no option to switch the textual channel list so it takes ages to scroll through and harder to identify programmes (unless you already know them) because you have to spend time identifying the image, then the title and typeface to take in the actual name of the show. And then there many, many rows of varying type, none of which appeared to be sensible thins like genres, just "recommended", what people are watching" etc and then I noticed as I scrolled down, many "channels" not included, all of which were £2,£3 £4 extra per month, or entire rows of shows or "box sets" you buy or "rent" for only 24 hours.

      Not only was it way too much and too complex to take in, but it's clearly designed to get you to subscribe/pay for much more than any simple subscription model.

      Result? They get nothing from me.

      I occasionally subscribe to Netflix for a month or so when there's enough there to justify it, but their Virgin "channel" doesn't let you in to see what's on offer so I have to remember to search the internet to see what's in the current library. They probably get less than I might otherwise spend by making it hard for me to see what they have on offer.

      I find it much simpler to spend a little time once a week to browse the "normal" VM channels and set recordings/series links up for anything interesting and create my own "streaming channel" that a) contains stuff I want to see and b) is in a nice simple textual list that's easy to scroll and read. "video wall" menus are for touch screens, not TV remotes and are mainly to "wow" the masses and show how "clever" the progarmmers/interface designers are.

  8. AndrueC Silver badge
    Meh

    Although I have access to various video sources I always watch them on my 'gogglebox'. So in my case there is no practical difference between watching NetFlix (courtesy of my Sky box), watching on demand content (also courtesy of the Sky box) or watching a recording (yes, Sky box again).

    The only thing I never, ever do is watch live TV.

    To me it feels like watching NetFlix is no different to anything else I do. I'm accessing video streams which are stored in different places, that's all.

  9. CASIOMS-8V

    I have switched completely and so do I still need a TV license ?

    I haven't watched TV for years but still pay for the license. I switched 100% to Netflix / Amazon Prime / Youtube years ago. I looked it up on the TV Licensing website and it was a bit cryptic saying ' if you think you don't need one stop paying , tell us, and we may visit you and fine you if we decide otherwise ' or words to that effect.

    Has anybody else stopped using TV 100% and stopped paying the license with no problems ?

    TIA

    1. Tony W

      No

      And yes to your question. On of my offspring has done this for many years.You have to explain your setup (incapable of receiving broadcast) and possibly respond to license demands and repeat the explanation several times..

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: No

        "You have to explain your setup (incapable of receiving broadcast)"

        That bit is irrelevant. You don't have to have a licence to own a device capable of receiving broadcast, that's never been a condition. It's about receiving live TV. Especially these days since any computing device capable of streaming video from the internet is capable of displaying live "broadcasts". Recently, they deciding using iPlayer is also covered by the licence requirements.

        If anyone writes to you about TV licensing, you are free to not respond at all. If anyone comes knocking at your door, you are free to refuse them entry. If you do feel you must speak to them, simply say that you do not watch or record live TV nor do you use iPlayer. It's up to them to prove otherwise.

        1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

          Re: No

          Live tv... does that mean that zombies get to watch for free?

          I'll get my coat. =-)P

          1. the Jim bloke Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: No

            Zombies are their biggest customers.

            People without lives of their own, dependent on the brain-dead programming as a substitute for personal meaning.

        2. CASIOMS-8V

          Re: No

          Thanks for the advice all , so with a TV capable of receiving broadcasts which doesn't have the antenna cable in and hasn't been tuned in I still have to pay to be on the safe side I guess.

          It's not good to risk getting fines and stuff with my job.

          I really wish the TV license was done properly so you subscribe to free view or something with your license details so people like me can opt out if we want to. I see it as a TV tax propping up an organisation I don't want anything to do with. Shame.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: No

            "Thanks for the advice all , so with a TV capable of receiving broadcasts which doesn't have the antenna cable in and hasn't been tuned in I still have to pay to be on the safe side I guess."

            No, you don't. I don't know what your job is, but I see no risk of a fine based on what you said. Unless your job is so "risky" that even a threatening letter from TVL/Crapita might be a problem.

          2. phuzz Silver badge
            Go

            Re: No

            "I still have to pay to be on the safe side I guess."

            Only if your idea of safe is wearing two condoms. If you're genuinely not watching live TV or iPlayer then you don't need a license. Crapita might give you a hard time about it, but it's no different than trying to get a PAC when you're changing mobile network. They'll keep trying to make you pay up, you keep saying no, eventually they give in.

            I like the BBC and am happy to pay, but if you're not watching, you shouldn't pay.

    2. Andyroochoo

      Re: I have switched completely and so do I still need a TV license ?

      To not pay the TV tax. Follow these three simple rules

      1. Don't watch live.

      2. Don't record live TV

      3. Don't use the iPlayer.

      Simples

      1. Jason Hindle

        Re: Do not watch live...

        I suspect some Amazon Prime users will get caught out by this when they watch live Premiership football later in the year.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Do not watch live...

          You mean: do not watch live broadcast TV. A live event streamed via an online service that's not iplayer doesn't require a TV licence. Otherwise every web-cam since the Trojan Room coffee pot would require a TV licence to watch, which would be quite an infringement on freedom!

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Do not watch live...

            "You mean: do not watch live broadcast TV. A live event streamed via an online service that's not iplayer doesn't require a TV licence."

            It does if it's also being broadcast "live other than just as a streaming service. That's what the catch-all in the license terms is referring to where to says "live or near-live". If Amazon were to use their own cameras at the footie and stream only to their customers, then it's quite probable that a licence would not be required, although I suspect Crapita/TVL will try to make a meal of that. But I suspect Amazon will simply be buying a licence to stream an existing "broadcast\" because that's the cheaper way to do it for them and profit is much higher on the priority list than taking a stand against TV Licencing on behalf of their customers.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I have switched completely and so do I still need a TV license ?

      Yes stopped paying and had a single visit from crapita after years.

      If you have been paying because of coersion then you might let them know, if they are wise they will refund

    4. Alsibbo

      Re: I have switched completely and so do I still need a TV license ?

      I Filled in the online form stating that I don't need a TV licence, got a single letter confirming it (containing a few threats of visits etc) and nothing since. They are actually welcome to visit if they want... I don't think they would know what to make of several racks of test equipment, various computers/servers and a 1950's Black and White telly.....

    5. Chozo

      Re: I have switched completely and so do I still need a TV license ?

      Been clean a couple of years now. One visit, he saw the Puppy Linux desktop on the TV we had a quick chat about what online content providers I used and that was it.

  10. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    Good riddance

    The BBC and it's right wing bias can go fuck itself. At least make it subscription based, so I don't have to release the hounds every time some scumbag from Crapita tries to get me to pay for it.

    1. Handlebars

      Re: Good riddance

      Funny how some people believe it has a left bias and others believe it's biased to the right.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good riddance

        A lot of the panel game shows feature comedians and entertainers, who on the whole tend to be rather left-leaning. Meanwhile, the BBC news and current affairs department has had a decidedly pro-government bias to it ever since Cameron appointed numerous people from the tabloids into management positions there. Thus it is possible for the BBC to have both a left bias and a right bias at the same time - it's a big corporation.

      2. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

        Re: Good riddance

        Some people are thick.

    2. Happy_Jack

      Re: Good riddance

      The output from the BBC is certainly biased, but it's not as simple as left vs right-wing, or Labour vs Tory. For example there is an obvious bias against Brexit. Maybe it's just a London-centric view of the world? Good riddance indeed.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Good riddance

        >> Bias against leaving EU.

        Not surprised as it is as silly idea.

        More bothered about the bellends they get on to promote the "alternative views" like Lamont.

  11. Callown User

    Traditionally the BBC has been biassed to the party in government. The government is the BBC paymasters so the BBC have to pay homage to the party in power.

    1. G R Goslin

      Funny! I thought the license payers were collectively the paymasters.

    2. DiViDeD Silver badge

      The government is the BBC paymasters

      Actually, no.

      Unlike other national broadcasters ( the Australian ABC springs to mind), which are dependent on government funding which can be reduced or withheld entirely at the government's whim, the BBC is funded directly from the licence fee. The government could decide to introduce legislation to reduce the fee to 50p a year, but such a bill would have a hard time passing. The most a government can do is refuse the BBC's request for a licence fee increase, but they cannot starve it of cash, short of waylaying the Group4 van on its way to the DG's office.

      This takes control of the airwaves away from Westminster, which is never a bad thing.

  12. Tempest
    Thumb Up

    As An International Travel Warrior ...

    I have a handful of URLs that provide access to Canadian, UK and US radio and TV channels - many live. Several are sent decrypted which avoids the need for finding an acceptable credit card.

    The Epic browser provides VPN access to several countries. Even works from China and Russia.

  13. the hatter

    Iconic satellite dish ?

    The only 'iconic' dish was from the company that put the 'BSB' into 'BSkyB', and their squariel. Nothing that notable about Sky's own generic small dishes. Still, looking forward to the time when Sky feel obliged to maintain their satellite fleet at great expense, because the clue is in the name, but enough people have moved to on-net provision

    1. Wilseus

      Re: Iconic satellite dish ?

      "Still, looking forward to the time when Sky feel obliged to maintain their satellite fleet at great expense, because the clue is in the name, but enough people have moved to on-net provision"

      It was worth them doing it back in the 1980s when hardly anyone had satellite TV, so I don't think this will ever be a major issue for them.

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Iconic satellite dish ?

      Still, looking forward to the time when Sky feel obliged to maintain their satellite fleet at great expense

      Sky do not have a 'satellite fleet', they don't own any satellites at all. I think there was a time many years ago when they were a shareholder in one of the satellite builders (probably Hughes who built the original Astra birds) but I believe those shares were sold a long time back.

      For many years now Sky has been just another TV broadcaster that rents time on other people's satellites. The only different thing about Sky is the hardware it sells and the EPG it licenses to other broadcasters. Most of the channels available through a Sky box are not owned by Sky either (though some are partially owned). The likes of Discovery, Nat Geo etc. are separate companies that, like Sky, rent capacity on other people's satellites. Their only link to Sky is that they choose to pay Sky to be listed on its EPG and to utilise Sky's encryption system.

      Sky do help some of the broadcasters with uplinking simply because they have excellent facilities available and it allows the other broadcasters to streamline their operation but all any channel needs to do to appear on the Sky platform is to pay an appropriate fee for a channel number then arrange for someone with capacity to broadcast the signal.

      When you tune into a BBC channel via a Sky box the tuner is doing exactly the same thing that a Freesat box, or indeed any other satellite receiver would do. The only difference is how the user specifies the channel and where the receiver gets the frequency information from. Ultimately they all tune into the same broadcast.

      Sky has already said it wants to move away from satellite broadcasts and outside of whatever contracts it has in place with the satellite owners and other broadcasters the idea of abandoning satellite use has no downsides. They will keep using them until the number of people receiving their service via satellite makes it unviable at which point they'll switch off the uplinks and give it no more thought.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Iconic satellite dish ?

        Ah, BSB owned a number of satellites at first but they were sold off.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thor_(satellite)

  14. streaky Silver badge

    Bent Cops

    If you want to see bent cops without the TV license I recommend Crimebodge on youtube ;)

    1. dave 81

      Re: Bent Cops

      Great channel, but a mere drop in the ocean when it comes to videos of corrupt coppers. So many youtube videos of police exceeding their authority, and our idiot MP's keep eroding what rights we have, and making the police even less accountable.

      1. genghis_uk
        Facepalm

        Re: Bent Cops

        And Pretti Patel (the latest home sociopath, sorry, secretary) is just the right person to protect our basic human rights...

        1. streaky Silver badge

          Re: Bent Cops

          Difference is she'll go after actual criminals. Problem with the society we live in right now is criminals are mollycoddled and law abiding public and victims are treated like trash. Aftertaste of the last Labour government with some Cameron thrown in.

  15. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Spotify

    I was delighted to discover Spotify Premium.

    I like listening to music, but I gave up on radio decades ago. I couldn't abide the imbecilic nattering of the presenters between the records, and I'm averse to being advertised at. I'm very fond of Radio 3, but there are situations where something a bit more lively is welcome.

  16. defiler Silver badge

    Streaming video

    Remember when YouTube floated plans to put storage into the telecoms street cabinets to provide a local cache to YouTube?

    That was back when the overwhelming majority of us were on dial up. I certainly was. Maybe 1998? Not sure what good it would have done since the choke point was the last mile then too.

    Back when RealPlayer was about as good as it got. And people tried to use it as a videophone.

    Changed days for internet streaming...

  17. G R Goslin

    Brilliant, a comparison

    When we consider the number of "brilliant" programmes to come out of British TV, we should really compare it to other countries output. So, lets compare it to the USA. You might say, "Ah, well they have a much larger population, so they'll have far more programmes". But they don't have a much larger population. It's a large country, but their population is only five times that of the UK, so the number of "brilliant" programmes should be in the same ratio. Taking only TV as entertainment, drama and such, I'd have great difficulty in finding any UK programmes as "brilliant". If good, they're usually a short series, six episodes as max. Lately, I've watched "The Enemy Within", unfortunately axed after the first series, but brilliantly done, in every respect. "Orange is the New Black", with upwards of a dozen episodes per series, which went on for seven years, and got better and better with time. There was "The Good Wife", with more than twenty episodes per series, which again ran for seven years. "Elementary" which has nearly finished it's seventh and last series. The UK's answer to the last, "Sherlock" ran to four series, each of only three episodes, of which only the first series was of note, and the last two were virtually unwatchable. The only series I can recollect with warmth are long gone, "New Tricks", "Waking The Dead", "Larkrise to Candleford", and the ilk. There are others, but they stand like islands in a sea of trivia.

  18. Roger Mew

    I also am watching Youtube as the TV programs are all violence, and it is wondered why there is violence on the street? Every single program on all the free channels on Satellite was a repeat and about 50% consisted of violence and swearing thrown in. So I watch for example "last of the summer wine", Bless this house", "Dads army", "Curry and Chips" (nicely racist that), and many more, all funny, light hearted and pick up and put down. Frankly stations like CBS are wasting electricity and air time showing 15 year old programs like Judge Judy.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Corrupt 'public' broadcasters being ignored...

    I find most 'public' broadcasters corrupt to some degree, ABC, BBC, CBC all depend on government funding, though the Canadian MSM (main stream media, not men who have sex with men) are way ahead with ever bigger bribes from their government to tell only selected truths as Trudoh (sp!) attempts to remain in power.

    The BBC and other UK MSM have been similarly decided not to cover some subjects, possibly following government direction, whilst independent news sources are actively suppressed.

    It's unsurprising so many people are now looking elsewhere for news and entertainment.

  20. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Finding the new

    I have my favorite tunes, but I still listen to broadcast radio. There are still a few stations left that are dedicated to new music by little know artists. At least some programmed stations may have one radio show on a Sunday night that features new stuff. Streaming services just aren't going to do that. They'll bow down to their music publishing master over what they should play and recommend. I'm I the only one that is full up of Led Zepplin, Beatles and the Doors? There's no point in buying any of their albums, turn on any rock station and you'll hear it all over and over and over again anytime you like.

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