Sunday, 7 August 2011

TV without a licence.

I made a few visits to an old school friend while in Wales. He's a miserable git like me, of similar political persuasion (they are all bastards) and prefers not to have an overload of blood in his alcohol stream.

He has a TV but he has no TV. When Wales went digital he kept his analogue TV which now receives no signal from live transmissions. He uses it to play DVDs.

So he needs no TV licence and therefore has no licence.

The switch to digital was a great thing for those who don't want a licence. Just have an analogue TV and no matter how much the licence-grabbers howl, they cannot claim you need a licence for a device capable of receiving live transmissions, because it isn't. Not any more.

I have an analogue TV here. Ditching the digital box (it was only £20 and I no longer watch any live TV at all) will save me the much greater cost of the licence every year. They can come in and check if they like. Yes, I have a TV but it is not capable of receiving any TV so they can whistle for their telly tax.

Thank you, government, for giving us all an easy way to have a DVD-watching screen without any danger of paying tax on it.

I bet that wasn't the plan.


Angry Exile said...

Clever move, but if enough people do it then it's only a matter of time before they abandon the unique way the BBC is funded, and simply give them wheelbarrow loads of money direct from general taxation like the ABC gets here. Not watching the BBC or even any TV broadcasts, even getting rid of the TV completely, won't stop prevent you from being mugged for your share.

David Davis said...

I once managed to see into the back of a "detector van" (this was also when people has analog TVs) and......IT WAS EMPTY.

So it's all a scam. They never were going round "detecting" stuff, because there was no kit. Arguably, they could have detected the strong RF field of the local osctillator inside the analog set, which converted the RF signal to an "intermediate frequency" for amplification (this was how U-boats often slemt out the rpesence of a ship to torpedo: if it transmitted, the Uboat could pick up its local osc and DF it).

But now with modern flat-screens receiving digital transpissions, this option is no longer available to "detectors".

nisakiman said...

The only live TV I ever watch is the Formula 1, which I watch online via a proxy server in the UK that I use. It always amuses me when I log on to see the little message: "Remember, you still need a TV licence to watch BBC online."

So this may be the next ploy.

"Got a computer? Internet connection? Aha! That means you could be watching BBC online, so you will need a TV licence..."

Angry Exile said...

"Transpissions", eh? I think that one word sums up most of the content of Channel 7 down here.

SBC said...

Leggy, you've just made my Sunday morning! We go digital here in the autumn and thanks to your post I now realise that the old camping TV's i have to have for 8-bit computing (yes i am a sad man who has no life)won't require me buying a licence!

Vladimir said...

I was concerned that my intention to opt out of broadcast TV would cause difficulties, and I'd be harassed by the licensing authority.

However, they were actually very polite and courteous as I explained that I'd disconnected the TV and would, from now on, only use it for DVDs. I have had no dealing with them at all since a phone call last summer to arrange a licence fee refund.

I think some license refuseniks deliberately antagonise the license authority by ignoring their letters, causing trouble for their officers, and (quite possibly) not-so-secretly watching broadcast TV, daring TV Licensing to stop them.

There is no need for this. It may be true that these officers have no right to enter your home, and have no technical ability to detect whether you are watching TV, but it is still bad manners to try to exploit this in order to cheat the system. Bad manners invite further harassment - they really will behave like a Gestapo if you treat them like one (albeit a variety of Gestapo with a rather ineffectual and benign nature).

Frank Davis said...

I got quite a few threatening letters after the changeover to digital, when I just ditched my analogue TV set. Finally, after a year, they showed up on the doorstep. I leaned out the window and told them what I'd already told them by letter, that I no longer had a TV set of any sort. And they just turned around and left, and I haven't heard from them since.

Beware of Geeks bearing GIFs said...


You are right - bad manners are simply unacceptable, politeness trumps every time.

However, some of the refuseniks like myself find issues with the way TV Licensing (Capita) reserve the right for instance, after you've politely informed them that you no longer want to pay the licence fee, to start the automated letters again after a period of time, “in case your status has changed”.

Also, the licence fee is an anachronism in today’s modern media age. As you’ve stated in your post, it’s easy to watch live broadcasts without requiring a licence because we no longer have these big, humming CRTs that could be detected by the Mark II ear simply from the noise they used to make. Also kids today tend to use more of the modern media than we do – sitting in front of the telly by the fire is fitting to an older and gentler generation.

Anyway, all of us can avoid the hassle from the Capita salesmen anyway by putting up a small “implied right of access denied” notice on your front door. Problem solved, no more knocks on the door.

I chose not to watch live broadcast, the TV’s detuned anyhow so I’m not bothered either way but the writing is on the wall: the licence fee days are short lived.

I can watch live broadcast if I choose – either on a laptop, PC or server, but being a geek, I’ve CAT 6 cabled up my house and stream live or recorded broadcast to any room in the house on any device and no empty TV detector van’s going to get past that!

Stewart Cowan said...

Really glad to hear so many people are now refusing to pay to be brainwashed and infantilised by the BBC.

It is 6 1/2 years since my last direct debit payment. I don't know how I found the time to watch all that junk.

I still get letters from TV Licensing, as Beware of Geeks says, “in case your status has changed” along with their threat of sending someone round “to check”. I sometimes 'phone them to tell them that nobody they send will get through the front door. I have never been bothered by them in person, but they really won't be gaining access if they do appear.

The times they are a-changing! I think people are waking up to the scams: the BBC, climate change, the EU... and hopefully, the theory of evolution!

Anonymous said...

I've had years of aggressive and threatening letters from TV Licensing - I started by being reasonable and responding that I did not have a TV- when I phoned them to tell this they nevertheless more or less told me I was lying and they would send someone round regardless.So there didn't seem much point in contacting them if that was their automatic response.My most recent reply told them I don't have a TV and withdrew "implied right of access" on my property - despite being told I would not continue a correspondence with them they nevertheless wrote back asking for my name and details - which I have ignored.They have only themselves to blame for people being stroppy and uncooperative in turn.The bad manners have been from TV Licensing- my response has been commensurate- I am not going to be bullied by these people.

Anonymous said...

I bought a cheap digibox in Argos last week. Well, only after I had been coerced into giving my name and address so that the licencing people could check I had a licence. I huffed and puffed (as a futile gesture), but apparently this is standard practice - a case of give us the info or no deal. Thinking about it now, I suppose I could have paid in cash and given them false details. Then again, with cash they'd probably asked for a passport or utility bill.

SBC said...

@ Anon 22:02

You mean they sold it to you without your providing a DNA sample and a note from your Mommy??!

I'm appalled. Argos need to take the terrorist threat seriously.

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