Saturday, May 9, 2009

TV Licensing fees in London

how+to+pay+TV+licensing+fee+in+London

There are three things that are certain in life: Death, Taxes and TV Licensing fees. Well, at least when you are in London.

If memory serves me correct, I had to pay just over S$100 back home for an annual TV license. That of course include the radio network as well. Over here in London, the TV licensing fee comes up to just over £100. That was in 2007.

I still remember the day when I first receive the TV licensing bill in the summer of 2007. For a moment, I toyed with the idea of actually not paying it, for that was what the previous tenant has done, and the tenant before her, and the tenant before him. How do I know? There were several ironically labelled 'final warning' letters doused in red print stuffed in the mailbox.

As a law abiding individual, I dutifully took out my debit card, went online (that's after I got my broadband fixed) and paid so that BBC can continue producing Eastenders and Jonathan Ross show.

Truth be told, the reason why I paid up is because there were regular unmarked vans (save for the huge antennas, which NASA would be proud of, sticking out from their top) with menacing men sporting Ray-Ban eyeshades going around the area. I heard that they are out with those huge antennas detecting radiowaves emitting from our television and radios. In short, they are out to get people like the previous tenant occupying my place, the tenant before her and the tenant before him.

While we were blissfully watching the likes of Top Gear, our televisions are giving us away. Sneaky mechanized ingrates. Then again, I don't mind lining the pockets of Jonathan Ross for he's a decent fella. I'm sure a sizable proportion of my 100 quid goes into his £6 million annual salary.

This morning I got another TV license bill. To my shock and horror, it's no longer 'just over a hundred quid', it has risen to £142.50! Well, I figured out if BBC was to have its advertising revenue reduced due to the economic downturn, that's no good reason to let dear o' Jonathan suffer a paycut, is it? Out came my card and the deal was done before you can utter "and I thought there was a deflation?!".

Now I got to make up the shortfall from somewhere. Another good reason to discontinue my Lovefilm subscription and to forgo going to the cinemas. Well, with shows like The Lesbian Vampires Killers, I think I'll survive.

Photo by Codepo8

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12 comments:

Emm said...

I just pay £11 a month by direct debit. If I were still living alone I probably wouldn't bother as i watch most things on my laptop anyway.

::karinuslai:: said...

actually you should just give up the license and just watch everything on bbc iplayer or something :) alternative is to quit the cinema anyway since lovefilm probably gives you more bang for your buck...

Reeta said...

My boyfriend and I contemplated NOT paying for our TV license. As we use BBC iplayer and 4oD (Desperate Housewives fanatic here..) regularly. We don't have SKY so we download most of the series we enjoy watching like LOST etc. We have a crappy old laptop permanently hooked up to the Plasma TV in the lounge and enjoy TV that way!

ITV2 now has launched their own online player...the major channels will all follow suit and there will be no need to fork out £150 next yr I reckon.

LadyBanana said...

It's certainly not just London!!

My daughter lives in university halls in Leicester and each individual student has to have a licence!!! I think this is disgusting, it should be one licence per flat as it is in normal flats - it's really ripping off the students..

SheR. said...

Hey CK.
Don't tell anyone I taught you this.. pay for B&W Tv license instead of Coloured... cheaper and no troubles at all.. I have mates in London doing that for years. :P

Dutchie said...

When our analog TV went off the air almost 4yrs ago, we had to choose between a satelite dish or via de cable Co (combo with internet n telephones). The latter cost 49,00 euro p/mth. When there's a glitch, all 3-in-1 r out of service !

We opted for the former n there's only 1 provider - Canal Digital. The dish n decoder box cost 400 euro. After a year, a new decoder was needed bec the frequency was readjust to prevent hackers from watching it for free. We r now on our 3rd decoder (99 euro each) which after much complaints, the provider has promised will adjust automatically to new frequencies each year.

New technology doesnt always make life easier, does it ? It certainly has cost us a bundle. The annual subscription started out at 30,00 euro n they raised 10,00 euro every year. There r no recourse for the dissatisfied consumer * grrrr *

Would be great if we could watch them via the internet (hooked onto the TV screen). It's unknown here so far :-( Another aspect that bugs me r the repeats n repeats. I hv spent many an evening looking for alternatives to amuse myself !

Oh, in the past, license inspectors do go round checking out the non-payers. I hv seen black-n-white images of all those urban legends on how to beat the system. Encasing the TV with aluminium foil to prevent detection(waves)was one of them. Hilarious, such guilibility !

yoongz said...

We pay for our Tv License here in Switzerland too - i can't figure out how they would know if you don't pay? What did happen here is that once in a long while (we only got 1 visit) a guy comes along, visits your home & tells you to pay for your license - that's it. It's not too much i think about CHF150 or so.

C K said...

@Emm,
I had some issues with direct debit before so am a bit hesitant to pay through the method though there's some savings if I were to do so.

Just realised that if I were to watch it through iPlayer or through other online channels, I wouldn't have to pay so long that it's a 'delayed' telecast.


@karinuslai,
Ironically, I got Lovefilm when I was trying to catch Stargate Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica (yes, I'm the guns and bombs sort of person). After I'm finished with them, I switched to movies.

But there are some shows that we should watch on the big screen... for the effect that is. Actually, it's just that my tv at home is a piece of junk. :)


@Reeta
Was actually thinking of hooking up my laptop to my tv with a serial cable. How's that working for you?

Have not checked out the ITV online player... will do so soon. Cheers!


@Ladybanana,
Really? Don't they have a communal tv lounge? That's daylight robbery!


@SheR,
HAHA, I'm surprised that the black n white option still exist. I mean, is there anyone who's still having a black n white set nowadays?


@Dutchie,
Aluminium foil!! Haha, that's new.

If your broadband connection is reasonably fast, you could consider hooking up your laptop to the tv via a serial cable. Most newer tvs come with a serial port.

Well, entertainment doesn't come cheap it seems.


@yoongz,
That's around 90 pounds per year, quite reasonable I would say. Do the tv stations over there offer online program archive?

Emm said...

I understand your concerns - I have been in UK for almost 2 years and am still trying to get the South African Broadcasting Corporation to stop taking the TV license off my account.

Martin in Bulgaria said...

TV licences huh, what a con! I'm glad I've seen the back of them. You get a discoutn for being registered blind apparently in the UK!

C K said...

@Emm,
Serious?! Are you saying that SABC is still drawing on the direct debit till this day? I heard from BBC that when in doubt, the banks will favor the corporations over the individuals.

@Martin,
Haha, I can never understand that. I suppose the 'tv' license is supposed to be for radio programs only.

Emm said...

Yup. I had a hard time convincing the banks in SA that I lived here now too, so they wouldn't service me by phone or email like they had told me they would before I left. I finally sorted that out when I went over and provided them with proof of address and employment here. Anyway, now that I know I am staying here (or overseas at least) for good, I am going to cancel the direct debit but it will result in the SABC reporting me to the credit bureau. As I say, I can make that choice now that I know I am not going back.