These darned old computers

From: Dave Woodman - <>
Date: Mon Aug 26 15:52:00 2002

Tony Duell wrote:

> > > Now, a TV set used as a computer monitor doesn't need a license, but it
> > > can be difficult to convince the authorities that you don't use it to
> > > watch TV as well.
> >
> > Unfortunately, the licence now applies if you have equipment capable of
> > receiving TV transmissions, regardless of the purpose for which it used, so
> > you can try to convince the authorities all you like...
> HAs this now officially been changed? The authorities have tried to claim
> this for many years, but the license documents say otherwise ('a license
> for establishing a TV receiving station' or something like that).

I'm afraid that this was changed a few years ago, along with the requirement for
a vendor to report any TV sale to the licensing authority.

> > A monitor, as you used, always avoids the license, so you would still have
> > been safe, but even owning a VCR or TV and keeping it in the loft requires a
> > license now.
> Hmm.. A TV set is not a 'TV receiving station'. This _has_ been legally
> tested AFAIK. You need an aerial as well, you see :-). A TV set with no
> way of connecting it to an aerial certainly didn't use to need a license.

Not any more! Possession of equipment capable of receiving is the new legal
yardstick - too easy to hide a set-top aerial, and too easy to watch videos that
were recorded (perhaps by someone else) off air.

> The other thing is that the TV set has to be capable of receiving the
> current transmissions. This means that 405 line sets don't need a license
> (I have checked this!). Nor do non-working TVs. And non-working basically
> means (or used to mean) 'cannot be quickly used to receive TV
> programmes'. So if you just unplug the aerial, that doesn't count, But if
> you unplug internal connectors, or remove PCBs (even if you then keep
> then on top of the set), you don't need a license. Or at least you
> didn't a few years ago. Again I checked. I was given a non-working
> (mechanical fault) Philips N1500 VCR, and I wanted to keep it in a house
> with no TV license. The authorities told me that if I removed the channel
> selector board (I suggested this, it is the only plug-in board and it
> would disable the tuner if removed), then it was not a 'TV receiving
> station' and didn't need a license. The fact that the missing PCB was in
> the same room didn't matter.

You are right, but then these items are not 'capable of receiving' - they are
therefore exempt. Don't put that PCB back, though! :-)

> THis could all have changed now. In which case my junk box would need a
> TV license (it contains sufficient components to make a TV set) ;-)

Nah, no need to bother... not unless you render it capable.

> [For the benefit of any TV licensing types reading this, said junk box is
> currently at an address that has a valid TV license]
> -tony

Sorry to have caused confusion - I hope that that 'capable of receiving' helps.
The loophole is still a VCR with no tuner, connected to a video monitor (or via
SCART/composite to a TV with no tuner) used to watch recorded-off-air tapes. No
doubt it will be plugged soon enough by the powers-that-be.


Received on Mon Aug 26 2002 - 15:52:00 BST

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