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This blog is to highlight the unjust persecution of legitimate non-TV users at the hands of TV Licensing. These people do not require a licence and are entitled to live without the unnecessary stress and inconvenience caused by TV Licensing's correspondence and employees.

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Monday, 28 December 2015

TV Licensing: Confirmation of Black & White (Monochrome) TV Reception


As at this time every year, TV Licensing is currently making a big deal of the fact that around 9,000 UK properties still hold a black & white (monochrome) TV licence.

As customary here at the TV Licensing Blog, a quick reminder of the relevant legislation: A TV licence is required for any property where equipment is installed or used to receive TV programmes.

Anyone who requires a TV licence should get one; anyone who doesn't need a TV licence should not submit to TV Licensing's oppressive methods of enquiry. TV Licensing, despite its threats and pretence to the contrary, has no legal business with the TV-free and should be totally ostracised by them.

In recent press releases TV Licensing has suggested that some monochrome TV licence holders are taking a risk by actually receiving colour TV programmes. A monochrome TV licence (£49 per year) is about a third of the cost of a colour TV licence (£145.40 per year), which arguably, in the eyes of TV Licensing, means that some people will falsely declare monochrome TV reception just to save a few quid.

So how does TV Licensing verify that a property is correctly covered by a monochrome TV licence? And how does TV Licensing detect properties covered by a monochrome TV licence, that should really be covered by a colour TV licence?

With great difficulty, is the honest answer to both of those questions.

As technology evolves, the number of monochrome TV licences is decreasing by around a fifth every year. Nowadays it is not possible to purchase a new monochrome TV licence, only to renew an existing monochrome TV licence. Whenever an existing monochrome TV licence is renewed, the licence-holder is reminded that it would be an offence to receive colour TV programmes. TV Licensing has little option but to accept the licence-holder's word that a monochrome TV licence is suitable for their needs.

Five months after the purchase of a monochrome TV licence, the computer system flags up the customer's address and a visit is scheduled. The purpose of these so called "monochrome challenge" visits is to gain entry, inspect equipment and thereby confirm (or otherwise) that a monochrome TV licence is appropriate for that property. Occasionally a monochrome challenge visit will be generated if TV Licensing receives information that a monochrome TV licence holder is actually receiving colour TV programmes.

The outcome of a monochrome challenge visit may be as follows:
  • TV Licensing is allowed entry and finds evidence of the reception of colour TV programmes: In this case the goon would complete the TVL178 Record of Interview form. They would record the visit as Code 8, which indicates a prosecution statement has been taken under caution.
  • TV Licensing is allowed entry and finds no evidence of the reception of colour TV programmes: The goon will record the visit as Code A, which confirms that a monochrome TV licence is appropriate.
  • TV Licensing is refused entry and the occupier denies reception of colour TV programmes: If the goon has reasonable grounds to suspect the reception of colour TV programmes, they should warn the occupier that it may be necessary to obtain a search warrant to confirm the situation (search warrants are exceptionally rare). The goon will record the visit as Code 9X, which indicates suspected evasion.
  • TV Licensing is refused entry and the occupier admits reception of colour TV programmes: In this case the goon would complete the TVL178 form. They would record the visit as Code 8, which indicates a prosecution statement has been taken under caution.
You can read more information about monochrome challenge visits in chapter 11 of the TV Licensing Visiting Procedures, which is available on our Resources page.

It is important to stress that without physically inspecting equipment within a property, TV Licensing has no way of confirming whether or not a monochrome TV licence is appropriate. 

Despite what TV Licensing's gappy-toothed PR harlots would have people believe, its magical "detection" equipment - which isn't routinely used anyway - cannot distinguish between the reception of colour or monochome TV programmes.

In our opinion, anyone who correctly holds a monochrome TV licence should not feel coerced into granting TV Licensing access to their property. It is an unequivocal fact that some TV Licensing goons employ unscrupulous and dishonest tactics, so why run the risk of being stitched up by one of them?

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8 comments:

Chris (aka: TheKnightsShield) said...

"If the goon has reasonable grounds to suspect the reception of colour TV programmes, they should warn the occupier that it may be necessary to obtain a search warrant to confirm the situation (search warrants are exceptionally rare)."

Would this not be in breach of the rule that they should not use a SW as a threat to gain entry, as stated in your earlier entry, posted on the 20th [of December], "Don't Get Christmas Stuffed by TV Licensing"? We all know that a TVL visiting officer's idea of "reasonable grounds" is skewered by their hunger to gain a much needed commission, so them using "reasonable grounds" as an argument would be pointless, as they'd be in breach of their rules (the ones they hardly ever follow to the letter, I might add).

Admin said...

It appears that TV Licensing makes some sort of distinction between "warning" and "threatening" about the possibility of SW. In my eyes, as yours, a warning and threat are pretty much the same thing, but apparently not to TV Licensing.
The Capita TVL SW policy states that the occupier should be warned if SW is being considered, unless doing so would prejudice the execution of that SW. That in itself is a bit wishy washy!

Chris said...

I can't imagine any scenario where somebody would be able to use a black and white TV license. Modern televisions are all colour and typically have some kind of freeview built into them anyway. That leaves old style black and white vacuum tube tellys. There's nothing for them to receive in the UK any more since terrestrial transmitters were turned off. So you'd have to connect something like a Freeview box, at which point a colour license is needed.

In other words, they're either being used for something other than watching live TV (eg CCTV), in which case no license is needed, or they're being used to watch live TV, in which case a colour license is needed to support the equipment doing the receiving.

Have I missed a use case?

Chris

Admin said...

This is something I've also been pondering and I'm struggling to work it out too.
Since DSO it is only possible to receive colour TV programmes.

Chris said...

I think I've found the answer, after much googling. The TVL site itself was useless, searching for "black and white" and so on finds nothing of use. There is a single page in their FAQ section, buried with the title "What are the terms and conditions of a standard TV Licence?"

http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/faqs/FAQ111

"Black and white licences:
If you use TV equipment to record television programmes, you need a colour licence even if you only have a black and white television as TV equipment records TV in colour. A black and white licence is valid only if the digital box is not designed to record television programmes."

So there you go. As long as the receiving box has no programme recording capabilities you can use it with a black and white TV and a black and white TV license. I didn't know that. You'll need to update your excellent e-book as it states "An offence is committed if a person uses colour TV receiving equipment in a property only covered by a black & white TV licence" when in fact it's only colour TV receiving equipment with recording capabilities that would give rise to the offence.

Regards,
Chris

Anonymous said...

I believe a NON-RECORDING freeview box connected to a B/W TV is covered by a B/W licence,,,,

Admin said...

Thanks for that info Chris and Anon.
I will indeed update the ebook before the next edition goes live on Friday.

Fred Bear said...

The legal situation is summarised in this response to a FOI request:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/90515/response/228588/attach/4/RFI20111288%20Disclosure%20document.pdf

The regulations were specifically changed by the government to allow B&W viewers to continue to use their equipment after digital switchover.