Wednesday, August 12, 2009

TV License.

This may (or may not) be an interesting bit of trivia for those of you not in the UK. TV Licensing. What is it? It is a fee that you have to pay the GOVERNMENT so that you can watch TV. A colour TV Licence costs £142.50 per year. A black and white TV Licence costs £48.00 per year. What do you get for that? Well, the answer is simple... you get the RIGHT to watch TV. For which you must subscribe via a cable or satellite operator, same as you do in the US. Those fees are similar I think to what you get in the US, starting at £11/month for basic with 45 channels, £22 for 100 channels, £32.50 for 160 channels. Of course, on top of that price is taxes and fees. Then you have to pay the TV license, in order to legally watch the shows you are paying to recieve. You also have to get the "box" from the cable company, currently on sale for £49, saving you over £100. Virgin Media supplies over 95% of cable in the UK, so I suppose you're going to pay whatever they want you to pay... You do get Virgin telephone service with the cable, but here pay a package/line fee/etc, and then you pay for phone calls. It's all terribly confusing to me. There are line connection charges, charges per minute, it depends on when you are calling, what kind of phone you are calling, where in the UK you are calling. Our bank statements have a phone number on them if you have problems or what have you... there's a set fee just to dial them. I just don't get it! The country is not so big that you should have 50 different fees for calling 50 different places! Oh well, that's not even something I'm interested in talking about.

So, back to this TV Licensing thing. I've been afraid to answer the door since I got here. They come door to door to people who don't pay the fee. I guess it's too much for them to fathom that people don't watch TV. I was told that if I answer the door and they identify themselves as such, to shut the door and not say a word. They do not have a legal right to enter the home, or force us to speak to them. They'll just leave. Well, me personally, that scared me so bad that I just decided if Nid wasn't home and I didn't know who was knocking, I just wouldn't answer. But then today there was an article in the paper that clearly says we are not breaking any TV Licensing laws. Of course, I could've found this online anyway, but I just never got around to looking it up. From TV Licensing Web Page:

You must be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV. It makes no difference what equipment you use - whether it’s a laptop, PC, mobile phone, digital box, DVD recorder or a TV set - you still need a licence.

You do not need a TV Licence to view video clips on the internet, as long as what you are viewing is not being shown on TV at the same time as you are viewing it.

If you use a digital box with a hi-fi system, or another device that can only be used to produce sounds and can't display TV programmes, and you don't install or use any other TV receiving equipment, you don't need a TV Licence.

It's good to see it in writing that because we do not watch live TV, we are safe. Okay, well that was my bit of trivia sharing for today. Hope you all learned something, because I sure did!


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