Dec 2010

TV Licensing finally caught up with me…

It took 7 years of alternating between ignoring them and telling them that I knew their rules better than they do, but the wonderful people of TV Licensing finally decided to send one of their crack team of enforcement agents to my door – a woman in her 50s with a Range Rover Sport and one of those attitudes that says that you are scum and you are now officially “In Trouble”. To be honest, I was disappointed…

So, I can now tell you how deep and involved their interrogation techniques are.

You’ll need the tag end of a roll of co-axial cable, tucked behind the radiator, preferably covered in cobwebs. You’ll also need to make sure that the channels 1 to 4 are tuned to static.

  1. Show the officer the end of the cable.
  2. Show the officer channels 1 to 4 of static
  3. Wave goodbye to her

Job done.

Of course, if you happen to use your DVD player or digital set top box as a receiver then your first four channels wouldn’t be tuned in, would they?

So, just remember boys and girls – you only need a license to receive broadcast TV at the time that it is broadcast.

Things you need a license for:

  • Watching or recording TV broadcasts that have come down your aerial
  • Watching an internet stream of live TV if it’s being broadcast live by a UK provider – you can watch The Daily Show live, but you can’t watch the Olympics via a Bolivian TV station if it’s being shown on the BBC at the same time
  • Using a TV card in a computer
  • Technically, watching a VHS of something someone else recorded for you

Things you don’t need a license for:

  • Watching iPlayer, 4OD or similar on demand internet streams from UK broadcasters, as long as they aren’t being broadcast at the same time. I’m not sure how this works for repeats…
  • Watching DVDs
  • Playing computer games
  • Using it as a strangely expensive and useless mirror

Don’t let their bullying letters scare you. If you don’t watch live broadcast TV on your TV, don’t get a license. Spend the money on a congratulatory meal out instead…

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  • 1

    Wed 29th Dec '10
    17:46 UTC
    TV Licensing Blog

    You’re probably thinking complying with their inspection means they’ll leave you in peace. They won’t. They’re vultures. They slowly pick away at the carcass of genuine non-TV viewers, like you, until they submit and buy a licence for a peaceful life.

    You msy well have already received their next hateful mailshot since you wrote this post.

    The best advice is to ignore them completely. Do not reply, do not let them in. If you open the door on them, say nothing and close it immediately. They have no right to harass and intimidate people in their own homes – even less so if they’re genuine non-TV viewers.

  • 2

    Wed 29th Dec '10
    17:50 UTC

    I couldn’t agree more. Sadly they came round while I was suffering from the plague, and I gave in to make my life easier.

    It still amuses me that they clearly don’t know or care about the actual TV, just what they can scare you into.

  • 3

    Fri 1st Apr '11
    17:37 UTC

    They threatened to prosecute me even though I had a TV licence. I blackmailed the bastards…and they paid up.

  • 4

    Sun 3rd Apr '11
    15:29 UTC

    they paid up…?

  • 5

    Sun 3rd Apr '11
    17:20 UTC

    Yes they paid up. I told them exactly what I would do if they didn’t pay me ‘an appropriate amount of compensation’ and received a cheque about a week later.

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