TV Licensing: The Stated Facts, In Black-And-White

Ermintruder

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(I find this highly improbable....10,000 people in the UK still using black-and-white television? As their only means of watching live broadcast tv (my point being that retro-tech fans, such as myself, obviously would also normally own and use colour tv as well....requiring the payment of an all-inclusive colour tv licence. I wonder what the real story is? What is actually going on?)

Daily Express 28 Dec, 2015


2016-01-03 07.02.22.jpg


Old-school Scots scorn colour telly
WHILE thousands of Scots are spending the festive period glued to state-of-the-art televisions, hundreds are still watching in black and white.

More than 550 people north of the Border are still using TV sets dating back decades, with Glaswegians owning 200 and their Edinburgh counterparts 55.

Britain became the first country in Europe to offer regular programming in colour back in 1967, yet almost 10,000 B&W licences are still in force across the UK.

TV Licensing Scotland revealed the figure yesterday as they reminded viewers they need a licence, however dated their set.

The cost is £49 compared to £145.50 for a colour licence.

Spokesman Jason Hill said: “It’s astounding that more than 550 households in Scotland still watch on a black-and-white television, especially now that over half of homes access TV content over the internet, on smart TVs.

“Whether you have the latest 4K TV or a black-and-white set from the 1970s, if you are watching or recording live television, then you do need a TV licence.”
 
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Ermintruder

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http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/cs/media-centre/news/view.app?id=1362435715092

The new endangered species: the black and white TV
Figures released today by TV Licensing reveal the number of UK families watching on black and white TVs has dropped a further 12 per cent in the past year, with fewer than 12,000 sets now in use nationwide.

With advances in technology, the demand for black and white licences has been in steady decline for years. At the turn of the millennium there were 212,000 black and white licences issued, but by 2003 that number had shrunk to 93,000. Just three years later, in 2006, the number was less than 50,000 and today just 11,550 black and white licences remain in force across the UK.

Despite it being nearly 48 years since colour transmissions began, digital switchover and the recent Christmas seasonal surge of television, laptop, tablet and smartphone sales, it seems there are still some nostalgic UK homes firmly attached to their trusty black and white TV sets.

Stephen Farmer, spokesperson for TV Licensing, said:

Today’s figures show, even in the digital age, more than 11,000 homes still watch their favourite programmes on black and white televisions. We may be on the brink of losing black and white sets to the history books, but older technology will always be replaced by exciting new ways of watching live. It’s important that no matter how you watch live TV, whether on a black and white set, or online, you’re correctly licensed to do so.
Iain Logie Baird, Associate Curator at the National Media Museum, Bradford, and grandson of television inventor John Logie Baird, added:

Despite over 25 million people opting for a colour TV Licence in the UK, it may be some time before the black and white television disappears completely from our living rooms.The National Media Museum (opens in a new window) has hundreds of black and white television sets in its collection and there will always be a small group of people who prefer monochrome images, collect vintage sets or just don't want to throw away a working piece of technology.
According to this year’s figures, London leads the way in black and white TV Licence penetration, followed by Birmingham and Manchester.

Top 10 black and white cities:

1. London - 2,334
2. Birmingham- 529
3. Manchester- 377
4. Glasgow- 230
5. Bristol- 189
6. Liverpool- 174
7. Leeds- 165
8. Nottingham- 143
9. Belfast- 113
10. Sheffield- 111

If a recorder (e.g. a Personal Video Recorder) is connected to a black and white TV then a colour TV Licence will be required.

The cost of a black and white TV Licence remains frozen at £49 until BBC Charter Review in 2016. A colour licence costs £145.50. A TV Licence is needed if you’re watching or recording programmes at the same time as they’re shown on TV and can be bought online in minutes atwww.tvlicensing.co.uk.
 
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Quake42

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My old boss - who would have been extremely well paid - still had a black and white TV as late as 2005 (when she left). It was a matter of principle for her because she didn't want to pay the colour licence fee. I thought it was insane, personally.
 

Analogue Boy

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All TVs are black and white when you turn the colour down. I had a Finlux colour CRT for donkeys years but it had to go when the broadcast aspect ratio changed. How do old BW tellys cope with that? Also, hasn't the old analogue signal gone?
 

Coal

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Mythopoeika

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You may have a point there, Coal.
Why else would someone persist with an old banger of a B & W TV?
 

Mythopoeika

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All TVs are black and white when you turn the colour down. I had a Finlux colour CRT for donkeys years but it had to go when the broadcast aspect ratio changed. How do old BW tellys cope with that? Also, hasn't the old analogue signal gone?
When I was a student, the flat we were in had an old colour telly that had only one colour - yellow (the colour guns in the tube had gone wrong, leaving only shades of yellow).
Not only did it give a jaundiced view of the world, but it was a kind of monochrome.
 

Ermintruder

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Consider this- to still possess a black-and-white tv, in current use as your only means of household broadcast television (in the UK), it must be:

- receiving colour signals from a DTT freeview set-top box, or;
- receiving colour signals from a CATV cable set-top box, or
- receiving colour signals from a streaming media internet set-top box, or;
- receiving colour signals from a freesat set-top box, or;
- receiving colour signals from a Sky satellite receiver....and assuredly, not HD..

In fact, I cannot remember any consumer black-and-white tv ever having external "AV inputs". So, only set-top boxes with steam-powered radiofrequency passthroughs 'aerial sockets' would work (no SCART, no composite video, no RGB+, definitely no HDMI....) on these ghostly B&W tvs.

All of which must be, what....10 years old? No, you couldn't buy a new domestic B&W tv in 2005 (without real difficulty).

So perhaps mid-late 1990s technology....running 20years later, multiplied by 10,000 users. Sounds like a quarter-of-a-million-years-worth of collective improbable vintage electronic dependancy.....
 

Coal

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Maybe, some people just don't watch much TV so it doesn't matter to them. My s-i-law doesn't watch TV (but she's a middle functioning sociopath).
 

Mythopoeika

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There is also the possibility that these people set up direct debits and then forgot about them.
So, they're paying for the licence and receiving the licence, but not paying too much attention (i.e. not engaging brain).
 

Ermintruder

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There is also the possibility that these people set up direct debits and then forgot about them
This is where my demoscaling fails completely, you may be entirely correct.

Ten or eleven thousand sounds a lot, but at around a hundredth of one percent.....maybe it's just a genuine statistical anomaly created by personal financial inefficiency (which I can relate to).

These two thousand black-and-white tv London housholds maybe just don't really exist. But do they know that?

Wait....the penny's dropped. New B&W tv licences.....if I was HM's TV licence head honcho (do we still have honchos in 2016, or even in the 21st century?) I would have to ask a brand-new B&W licence cutomer....what brand-new fictional/unavailable/commercially non-existent screen have you just bought?

I wonder how many of these 11,000 licence-holders are long-time legacy, as opposed to new, say within the last five years?
 

Peripart

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If you had a set-top box (which can obviously receive colour TV signals), but it was sat on top of a presumably-ageing B&W portable TV, would the TV licencing authorities accept that you could only watch TV in black and white? Possibly they would - after all, if you owned a set-top box but no TV at all (perhaps you'd bought it for a friend), you wouldn't be liable to buy a licence, as you would not be capable of watching anything.

It still begs the questions of why and how people are still going to the effort of setting up a system which can only watch TV in black and white. It baffles me that there are people who want a TV, but don't want to go down the much easier route of getting a colour set.
 

Squiddy

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Nothing baffling about it, that extra hundred quid for the TV license is more than some people can afford, plenty of people actually. I pay weekly myself, and they get very threatening when you let it lapse, even for a week or two to catch up with another bill. Paying off that fifty quid and eliminating the hassle of the TV license guy coming knocking for the year must be quite attractive.
And once they've checked up that you really do have a black and white, you'd get the colour back out of the attic, right? :)
Wish I'd thought of it :D
 

Peripart

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I know that the licence isn't cheap (not when considered as a lump sum, that is), but then again, I've seen plenty of people who would complain the same thing, who nevertheless have monstrous 50" TVs in their front rooms!
 

Squiddy

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I know that the licence isn't cheap (not when considered as a lump sum, that is), but then again, I've seen plenty of people who would complain the same thing, who nevertheless have monstrous 50" TVs in their front rooms!
Yes, but they're all on tic, brighthouse and the like. People will find ways to wriggle when they're on a low income without an end to the tunnel, what else is the lottery and the betting shop about :)
 

Shady

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If a recorder (e.g. a Personal Video Recorder) is connected to a black and white TV then a colour TV Licence will be required.

Why do they have to pay for a colour TV if they have a B&W one, if they play the vid back it will just come out as B&W on their telly
 

Peripart

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Yes, but they're all on tic, brighthouse and the like. People will find ways to wriggle when they're on a low income without an end to the tunnel, what else is the lottery and the betting shop about :)
Yes, but I don't think that a 50" TV is a sign of "wriggling". Spending half as much on a perfectly serviceable 32" would make more sense, but sadly, some people seem to think they "need" a huge smart TV - and probably another in each bedroom.

Sorry, this is off-topic, and not meant to insult anyone who is genuinely struggling to afford the TV licence. If I were to veer off-topic even further, I would continue to mention the same folk of my acquaintance who are "skint", yet drive around in brand-new cars and acquire iPads for each of their kids...

Back on subject, I am struggling to think of anyone I know, or have ever known, who might still rely solely on a B&W set for their TV viewing. The only circumstance I can conceive of is someone who might have a caravan or holiday cottage which is so rarely used that a colour TV has never been bought for it. Come to think of it, if a caravan isn't connected to the mains, would a B&W draw less power than a colour one, enough to make a difference to battery life? Then again, by the time you've also connected up a set-top box, the difference, if any, would surely be negligible.
 

Monstrosa

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There are people who can't see colour well or at all.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achromatopsia

Perhaps some folk keep with black-and-white because of this?

I worked with such a chap who did all his PCB layout in pencil, solid and dashed lines for two-sided and he told me (he was Hungarian) that people with such sight were preferred for dive bomber pilots as they were 'more accurate'.

That might be related to this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/99/a2107199.shtml
Not just this but also those who have impaired sight but not severe enough to register as blind(50% concession). They could also just have it for the sound (some people seem to do that with colour sets too).
 

Ermintruder

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Back on subject, I am struggling to think of anyone I know, or have ever known, who might still rely solely on a B&W set for their TV viewing.
Precisely. Then multiply that by 11,000.

And I've just realised.....people don't generally have tv licences....households do. So my quotient of amelioration is changed by a factor of almost three times (say, 18 million households versus 66 million people)

So that nearly make it 0.06% of strangely-retro licensed compliance (I nearly buy the theory that people are paying for them as fig-leaves against paying full whack for colour....but would they?? Really? Hmm, would I ? Because it's not like eg parking for an hour, and staying all day, which is an invisible victory, if undetected. It's a weird evasion....)
 

Mythopoeika

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So that nearly make it 0.06% of strangely-retro licensed compliance (I nearly buy the theory that people are paying for them as fig-leaves against paying full whack for colour....but would they?? Really? Hmm, would I ? Because it's not like eg parking for an hour, and staying all day, which is an invisible victory, if undetected. It's a weird evasion....)
There are plenty of 'defiant' types, criminals, old stick-in-the-muds and other awkward cusses who are willing to thumb their nose at the establishment.
 

JamesWhitehead

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The story, based on a TV Licencing Press Release, is in a lot of papers under different by-lines with minor variations to highlight the local statistics.

Some cute archive pictures have been dug up to illustrate it.

I'm amused to see that this Nottingham Post version displays only half the story on my equipment!

The figures remain a puzzle; I think Ermintrude's Direct Debit conjecture sounds sensible but TV Licencing would not surely miss the correlation and neglect to nudge any inert beneficiaries paying the incorrect tarrif.

The purpose of the story is almost certainly to remind all tv viewers of the statistical arm of the operation. It is a velvet glove story for the festive season but the fist is never far away. Cheaper than advertising too! :p
 
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Peripart

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I nearly buy the theory that people are paying for them as fig-leaves against paying full whack for colour....but would they?? Really? Hmm, would I ?
To be honest, I'm with you there, because a B&W licence is somehow more suspicious than no licence at all.
 
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