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  #21  
Old 21 September 2009, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by MidgardDragon View Post
Hmm, 155 pounds (whatever that is in USD) a year, or putting up with 15 minutes of adverts (or just deciding to illegally download online)....hmm. I'll put up with the adverts.
It's not only the lack of adverts which makes the licence fee attractive, it's also the fact that without it the BBC could not produce it's wonderful non-commercial programmes, matchless news service and awesome website. To get my digital cable channels I have to pay about £50 a month (four times the licence fee!) and you still get the adverts and often all you get is cheap foreign imports, reality television shows and programmes first made by the BBC! Where would 'Gold', 'The History Channel' and 'National Geographic' be without BBC programmes?
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  #22  
Old 21 September 2009, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by MidgardDragon View Post
Hmm, 155 pounds (whatever that is in USD) a year, or putting up with 15 minutes of adverts (or just deciding to illegally download online)....hmm. I'll put up with the adverts. I find it fascinating how offended some people are by the mere idea that they have to see something trying to sell them something these days.
It's not a question of being offended by ads or putting up with 15 minutes of them. Marketing costs money; you pay for products that are advertised by paying more for them. Commercial television is not "free"; you are simply paying for it in a more roundabout way. And one of the ways is in quality of tv that appeals to the largest demographic (read: crap).

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Not even all that long ago (i.e. when I was a kid) it was just a normal day-to-day thing that no one even thought about. Don't get me wrong, there's the annoying kind (pop ups and unders online, view-obscuring banners on TV), but a few minutes of the regular old advert (some of which can be quite funny at times) isn't gonna kill me. Not to say that I believe everyone in the UK is happy to pay their license for the simple lack of advertisements, but the fact that this is a "selling point" to get people to pay for them baffles the mind.
Who argued that ads were going to kill anyone?
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  #23  
Old 21 September 2009, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew of Ware View Post
It's not only the lack of adverts which makes the licence fee attractive, it's also the fact that without it the BBC could not produce it's wonderful non-commercial programmes, matchless news service and awesome website. To get my digital cable channels I have to pay about £50 a month (four times the licence fee!) and you still get the adverts and often all you get is cheap foreign imports, reality television shows and programmes first made by the BBC! Where would 'Gold', 'The History Channel' and 'National Geographic' be without BBC programmes?
Exactly! There simply is not a US equivalent of the BBC.
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  #24  
Old 21 September 2009, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by MidgardDragon View Post
I find it fascinating how offended some people are by the mere idea that they have to see something trying to sell them something these days.
Why that must be it. If you extend "these days" back to 1946.
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  #25  
Old 21 September 2009, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Simply Madeline View Post
You pay the fee even if you don't have cable. If the US had a license fee, you would pay it to get ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CW, PBS, and whatever local stations are in your area. Also, there would be no commercials on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, etc.
That would be so nice.
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  #26  
Old 22 September 2009, 12:03 AM
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RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is offline
 
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Originally Posted by jw View Post
Exactly what it says on the tin. A licence to have a TV. Ours is €155 per year.
ETA: Not quite. Every household must have one.
I'm confused. Do households without a TV have to have one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by llewtrah View Post
The TV licence is for BBC1 and BBC2 terrestrial channels. ITV and Channel 4 are funded by advertising. The much newer BBC 3 & 4 are only available on cable, satellite and freeview. The problem is, even if you never watched the BBC terrestrial channels, you still had to pay the licence fee that funds BBC simply because you had a TV set and aerial capable of receiving them!
I pay $60/month for cable, On Demand, and broadband internet combined. I can get pay-per-view shows, but the $60 is what I pay in a month I don't have any PPV.

I get 54 channels, but there are only two I watch almost every day, and maybe 5 more I watch once a week. And by me, I mean the whole family. I would say half the channels I have never watched, even once, and some, like E!, the entertainment channel, I would never have watched, except for one thing-- it's a celebrity biography and gossip channel, but it has Saturday Night Live reruns, which I have very occasionally watched.

I get two home shopping channels, and four sports channels. Never watched. I don't watch BET very often, less than once a month, but they sometimes show movies, like Cool Runnings, or The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings, that I like.

It probably would actually cost more just to deliver channels I want, than just to give every customer all the channels. I don't know whether it's the same over there or not.

Maybe I'm not getting it, though. Are you just complaining about the clumsy way they keep their records? or about the charges in the first place?
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  #27  
Old 22 September 2009, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
I'm confused. Do households without a TV have to have one?
No, at least not in Ireland.

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I pay $60/month for cable, On Demand, and broadband internet combined. I can get pay-per-view shows, but the $60 is what I pay in a month I don't have any PPV.
We pay for cable too. The basic fee for around 100 channels, is about €35 a month, without dedicated sports, movies or PPV channels.
Quote:
Maybe I'm not getting it, though. Are you just complaining about the clumsy way they keep their records? or about the charges in the first place?
It's a humourous look at the excuses people make NOT to pay the licence fee.
It's basically a tax. Come on, who likes paying taxes?

Last edited by jw; 22 September 2009 at 12:45 AM.
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  #28  
Old 22 September 2009, 01:39 AM
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You have to have a TV licence in England if you own and operate a TV. AFAIK It doesn't matter what you use that TV for - even if you only use it for the purpose of hooking up a games console. There may be some sort of loophole whereby you could disable the tuner thus effectively turning it into a monitor I don't know, but an unmodified TV is capable of recieving broadcast signals, so you have to buy a licence.

From what I understand, the detection system is based around the NTVLRO (National TeleVision and Licencing Office) database. The assumption is that the vast majority of people do have a television, so they go to addresses where no licence is registered.

A couple of years I was quite hard up, and I let my TV licence slip (TV or food - tough choice) for a few months. An inspector turned up on my doorstep. I know there were no high tech gadgets involved because I hadn't been using the TV. He asked me to turn on my TV, he commented on how good the reception was, then we discussed it and offered me a payment plan - not "it's straight to court for you sonny". For the record I know I was in the wrong, and I'm not proud of this incident.

I think the BBC having to share the licence revenues with the commercial channels is a fairly recent thing. It certainly used to go exclusively to the BBC. I did see a breakdown somewhere, darned if I can find it but the BBC still gets the lions share. It should be noted that the BBC does run 9 (or is it ten including the Gaelic language channel) TV channels and 6 radio stations, all advert free out of this. Of course there is merchandising, and I don't know if the adverts on BBC America generate enough to not only keep that going, but to also replenish the general coffers.

BBCi on the internet is a curious thing legally. Until recently it showed programmes 2 hours or so after they had been broadcast (available for a limited period usually 7 days), and no licence was required to watch them. The BBCi service did not show every programme available to broadcast viewers though. Films and imported shows were generally unavailable probably due to the agreements with the owners/distributors.

Recently I seem to have read that the service has, or will offer live (as in at the same time it is being shown on broadcast television) internet streaming and you will need a licence to watch that service.

We have a licence for this address before you ask, but I don't watch much TV. I have a Freeview dongle for my PC, but it's looking kind of dusty. I don't know if a detector van could pick up someone using a PC to watch TV.
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  #29  
Old 22 September 2009, 02:07 AM
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When I worked in retail, 1980-84, we were to ask people who bought tvs to provide thier names and addresses that the company (Fine Fare) had to provide to NTVLRO.

Sadly, some folks gave false addresses.
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  #30  
Old 22 September 2009, 02:16 AM
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On one hand, I think "advertizing free tv is cool" but I think it's a bit ridiculous to have to pay a tax to own a tv you have strictly for gaming or watching DVD's for example.

Why don't they have like cable boxes or converter boxes so the people who have the license can get the channels but those who don't can't? Like the cable boxes here in the US, if you don't pay your bill, they cut off your cable. It seems it would be a lot easier then hunting down every person with a television set in their house and demanding the license fee.
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  #31  
Old 22 September 2009, 04:00 AM
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[
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Originally Posted by greenfrog78 View Post

Why don't they have like cable boxes or converter boxes so the people who have the license can get the channels but those who don't can't? Like the cable boxes here in the US, if you don't pay your bill, they cut off your cable. It seems it would be a lot easier then hunting down every person with a television set in their house and demanding the license fee.
Up until the digital switchover in 2012, any unconverted set can recieve analogue TV signals with a suitable antenna (aerial) perhaps even with what y'all call "bunny ears" though they are not that popular here.

It isn't like cable - if you have a TV and a properly aligned antenna, as it stands you can recieve the five main channels, because they are broadcast over radio waves. There is no way of cutting any individual off.
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  #32  
Old 22 September 2009, 04:11 AM
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They could conceivably encrypt the signal and require it to go through a device that is only unlocked upon receipt of payment for a television license, but then that would have to be connected to something that they could access. Maybe a box on the side of the house that the TV people could open up and shut off if the house didn't have a current license.

I imagine that's not particularly practical, though.
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  #33  
Old 22 September 2009, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Beejtronic View Post
We definitely had BBC4 and one of the ITV channels, but then I didn't pay the license myself, so I don't really know the ins and outs of how they worked. Our reception on BBC1 was so bad we usually just ended up watching everything on the iPlayer.
Are you sure you're not talking about a freeview/cable subscription? BBC4 is freeview/cable/satellite. ITV isn't funded by the licence. The licence is for having a working TV set capable of receiving TV broadcasts (and it funds the BBC (mainly), something dating back to when BBC was the only broadcaster). What you actually receive on that set will also depend on other subscriptions (e.g. to a cable provider) or on having a freeview box (which would get you BBC3, BBC4 and other free digital channels). Basic terrestrial channels are BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channels 4 and 5 (though there is the planned digital switchover)
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  #34  
Old 22 September 2009, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
[
Up until the digital switchover in 2012, any unconverted set can recieve analogue TV signals with a suitable antenna (aerial) perhaps even with what y'all call "bunny ears" though they are not that popular here.
Don't under-estimate the popularity of bunny-ears aerials, especially in rented flats where you don't have access to an outside aerial. In many areas, a conventional TV can get Freeview channels very nicely with a set-top bunny-ears/dish combo containing a booster.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lord_feldon View Post
They could conceivably encrypt the signal and require it to go through a device that is only unlocked upon receipt of payment for a television license, but then that would have to be connected to something that they could access. Maybe a box on the side of the house that the TV people could open up and shut off if the house didn't have a current license.
That's not too dissimilar to the cards you get to go in cable or satellite boxes to receive certain channels. There is a thriving business in modifying the boxes so the subscription ards aren't required.
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  #35  
Old 22 September 2009, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by llewtrah View Post
The excuses are inventive, but TV Licensing have a bad record for persecuting households for licences even when the household has already paid (people with different surnames) or when the household has no means of receiving TV (they idea of a totally TV-less house - no set or PC TV card, no aerial/cable/satellite - is foreign to them).
Yep, same thing here. I don't have a TV receiver (which is the part that requires a license here), I've told them that several times and explained that I get my content from the internet, but they still keep harassing me. I've even called them to once and for all ask them to stop harassing me, but they flat out refused.

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Originally Posted by CenTex View Post
I really hate to sound USA-centric, but what the heck is a TV licence?
It's a way to move money from the people to the state without calling it a tax.
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  #36  
Old 22 September 2009, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
I think the BBC having to share the licence revenues with the commercial channels is a fairly recent thing. It certainly used to go exclusively to the BBC.
ITV used to get some money to make their schools' programmes, during which they could not show adverts. (This may have come from some government education council.)

Quote:
I did see a breakdown somewhere, darned if I can find it but the BBC still gets the lions share. It should be noted that the BBC does run 9 (or is it ten including the Gaelic language channel) TV channels and 6 radio stations, all advert free out of this.
Let's not forget the 40 or 50 local radio stations that the BBC runs, all of which are also free of adverts. The BBC runs more than 6 national radio stations - there is also BBC 7, BBC Sports Extra and Radio Four has a long wave service as well as FM which often broadcast different programmes. There are also the BBC World Service radio stations (broadcasting in several dozen languages), but I think the government pays for these.

Quote:
Of course there is merchandising, and I don't know if the adverts on BBC America generate enough to not only keep that going, but to also replenish the general coffers.
BBC Worldwide was established to make the BBC more commercial. Programmes such as Doctor Who, The Weakest Link and Strictly Come Dancing more or less pay for themselves because of direct sales or selling of of licences. The BBC is expected to use the licence fee to pay for its non-commercial programmes and services (such as radio, documentaries, etc).

The BBC has far more channels than just BBC America, they have at least one Asian channel and a new television channel for the Middle East has just opened. I think these may carry adverts, though.
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  #37  
Old 22 September 2009, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew of Ware View Post
The BBC has far more channels than just BBC America, they have at least one Asian channel and a new television channel for the Middle East has just opened. I think these may carry adverts, though.
We get five BBC channels by satellite here: BBC Entertainment, BBC Lifestyle, BBC Knowledge, CBeebies, and BBC World News. They all have adverts, but actually not nearly as many as our local licence-supported SABC channels.
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  #38  
Old 22 September 2009, 09:18 PM
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I can't be the only one who thought of this during the course of this thread.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_OuBhx-jB8

-RoadsterBBCHeavenboy
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  #39  
Old 23 September 2009, 08:38 PM
Victoria J
 
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Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
I'm confused. Do households without a TV have to have one?
No.

However they assume you DO have a TV. Even telling them you don't isn't normally enough. They continue to send threatening letters and people to the door. Generally they try and pressurise people into letting them in, but they can get a court order to make you let them into the house to check that you really don't have a TV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
Maybe I'm not getting it, though. Are you just complaining about the clumsy way they keep their records? or about the charges in the first place?
It's the government.

Also - see above.

I think arguments that it's actually good value for the product you are getting just don't work - it's not a commercial arrangement of that kind. Would I pay that much for the BBC services - maybe. Am I happy that I (a) have to pay to use unrelated services, and (b) can be forced to have someone in my house to check whether I'm using the service - NO.

It's kind of surreal - lyou can't imagine any circumstances in which company A which produces, say T-shirts, can insist you pay them because they assume you have their product. If you claim you have never had anything to do with their product they can enter your home to check, and charge you if you have a similar product from company B.

You can use their services for free (radio, I Player, internet site for news etc,) and pay for using a service that gets none of the money.

Plus - as it is governmental and not commercial you might at least expect that it would be administered in a more socially forgiving way. The very old get free licenses, and some people on benefits can pay monthly (but they'll kick people of the scheme and refuse to let the back on when they make the choice Eddy did and buy food instead of paying). Blind people get 50% off. Othersie you pay the same for any size household, any number of TVs. For a fuzzt 19 inch TV to 5 huge wide screens in the house. Then they dispraportionately go after the poor if they don't buy one...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
You have to have a TV licence in England if you own and operate a TV. AFAIK It doesn't matter what you use that TV for - even if you only use it for the purpose of hooking up a games console. There may be some sort of loophole whereby you could disable the tuner thus effectively turning it into a monitor I don't know, but an unmodified TV is capable of recieving broadcast signals, so you have to buy a licence.
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenfrog78 View Post
I think it's a bit ridiculous to have to pay a tax to own a tv you have strictly for gaming or watching DVD's for example.
Only a TV capable of receiving a signal requires a license. Some things do suggest that any TV that could receive a signal - even if broken or detuned - count. I had always understood that not to be the case - if fully detuned or not working they were OK. Even packing the thing up and putting it in a cupboard would normally be OK. A TV that has been modified so it cannot receive a signal and can only be used as a monitor should not require a license. The law isn't very clear - and it comes down I guess to how confident they'll be in prosecuting you. I think they tend to rather over state their case.

Victoria J
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  #40  
Old 23 September 2009, 08:55 PM
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AFAIK anyone can pay monthly, but IIRC you have to put up six months in advance.

http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/waystop...debitintro.jsp

If you don't have a bank account upon which you can set up a direct debit (as was my case) you can use a TV Licensing savings card, whereby you can put a bit on it each payday or whenever you have a few quid spare in the hope of paying off any arrears (the option I was offered) and that you have enough on it to pay the license when it is due for renewal. This can be done at a PayPoint outlet, which are located in Post Offices, newsagents and many other stores.

http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/waystopay/postoffice.jsp

Last edited by Eddylizard; 23 September 2009 at 09:05 PM.
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