Television licensing in the United Kingdom

Free and discounted TV licences

TV Licence
If a business or household is not obliged to have a TV licence then TV Licensing will request written confirmation of this, even though no such information is required to be given in law. Easy Access Savings Nationwide: Not that TVs are transmitters anyway. Better still, you should never open your door to anyone unless you know you are expecting someone. Even the police can't snoop on suspected terrorists in their own homes without a court order. For decades it's been claimed they trap licence cheats. Don't be fooled by them.

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How will the BBC detect people watching iPlayer without a licence?

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Retrieved 11 July Retrieved 27 February Radio Reception via Television Equipment". Retrieved 5 April Retrieved 18 June House of Commons Library.

Retrieved 11 January Retrieved 23 July Retrieved 24 July Retrieved 1 June The TV licence and your PC". Retrieved 20 July Retrieved 20 November Retrieved 3 February Retrieved 2 October Retrieved 8 September Archived from the original PDF on 22 July Britain's capital for TV licence fee evasion is..

Retrieved 7 November Retrieved 29 July Collecting the television licence fee" PDF. Retrieved 20 September The top ten excuses as defined by TV Licensing were: Collecting the television licence fee". Retrieved 4 July Retrieved 18 November Frequency of use of misleading court threats". Archived from the original on 13 April Retrieved 10 April Retrieved 16 April Retrieved 31 October Growing numbers taking advantage of legal loophole that means they can threaten to sue collectors for trespass".

Retrieved 18 August Retrieved 17 March Retrieved 27 September Retrieved 20 May Retrieved 21 October Retrieved 19 May Retrieved 17 November Retrieved 7 July Retrieved 9 January Retrieved 18 December For decades it's been claimed they trap licence cheats.

In fact, they've never led to a single prosecution". Leaked document suggests they could be a ruse". Retrieved 30 September Retrieved 12 January Retrieved 30 October Administering the TV Licensing system part 2".

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Retrieved 1 October Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service. Retrieved 22 July Retrieved 11 August Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Office. Retrieved 21 July Isle of Man Government. Retrieved 28 July Retrieved 9 July States of Jersey Police.

Survey blow to BBC as public question case for licence fee". Retrieved 20 December Response by National Union of Journalists". Creators' Rights Alliance web site. Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Retrieved 16 August Retrieved 17 December Naked into the TV courtroom".

Retrieved 15 September Scrap BBC licence fee". Retrieved 4 February Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 18 April Retrieved 24 June Retrieved 16 May Retrieved 17 May Television portal United Kingdom portal.

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View your post below. We just need to check something in your message and will publish it as soon as we can. Freshers homepage Freshers home page Chat forums University life forum Forums by university Forums by course Uni accommodation Fresher blogs. Downloads What to take to uni checklist Uni life hacks ebook. Undergraduate Full time Part time. Parents and partners Repayment Advanced Learner Loan. Turn on thread page Beta Toggle. How do people get caught without a tv license?

Starting uni is full of surprises: Start new discussion Closed. Follow 1 Is there actually technology used to track license evaders? Some people say the technology used in these rumored vans doesn't exist. Also, what about watching television through the internet i. Can they track your computer? Follow 2 TVL don't tend to bother with the high-tech route, they just stick with issuing threatening letters to bully people into buying a license when they don't need one. Hanvyj Follow 2 followers 17 badges Send a private message to Hanvyj.

Follow 3 They just assume everyone has a TV. My dad had a flat when he was working away once, he didn't bother getting a license because he was only there during the week - they send letters regardless of what you actually have.

They had guys come round about 3 times I think - every time he would show them round and that he didn't have a TV, they would come back in a few months or so. Sternumator Follow 9 followers 17 badges Send a private message to Sternumator. Follow 4 I have thought this to. Even if they do have those vans, which I doubt I would think they would have to catch you with a TV to fine you.

If they sent someone round to your house and you didn't let them in I doubt there is much they can do. Follow 5 Virtually everyone who gets caught was reported by their neighbours or someone they had told. They have vans but they're for intimidation purposes rather than actually being able to detect who's watching broadcast television and they tell which houses don't have licenses by looking at the houses which don't come up on their database of people who have paid.

If they come round don't let them in since they're not police officers. You're allowed to watch TV on the internet, say iPlayer or 4od, after it was broadcast without a license. Follow 6 There is handheld machine computer things that exist, I've seen them using them in my street in the past and also around my halls when I first started Uni.

That was before the digital switch over though. I think those machines only work for analogue tv though so are becoming redundant. The tv licensing company will send letters out regularly to random houses to try and catch people out. Birds and the bees. Do they know what channel you're watching, or just that you have the TV on? Jan, Mcr UK They work by detecting the electromagnetic signature that your television gives off.

They are so accurate that they can tell you where in the house the TV is, and they can indeed see the channel you are watching. It was originally a PR stunt to frighten people into thinking they could be detected and then pursued for not having a TV licence. There are still no TV detector vans. The way they can tell is if you don't pay your direct debit or move into a home which did have a TV licence but which hasn't renewed the license.

Mr Butterworth, I believe they pick up the signal from the local oscillator in your TV. When radio or television signals are transmitted the audio or video signal is superimposed on a 'carrier wave' - a process known as modulation.

When you tune the set it is the frequency of the carrier you tune to. To retrieve the original audio or video signal it is necessary to demodulate the composite signal. That is achieved by 'mixing' it with a locally-generated signal of the same frequency as the carrier. Hence the need for a local oscillator. As the different channels use carrier waves of different frequencies it is presumably possible to tell which you are tuned to by measuring the frequency of the radiation emitted by the oscillator.

Robin Graham, Wirksworth Derbyshire They operate by detecting some of the radio frequencies generated inside the set, in its conversion of the TV signal into watchable 'video' signals, while it's switched on. These 'intermediate frequency' signals are a by-product of the techniques used in the conversion, and 'leak' out of the set.

In principle, you could screen the set in earthed wire mesh in an attempt to defeat detection, but you'd also have to filter the aerial and mains cables too.

It was a con to make people buy TV licenses. As far as I'm aware, it didn't work. Clive Cox, Sydney Australia Television and radio transmitters broadcast at a frequency that is so high it is unintelligible to the human ear.

Any receiving device will use a series of oscillators built into the set to reduce this frequency to something more managable. The oscillator produces a frequency which is just below the one from the transmitter. In saying that, if two frequences are mixed, the resulting frquency is the mathematical difference of the two. These oscillators in your TV are in effect mini transmitters which radiate a signal over a few hundred yards.

These signals are easily picked up by detector vans. As each station needs a specific frequency, then the oscillator needs to be adjusted tuning. It is therefore easy to detect which station or channel you are watching or listening, by determinig which frequency that your set's oscillator is producing.

The detector van does this easily. John Duncan, Edinburgh Scotland They work by detecting emissions from the part of your telly that converts the incoming signal which is at a high frequency, broadcastable through the air to your aerial into an intermediate signal at a lower frequency that the telly can then convert into pictures and sound.

Because the different TV channels are broadcast at different frequencies, the detector van can determine which channel is being "down-converted" to pictures and sound. Tim Waterfield, Cambridge England They see the ariel on your roof, although I once heard a story about a tv detector man claiming someone had a tv because of the ariel, the man then replied "just cos' I've got milk on me door step doesn't mean I've got a cow. James, Chiswick England They don't really.

Detection of TV Licence evasion is works on an address based system, so if you're not on their supposedly exhaustive list, they nip round, listen really carefully at the door and bust you if they hear Anne Robinson's voice. Alistair Crosbie, Glasgow UK They amplify the tv frequency so it can be picked up by detector equipment.

It doesn't differentiate between channels - but then it doesn't need to as it's no excuse to say you were only watching ITV or Sky. So-called 'TV detector vans' do not exist. Have you ever seen one? It is perfectly easy to evade payment for a TV licence if one chooses to do so. If it wasn't, the BBC wouldn't bother making scary warnings and inventing tosh such as TV detector vans. Surely they just have a list of addresses without licences, and go a-knocking. Jon, Lancaster UK No! They can't even tell if you have a TV, never mind what channel you are watching, the way they work is they assume that everyone has a TV, and they ahve a list of people who have not got a TV licence, and then they drive around and knock on everyones door who does not have a TV licence, to check they are nto using a TV.

The reason they can not detect anything is because you TV does not transmit anything at all, it is only a reciever. Instead, people were caught for the following three reasons: When renting a TV your details are passed on to the licensing authorities. When buying a new TV, your details are passed on to the licensing authorities. When moving into a new house or flat where the previous occupant has cancelled any licence, a standard letter is sent automatically asking the new occupier to obtain a licence.

When this is ignored, it was often assumed that the new occupier was trying to evade payment. Simon, Vienna Austria I had always thought it was an Orwellian myth. There would be far too much interference around to be able to pin-point an accurate signal. Surely, they asume everyone has a TV therefore everyone needs a TV license. If you haven't got a TV license, your breaking the law.

If you haven't got a TV you're weird. I gave the money to a friend and he made the purchase for me as he already had a TV licence. As one licence allows you to own an indefinite number of TV sets, I knew the Licence Evader Police wouldn't come after him.

I successfully managed to avoid ever buying a TV licence. I'm almost proud of that! Nowadays, I never have to worry about such ridiculous things as TV licences - although I do have to put up with a lot of ads! You can prove it yourself. Switch your TV on. Get a portable radio and tune it up and down the medium wave until you get a buzzing noise - sounds a bit like an electric shaver.

You should be able to tune the radio to the frequency of the TV set's intermediate frequency oscillator. Confirm this by switching the TV off - the sound should go away. MW radios are directional, so rotating the radio should change the volume of the sound.

A TV detector van can use this effect to triangulate from 2 positions and should be able to ascertain the position of a TV set to within a couple of feet. If they think they've found a TV in your house, and they don't have a record of you owning a license, they knock on your door.

I have seen one of these vans. They knocked on my door I'd just moved house and one of the vans was sitting outside. I don't think they can tell what channel you are watching. The IF oscilator should stay at a constant frequency no matter which frequency the TV is tuned to. Or for that matter whether you're watching a video. Most of the other answers above are true as well.

TV detector vans are an Orwellian Myth as well. Even though they exist! TV Licensing know who doesn't have a license, and then they knock on your door. Most people particularly if the Inspector can see your TV! If they want to search your house for a hidden TV, they need "reasonable evidence"- which may be the existence of a TV antenna, or the results of a detector surevey. Oh- and they don't just have vans these days, but neat hand-held detectors too! Mike, York UK I go with the people that say the whole thing is address-based.

I've been corresponding very politely with the licensing body for some time. Their most recent letter told me that most people who claim not to have a television do in fact discover that they own one after all presumably in the haunted west wing and that an inspector would be calling to help me locate the television that I was not paying the license fee for.

Oddly enough, the inspector has so far not only failed to locate my non-existent TV, he hasn't even managed to locate my house. At any rate, he hasn't called. They work by detecting the emission from the line flyback circuitry of the TV picture tube itself - nothing to do with local oscillators or intermediate frequencies in the receiver, which are tiny signals that are heavily screened - and also vary according to the design of the TV.

The tube circuitry however, scans consistently at This signal is modulated with the picture signal so the detector van equipment can display what you're watching.

The poor radiation actually helps the van to pinpoint the source of the signal, since the antenna has to be very highly directional to be able to pick it up at all. Modern technology will make the detector van's job harder, if not impossible - already analogue TVs often have much higher scan rates to provide less flickery images, and with the advent of digital, there is no reliable scnning signal available for detection. A TV card in a computer system is undetectable also. Detector vans' days are numbered because technology is advancing.

Graham Cox, High Wycombe, Uk As many people have already pointed out, the licensing authority work on a system of supposing that there isn't anybody who doesn't possess a TV. This inevitably leads to a witch hunt, where people without licenses are sent monthly forms to declare the fact that they are TVless. Until recently we had a black and white TV and black and white licence and it was only after we sent a black and white photo of our black and white TV that the monthly harrassment stopped!

They are just for show. TVL have a database of addresses in the UK with or without a licence. It is just assumed that anyone without a TV licence is guilty, and so a campaign of harrassment begins by letters and visits to intimidate people into buying a licence. Never in court has evidence been used to prosecute people mainly single mothers based on 'detector' van evidence. Although TVL threaten that they might apply for a search warrant if you do not let them in to inspect your house, it is very difficult indeed for them to apply for a warrant.

They first need proof that you are receiving live broadcast. Never has 'dectector van' evidence been used to apply for a warrant. Search warrants are very rarely applied for today. The reason people get prosecuted is that they admit to having a TV and then sign a 'confession' form.

They assume a visiting TVL 'officer' has some sort of legal power when they visit. They have no more legal power than if any member of the public came round. Tell them to leave and they must immediately comply else be in breach of law.

I was in a flat without a TV without a licence , and the intimidating letters never stopped in spite of me sending them letters confirming I did not own or possess or use a TV set, over several months.

The "sophisticated" vans and detection tools failed to detect the absence of a TV in my place Dean Grant, Glasgow, Scotland If an address that previously had a licence shows up on their database as currently not having one, they assume that you are cheating them. They issue a couple of letters telling you a licence is needed and then they turn up one day out of the blue. Its hardly rocket science as most people own TVs the chances are good they will catch you out.

My mother was arrested one day for watching an unlicensed TV , but they certinly didn't need a detector van they looked through the window. I have never seen a detector van but they probably do exist. If you have no licence and no TV they will eventually visit your home. I went a number of years without a TV and they turned up every single year to check up.

I had a friend who was prosecuted 3 years on the trot for not having a licence but here again it was very easy for them to prove she was using a set. They can get a magistrate to issue them with a warrant to search a house they suspect is using a set without a licence.

If the property you live in has never had a TV set then you might get away with it but I would not bank on it. I suppose you should be able to shield your equipment from detection although it might be a lot more trouble than it is worth. Personally I think the licence fee is actually worth paying to keep the BBC independent of advertising but I am in a minority I suspect.

Ross Burger, Swindon Wiltshire My friend's dad used to work for the TV licensing people, and according to him the vans are empty. The BBC always seem to publish stories about the latest TV detecting technology, but no-one else seems to.

James, Maidenhead UK First of all, line flyback, line sync, sync seperators. These are a part of all CRT circuits be it T. All CRT devices and appliances are adequately shielded to prevent the emission of harmfull radiation, and in any case, the EHT and shielding earthed ,would prevent smaller signals from interfering with other equipment thus eliminating any signals that tranverse the air waves before they get a chance to.

No Aerial, no CRT etc. Gordon Brown will doubtless introduce a licence for having a computer - and it will be known as a 'Windows Tax' - what goes around comes around! Think about it, they claimed to have had this advanced technology in the s? Surely they'd just have cruised around anonymously? Anyway things have moved on and they can detect signals with handheld devices. They recieve audible signals and some work by picking up lines i.

I don't have a TV and was harassed by a man who visited and spent about ten minutes scanning and an hour hanging outside. Its bullying, and I refused to let him unless he was accompanied by a female. No one has the right to push there way into your home without a warrant regardless of what they say! Also, they need to see the TV with their eyes before they can nab you. By the way, how much does all this crap cost..?

More than a bloody licence. The vans worked by receiving stray intermediate frequency radiation from the TV with two directional antennas and could indeed pinpoint the location within the house and the channel being watched.

I had a technical specification on the vehicle and receiver equipment at the time. The operators of the van told me they would do only one detection run on a street because as soon as one offender got the knock on the front door they would phone the others and all of them would turn off their TVs.

Earlier detectors, before ITV started in , detected the 10,Hz line oscillator radiation from BBC only, line TVs that had no intermediate frequency oscillator. Some of those old TVs whistled so loudly at 10kHz and you could even hear that outside the house on the street! They might have tried using variations of it to find the similarly non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. Oh how we Brits fall so easily for the rubbish we're fobbed off with from government.

Nick Harper, London UK Why is it that people that dont know what they are talking about make mind boggling statements that are complete fantasy and quite incorrect. If you dont understand the law concerning search warrants and arrest, dont make idiotic statements claiming first hand knowledge and experience. John, Falkirk, Scotland Well, there is a detector van outside my home at the moment and has been there since 6.

It is unmarked too!!! Stacy, London, UK Whether or not they work is immaterial. Evidence cannot be heard in a court of law unless it is available to both the prosecution and the defence, and since TV Licensing and the BBC refuse to disclose the technology they use, its results cannot be admitted as evidence.

Joe, Lewes, England I have always wondered if TV detector vans worked or if they are scare tactics propagated to ensure compliance and raise revenue. I don't have the technical knowledge to evaluate or reason what signals may be given off by my TV but the register of license holders and notification by retailers of TV purchases is certainly correct. You cannot buy a TV without providing your name and address. Having read this page I had a look at a press release from the BBC regarding the latest generation of detection equipment, vans come complete with removable 'TV Licensing' signs, so you can't see them coming!

The Beeb claim that the latest detection systems are so secret that even the engineers who developed the systems worked in isolation from each other so as not to know how the systems work! This reminds me of a Monty Python sketch in which the British Army developed a joke during WW2 so funny that the enemy would die from laughing upon hearing it, a joke so funny it had to be translated into German by individuals in isolation, translating one word each, so that they were never exposed to the full horror of the jokes consequences.

Is the case of TV detector vans a case of life imitating art? All that rubish about vans detecting if you have a TV. Some of the arguments about how they might detect a TV is interesting but unlikely. The idea about pin pointing a TV like you see in the war movies is rubish. The germans pin pointed transmitters because it was the only one transmitting in that area. With TV reception the air space is flooded with signals. Tv licence officers come to your house unexpectedly walk pass your window and see it, or lie there way into your home and see the TV.

He was checking the reception in your area! Unless they actually see the TV they cannot do any thing. If they call at your house you do not even have to let them in. Blocks of flats are license officers worst nightmare for catching people.

If you get caught by a speed camera on the road they produce the photgraphic evidence in court to prove it. If you drink drive they produce a breath test and bood test in court to prove it. There has never been a case in court where the TV license officer has produce evidence from any mythical detection device to prove you had a TV.

The only way is for the license officer to photograph your property with some thing distinctive identifying your house and showing a TV on in your lounge.

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