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TV licence figures show 13,000 black and white sets still going strong

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Faulty TV

Britain, birthplace of the Luddites, still boasts a small number of die-hard technology refuseniks, if the latest figures from the TV Licensing (TVL) authority are to be believed.

According to a TVL report released today more than 13,000 homes across the UK are still using black and white sets to watch Eastenders or Coronation Street.

“It’s remarkable that with the digital switchover complete, 41 percent of UK households owning HDTVs and Britons leading the world in accessing TV content over the internet more than 13,000 households still watch their favourite programmes on a black and white telly,” cooed Stephen Farmer, spokesperson for TV Licensing.

Indeed, thanks to the digital switchover, analogue black and white sets will not be able to receive a signal at all. So to watch monochrome programming, householders are presumably shelling out to buy digital set-top boxes to hook up black and white sets – after all, as TVL points out, if homeowners have a colour-capable digital recorder, they need a colour licence.

All of which has got some people misty-eyed about the lengths some people will go to avoid the onward march of progress.

“There will always be a small number of users who prefer monochrome images, don't want to throw away a working piece of technology or collect old TV sets,” opined John Trenouth, a TV and radio technology historian.

Of course, there is one other explanation for the continued popularity of black and white licences.

Maybe there are simply 13,000 students up and down the country that have worked out they're less likely to get visited by a TV detector van if they buy a black and white licence rather than not buy one at all – saving themselves £100 a year in the process.

10 Jan 2013

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