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Television and why I've got rid of it.

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  • danskmacabre
    Defender of the Runestaff
    • Sep 2006
    • 377

    Television and why I've got rid of it.

    first of all I'll explain the situation.
    We currently have a TV, with Sky television (Satellite TV)
    This means we have lots and lots of stations to view.

    Lately, I've realised I spend ages channel surfing, just finding something worth watching and usually settling on something "good enough" to watch.

    Now we (being myself, my wife and 2 kids, one 6 years old, the other 4 years old) don't really watch much TV, the kids maybe max 1 hour a day, and a bit more on weekends.

    However, I've been introducing them to the computer and internet lately (the Pc is in the lounge room, so they are always supervised) at home now where there's lots of interactive and educational, fun websites for them to play on.
    not to mention the lots of board games we have, and consoles and play equipment we have out the back yard.

    For me, I spend less and less time watching tv, I have watched maybe 30 minutes over the last few days.

    So, today I realised thw Tv is just a waste of space, meaning television station broadcasts, more and more tv seems like garbage and more and more, the Pc gives me all the multimedia I need (and TBH I don't use it for watching programmes and stuff like that much anyway.)
    All the news online is better than Tv news, there's a lot more choices of different sources for news.
    Entertainment, well, there's gaming, lots of great websites for all of us.
    Also, I can free up lots of time to do things like learning the guitar (I have a guitar and tuition book waiting to be used in the corner of the room) and all sorts of other stuff.

    I suspect part of it is there's so much reality Tv on these days, which I am sick to death of (I don't actually watch it, but it's advertised all the time).

    Anyway, I cancelled my Tv license (yeah you need to pay a monthly TV license in the UK), which is about £11 a month and my satellite subscription, which is about £15.

    We can still keep the TV, as long as we don't receive TV channels, so we can watch DVDs when like and play on games consoles and stuff when the weather is bad outside or whatever.

    When I called the tv licensing company, they were horrified I was going to stop paying the license, not a lot of people opt out of TV.
    I had a similar reaction from the satellite company as well..

    Anyway, just wanted to get that off my chest.
    Last edited by danskmacabre; 01-30-2007, 06:01 AM.
  • David Mosley
    Eternal Administrator
    • Jul 2004
    • 11823

    #2
    Originally posted by danskmacabre
    When I called the tv licensing company, they were horrified I was going to stop paying the license, not a lot of people opt out of TV.
    I had a similar reaction from the satellite company as well..
    I can quite sympathise with that reaction. I 'downsized' our Sky subscription last year from 6 packages to the two which we most most of, and the CSR at Sky kept going on about whether I was sure, etc. etc. I was like "Yes, I'm sure, I wouldn't have rung you otherwise". Probably like yourself I don't see the point in paying extra for something you're not using.

    That said, I wouldn't give up TV at the moment. Basically, even with all the other distractions in life, there's still a lot I want to watch - Doctor Who, Torchwood, Waking the Dead, CSI, etc. Of course, what I think more people are doing, particularly with series like LOST, say, is waiting for the DVD set to come out and watch it without ad breaks.

    Even though you've cancelled your Sky subscription, there's nothing to prevent you retaining the set-top box to pick up the Free-to-Air channels like BBC3, BBC4, CBBC, Cbeebies, etc. (Except you've cancelled your TV licence as well. )

    What do your children think of this change, btw?

    We can still keep the TV, as long as we don't receive TV channels, so we can watch DVDs when like
    I always understood that if you have a device that is capable of receiving a TV signal (i.e. a tv tuner card in a PC) then you were liable to pay the Licence Fee, but I see from the TV Licence FAQ that "..if [you] only use a TV to watch videos/DVDs/as a monitor for [a] games console...You need to notify us in writing that this is the case and one our Enforcement Officers may need to visit you to confirm that you do not need a licence."

    That said, you may want to monitor developments on TV streaming on the PC. During the last World Cup in 2006 the BBC offered live streaming of all matches it broadcast, and it was said that people watching on their PCs (ie at work) needed a licence to do so legally.

    Good luck to you all though. It's a massive step against the mainstream cultural mindset you're taking.
    _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
    _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
    _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
    _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

    Comment

    • johneffay
      Born Again Nihilist
      • Sep 2005
      • 3394

      #3
      Originally posted by danskmacabre
      We can still keep the TV, as long as we don't receive TV channels,
      You can't actually. The law with regard to TV licences is that as long as you have receiving equipment of any kind, you have to have a licence. You can get rid of your aerial, all the cabling and sockets and so long as you still have a television set, you are liable for the licence fee. The same goes for TV cards in your PC and, even more bizarrely, video or DVD recorders even if you have no screen of any kind to attach them to.

      I know this because I have more than one set of friends who have gone down the same route as you. They had to get rid of all the above equipment and replace it with monitors and DVD players which are unable to receive a signal. Also, if their experiences are anything to go by, you will find yourselves bombarded by letters in black bordered envelopes from the TV licencing people threatening you with all sorts of horrors should you not get a licence. This despite the fact that you have already informed them that you have no TV; they just don't like to believe it.

      They'll come knocking on your door as well. One set of friends actually had a search warrant served on them...

      I'm not trying to put you off and would, in fact, get rid of my own television if not for my family. However forwarned is forearmed

      EDIT - Or maybe, given the FAQ that David quotes above, they have changed the law recently. The business with the black bordered envelopes, etc. is definitely still going though. They turn up recorded delivery at my friends' on a regular basis.
      Last edited by johneffay; 01-30-2007, 05:10 AM.

      Comment

      • DeeCrowSeer
        Eternal Champion
        • Feb 2004
        • 2214

        #4
        Despite several attempts to become a TV script writer in the past (or perhaps because of the rejection?) I have also lost interest in the device recently... ever since Lost went to Sky where I can't watch it, in fact! So, I have no option but to wait for the DVDs. I'm a big comedy fan, but there's precious little of that on these days, and most of it is repetitive and catchphrase driven, or too bleak and misanthropic for my tastes. There have been a few good sitcoms recently, but sketch comedy has gone right down the drain. We used to be good at that in this country.

        As you say, reality TV has taken over, and it's taken a lot of work away from actors and writers, which is a shame... but recently there's been a rise in straight-to-DVD releases, which is rather interesting. And, of course, naughty people downloading TV shows illegally off the internet. I think it's fair to say that TV is going to be absorbed by the computers. Crikey! Not sure what this means for the various productions companies and our own dear BBC, but thankfully I'm not employed by them so I don't care. Oh, they'll rue the day they turned me down... by jingo...
        "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

        Comment

        • danskmacabre
          Defender of the Runestaff
          • Sep 2006
          • 377

          #5
          Regarding the point made about having tv equipment in the house meaning you HAVE to pay the license.

          Well, that's what I thought until I rang the TV licensing company today.
          I SPECIFICALLY asked them if I could keep my TV to play games on consoles and watch DVDs.
          They said it is fine, as long as you don't receive Tv channels, meaning no cable plugged intot eh Tv for satellite or freeview or whatever.

          I know most people believe otherwise, but I was very careful to ask this specific point and they were sure it is OK, and since it was the Tv licensing company I spoke to, they must be right.

          Comment

          • danskmacabre
            Defender of the Runestaff
            • Sep 2006
            • 377

            #6
            Originally posted by David Mosley
            I can quite sympathise with that reaction. I 'downsized' our Sky subscription last year from 6 packages to the two which we most most of, and the CSR at Sky kept going on about whether I was sure, etc. etc. I was like "Yes, I'm sure, I wouldn't have rung you otherwise". Probably like yourself I don't see the point in paying extra for something you're not using.
            Hehe, yeah, they really tried all sorts of tactics to change my mind.

            That said, I wouldn't give up TV at the moment. Basically, even with all the other distractions in life, there's still a lot I want to watch - Doctor Who, Torchwood, Waking the Dead, CSI, etc. Of course, what I think more people are doing, particularly with series like LOST, say, is waiting for the DVD set to come out and watch it without ad breaks.
            That's pretty much what I will do, wait until something I really want to see comes out on DVD and then buy it.
            TBH, there's not much I want to see anyway.

            Even though you've cancelled your Sky subscription, there's nothing to prevent you retaining the set-top box to pick up the Free-to-Air channels like BBC3, BBC4, CBBC, Cbeebies, etc. (Except you've cancelled your TV licence as well. )
            I could do that, but I won't it's not just to save money and I really want to get on with other things, so the set top box get stored away as well.


            What do your children think of this change, btw?
            It will be a change for them , but not a huge change, we restricted their TV quite a bit anyway.
            There's still the PC for internet and games (supervised) and (shock horror) the family getting together to do stuff like board games, going outside, consoles etc etc.
            But agreed, it'll be hard for them at first, but I feel I'm doing them a favour.


            I always understood that if you have a device that is capable of receiving a TV signal (i.e. a tv tuner card in a PC) then you were liable to pay the Licence Fee, but I see from the TV Licence FAQ that "..if [you] only use a TV to watch videos/DVDs/as a monitor for [a] games console...You need to notify us in writing that this is the case and one our Enforcement Officers may need to visit you to confirm that you do not need a licence."
            That's pretty much it, I can arrange for a person from Tv licensing to come around and I sign a declaration with what you pointed out above.

            That said, you may want to monitor developments on TV streaming on the PC. During the last World Cup in 2006 the BBC offered live streaming of all matches it broadcast, and it was said that people watching on their PCs (ie at work) needed a licence to do so legally.
            I'm not interested in sports anyway.

            Good luck to you all though. It's a massive step against the mainstream cultural mindset you're taking.
            It is yeah, but I want to do other stuff really, and TV is such a waste of time.
            And there's plenty of other things my kids can do that is more productive and educational.

            Comment

            • johneffay
              Born Again Nihilist
              • Sep 2005
              • 3394

              #7
              Here is the relevant part of the Communications Act:
              http://www.opsi.gov.uk/ACTS/acts2003/30021--l.htm

              Which explicitly says that you cannot install receivers without a licence, i.e. you don't have to be using them as receivers to require one. However it then goes on to say that it is up to the BBC to enforce this as they will, so I guess that it must be the BBC's policy which has changed rather than the law.

              Comment

              • danskmacabre
                Defender of the Runestaff
                • Sep 2006
                • 377

                #8
                Originally posted by johneffay
                You can't actually. The law with regard to TV licences is that as long as you have receiving equipment of any kind, you have to have a licence. You can get rid of your aerial, all the cabling and sockets and so long as you still have a television set, you are liable for the licence fee. The same goes for TV cards in your PC and, even more bizarrely, video or DVD recorders even if you have no screen of any kind to attach them to.

                This point has been cleared up in an earlier post.


                I know this because I have more than one set of friends who have gone down the same route as you. They had to get rid of all the above equipment and replace it with monitors and DVD players which are unable to receive a signal. Also, if their experiences are anything to go by, you will find yourselves bombarded by letters in black bordered envelopes from the TV licencing people threatening you with all sorts of horrors should you not get a licence. This despite the fact that you have already informed them that you have no TV; they just don't like to believe it.
                I asked them about this as well, as I've heard horror stories along a similar line.
                However, as long as I sign the form declaration, it should be ok.

                They'll come knocking on your door as well. One set of friends actually had a search warrant served on them...
                I don't really mind, they can use their Tv detector vans and turn up at my doorstep if they like, but they will be disappointed ,as we will do this by the book.
                I'm told from other people who have done the same that they give up after a while.

                I'm not trying to put you off and would, in fact, get rid of my own television if not for my family. However forwarned is forearmed
                Sure nps, always good to be prepared.

                EDIT - Or maybe, given the FAQ that David quotes above, they have changed the law recently. The business with the black bordered envelopes, etc. is definitely still going though. They turn up recorded delivery at my friends' on a regular basis.
                Fine with me, if it gets out of hand, I'll get in touch with my MP, I've done that more than once in the past.
                One complaint I made about (and pursued for a long time) the poor train service made it from my MP to the head of Arriva trains, who personally sent me a letter of apology (funnily enough many other people complained as well, and the service improved as well).

                Comment

                • danskmacabre
                  Defender of the Runestaff
                  • Sep 2006
                  • 377

                  #9
                  Originally posted by johneffay
                  Here is the relevant part of the Communications Act:
                  http://www.opsi.gov.uk/ACTS/acts2003/30021--l.htm

                  Which explicitly says that you cannot install receivers without a licence, i.e. you don't have to be using them as receivers to require one. However it then goes on to say that it is up to the BBC to enforce this as they will, so I guess that it must be the BBC's policy which has changed rather than the law.
                  I don't know what to say to that, perhaps that is out of date or whatever.
                  What I DO know is I spoke to the Tv licensing company TODAY and they said I can have a TV with no Aerial or cable or satellite.
                  I will probably get that in writing as well just to be sure.

                  Comment

                  • johneffay
                    Born Again Nihilist
                    • Sep 2005
                    • 3394

                    #10
                    Originally posted by danskmacabre
                    I don't know what to say to that, perhaps that is out of date or whatever.
                    What I DO know is I spoke to the Tv licensing company TODAY and they said I can have a TV with no Aerial or cable or satellite.
                    I will probably get that in writing as well just to be sure.
                    No, it's definitely right so you should be fine. The licencing company is part of the BBC and the Act basically says that it's up them as to how they interpret it. If they say you don't need one, you don't need one.

                    Comment

                    • zilch
                      Hisashiburi
                      • Aug 2006
                      • 649

                      #11
                      Anyone recall the scene in Crocodile Dundee where he says something like "I've seen television before" they turn on the TV and he says "Yeah, that's what I saw" and turns away.

                      Japanese terrestrial TV does not interest me, the wife rarely watches it either. Satellite and cable seem to offer infinite minor variations on the same shows, for many expats this is a necessity, not me.

                      I find that the best stuff wings it's way to my computer in some form or another, I've recently enjoyed some history programs taking a fresh look at barbarians which mysteriously appeared on my desktop in a bit of a torrent.

                      I think TV may surprise those of you that are predicting it will go the same way as radio, digital broadcasting will increase the number of channels, decrease production standards and blur the line between TV & the internet, so TV may begin to resemble Youtube, or vice versa.

                      I think the real challenge for us all is to tear ourselves away from the screen and grow some vegetables rather than turn into them.
                      http://final-frame-final.blogspot.com/

                      Comment

                      • danskmacabre
                        Defender of the Runestaff
                        • Sep 2006
                        • 377

                        #12
                        Originally posted by zilch
                        I think the real challenge for us all is to tear ourselves away from the screen and grow some vegetables rather than turn into them.
                        Well said and in some ways, this is what I'm getting at.
                        There's a long list of things I want to learn and do that I want to get on with, rather than wasting my time with TV.

                        Comment

                        • L'Etranger
                          Veteran Moorcockista
                          • Dec 2003
                          • 4772

                          #13
                          Hmm, I mean I work for Television and I insist that quality television still exists (in Europe at least), but it is endangered. Also most European motion pictures and feature-length documentaries usually are co-financed by one or more of the better entities and actually depend on this money.
                          I do, however, understand the impulse very well.
                          As owning a TV is concerned I suggest getting yourself a monitor (maybe on Ebay?) instead of a TV set. Editing suites that go broke and many ambitioned amateurs have such things. A monitor alone cannot receive broadcasts. Your run of the mill controller might not know the difference, but it is a fact.
                          Google ergo sum

                          Comment

                          • danskmacabre
                            Defender of the Runestaff
                            • Sep 2006
                            • 377

                            #14
                            Originally posted by zilch
                            Anyone recall the scene in Crocodile Dundee where he says something like "I've seen television before" they turn on the TV and he says "Yeah, that's what I saw" and turns away.
                            Yeah, I remember that scene, it was "The Lucille ball show" that he saw , a program from wayback in the 50s or 60s.

                            I find that the best stuff wings it's way to my computer in some form or another, I've recently enjoyed some history programs taking a fresh look at barbarians which mysteriously appeared on my desktop in a bit of a torrent.
                            That is an option, but if I really want to watch something, I'd rathter just buy a DVD, instead of messing about downloading stuff and whatever.
                            DVDs are dirt cheap anyway these days.

                            I think TV may surprise those of you that are predicting it will go the same way as radio, digital broadcasting will increase the number of channels, decrease production standards and blur the line between TV & the internet, so TV may begin to resemble Youtube, or vice versa.
                            It probably will become much of a muchness between the two, where everything will be "on demand" rather than waiting for scheduled programs.
                            I wouldn't mind that so much, if I could pick and choose what and when I watch programs.
                            That way I just just pay for what I use/view and come back or not as the case may be what I choose fit to.

                            Comment

                            • danskmacabre
                              Defender of the Runestaff
                              • Sep 2006
                              • 377

                              #15
                              Originally posted by L'Etranger
                              Hmm, I mean I work for Television and I insist that quality television still exists (in Europe at least), but it is endangered. Also most European motion pictures and feature-length documentaries usually are co-financed by one or more of the better entities and actually depend on this money.
                              I'm not saying that quality TV does not exist, it's just I can't be bothered sifting thorugh all the garbage to find it.
                              If something grabs my eye for whatever reason, I can just buy it online or in the shops.

                              I do, however, understand the impulse very well.
                              As owning a TV is concerned I suggest getting yourself a monitor (maybe on Ebay?) instead of a TV set. Editing suites that go broke and many ambitioned amateurs have such things. A monitor alone cannot receive broadcasts. Your run of the mill controller might not know the difference, but it is a fact.
                              I'm well within my rights to own a Tv set, as long as I don't watch television channels or have an type of receiver plugged in (or an areial connected to the tv), so this won't be necessary.

                              However, when the Tv eventually does break down, I'm going to buy an LCD projector and watch my favourite DVDs on that, so I can watch things I like on the BIG screen. :)

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