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Can someone explain the TV license in the UK for me?

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posted on Dec, 29 2015 @ 02:14 AM
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a reply to: Domo1

I pay the TV licence at a monthly rate and don't think twice about it. Got *caught* maybe last year after not paying previously. It applies per household and is, imo, worth every penny to help keep the BBC running.

The BBC gets chipped at by every successive government because it attempts to be neutral. People will argue that it's got a Left-bias. I say contrast the BBC to UK printed media and there's no real comparison. UK print media publicly back parties and personalities; they are 'King Makers.' BBC is never pushing one party above another. The owners of UK print media (rightly) resent the BBC because it's powerful and takes a share of their markets. Likewise, print media have very close ties with political parties and have their influence restricted by a neutral behemoth lie BBC.

No commercials is something awesome. Music, news and talk channels (R4) all day long without a 'word from our sponsors' or 5 minute ad-breaks every 11 minutes.

I could soapbox with more compliments for the BBC, but that's not what you asked for.




posted on Dec, 29 2015 @ 03:09 AM
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I don't mind paying tbh.
I have a soft spot for the BBC I wish it was like the old days though.




posted on Dec, 29 2015 @ 03:34 AM
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originally posted by: Domo1
How can they tell if you're watching TV without paying for the license.

Deapite all the talk of "detector vans", I suspect their real system is to correlate two address databases, one containing everybody and one containing the list of licence-holders. They could then assume that everybody in the first list who was not on the second list would be worth investigating.
You need to understand that it is not, strictly speaking, a licence to watch. It is a licence to use equipment capable of receiving television broadcasts. That's why "I never watch the B.B.C" was never a legal defence.

Is it a monthly fee, or a flat fee every year?

It is defined as an annual fee, but my payment is made by monthly direct debit.

If you have cable TV, is it still taxed? If you don't watch stuff "over the air" and instead watch cable is that exempt?

Yes, you have to pay. You are still using equipment which can receive television programmes. In principle, this could be extended to watching via computer, though the argument still goes back and forth.

Is it per household and independent of number of residents/TVs? How does this work with roommates?

It is per household, so it automatically covers your family, even if they have their own sets. The fine print on my copy says "anyone who normally lives with you at the licensed place". That ought to cover room-mates. It used to be assumed that lodgers were also covered, but the fine print now says not. If they are watching on their own set, they may be liable.
The downside is that if you are wealthy enough to own three residences in different parts of the country, you will need a separate licence for each address,


Who dictates what is shown on the BBC?

It has a governing body which acts independently, though government appoints the men at the top.
It is supposed to be politically neutral, but the internal culture is notoriously left-wing.
It will be inclined to political correctness, and will always present the orthodox view on climate change.


Are there other independent channels that you can get over the air? Do they have commercials?

There have been commercial channels since the mid-fifities.
Originally, there were just the two channels, one B.B.C. and one commercial. Thus the standard phrase used when switching channels became "let's see what's on the other side". Force of habit may have kept this phrase going even now.
The "terrestrial" channels increased to five (2 B.B.C, 3 commercial) before cable and satellite options caused a comparative explosion in the numbers.
The use of commercials is more restrained. The convention is that they are shown in five-minute slots, normally at quarter-hour intervals. A "half-hour" programme will probably begin on the hour and end at twenty-five minutes past, after one interruption ten minutes in. So channel-hopping to avoid commercials doesn't really work, it just moves you from one set of commercials to another.

edit on 29-12-2015 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 29 2015 @ 05:20 AM
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originally posted by: Discotech
a reply to: Domo1

They're very sneaky, usually they know when somebody has bought a new TV (I guess they request the information from the retailers) and send a letter saying you have to pay the license fee, even if you're already paying (they're not very savvy)



No, that's not how it works at all. If a particular address had a record of paying the license fee in the past, it's assumed until proven otherwise that one is still required - no one gets information regarding license fee requirements based on purchase information and if you think about it, the logistics around trying to check if it's a new TV where there wasn't one before, a replacement for an existing TV or an additional TV in the house would make managing such a thing absurd. I had a little involvement in this a few years back by visits to the outsourced company at the time that was responsible for the administration of the system.

For everyone moaning about the license fee, if you don't want to watch the thing, don't. Plenty of us do. For those of you moaning about the quality of BBC programmes, you might want to bear in mind that they are sold to countries all over the world for millions of pounds for transmission in those countries so it can't be that bad.

To Domo1. PBS as I understand it may be free to watch, but I understood it was at least partially funded via regular telethons where the public were begged to donate, it's not really a comparable model.



posted on Dec, 29 2015 @ 05:35 AM
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originally posted by: uncommitted
no one gets information regarding license fee requirements based on purchase information

I have another story from my own experience.
When I first bought this house, I used to spend the working week in a rented room in London.
I already had a TV licence under the London address, and did nothing at the time to get a second one.
But then I bought a TV set locally, giving this address, and I was contacted by the licensing authorities on the basis that I had recently acquired some equipment, and I ought to acquire a licence pronto.
edit on 29-12-2015 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 29 2015 @ 05:48 AM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI

originally posted by: uncommitted
no one gets information regarding license fee requirements based on purchase information

I have another story from my own experience.
When I first bought this house, I used to spend the working week in a rented room in London.
I had a TV licence under the London address, and did nothing at the time to get a second one.
But then I bought a TV set locally, giving this address, and I was contacted by the licensing authorities on the basis that I had recently acquired some equipment, and I ought to acquire a licence pronto.


I'm not doubting you at all, please don't think I am, but is there a possibility that this was co-incidental as no license was registered at the second address at the time? When you think about it, the logistics don't add up. What if you bought that TV set with cash and collected so no delivery address was required? What if the delivery address was your licensed address?

ETA: Anyhow, if anyone in the UK or Channel Islands believes they shouldn't be paying a license (for proper reasons, not their own perception), they may want to check out the link below...

www.tvlicensing.co.uk...

edit on 29-12-2015 by uncommitted because: as per ETA



posted on Dec, 29 2015 @ 05:57 AM
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a reply to: uncommitted
This was more than six years ago, so I have discarded the correspondance, but the observation that I had recently acquired equipment was made explicitly in the letter. They knew about it, one way or another.



posted on Dec, 29 2015 @ 06:14 AM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: uncommitted
This was more than six years ago, so I have discarded the correspondance, but the observation that I had recently acquired equipment was made explicitly in the letter. They knew about it, one way or another.



Fair do's, if that's what you say then I'm not going to disagree, but I do know that the physical maintenance of carrying out that level of investigation would be ridiculously hard to manage, and the number of loopholes that would prevent it being of benefit would outweigh the value in the first place. I know you no longer have the correspondence, so all moot now, but would have been interesting to know if it was an 'official' request for payment from the licensing authority or a letter sent from the vendor or manufacturer stating your responsibilities.

Doesn't really matter and I'm not questioning, just that when I moved house and bought a new TV on arrival using credit card, I didn't get such a letter and didn't set up a direct debit to pay until we were actually living in the property. Never heard of similar from friends/family in similar situation, but maybe it's the luck of the draw.



posted on Dec, 29 2015 @ 06:48 AM
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We do not have a tv licence, we filled in a form online saying that we do not watch live tv and that to do so will result in a £1000 fine.

We have netflix and if we want to watch something on the bbc we just iplayer, as long as we do not watch it "live" we are breaking the law.

The tv detector vans were a load of nonsense, just a scare tactic. these days as others have said they go on if you have bought a tv or have a sattelite/cable subscription, they also just peek through the window to see if you have a bloody great flat screen tv in your living room.

Because so many people are switching to online services and on demand there is a decline in licence payers so they are planning the scrap the fee and replace it with a no optout entertainment tax on every household.



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