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This blog is to highlight the unjust persecution of legitimate non-TV users at the hands of TV Licensing. These people do not require a licence and are entitled to live without the unnecessary stress and inconvenience caused by TV Licensing's correspondence and employees.

If you use equipment to receive live broadcast TV programmes, or to watch or download on-demand programmes via the BBC iPlayer, then the law requires you to have a licence and we encourage you to buy one.

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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

TV Licensing Fails On DAB Clarification

Regular readers will know that a few weeks ago I posed TV Licensing some simple questions, which I hoped they would give some simple answers to.

To their credit they did pretty well when they did eventually respond. One question they failed to provide a satisfactory answer to was this:
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The BBC has previously admitted (RFI20080234) that: "You do not need a TV licence if you only use a TV to listen to digital radio broadcasts and not to watch or record television programmes as they are being shown." Bearing in mind a TV is installed in exactly the same way whether to watch TV programmes (licensable) or listen to radio (non-licensable), does (TV Licensing) still stand by that response? Yes or no?"

TVL response: "A licence is not needed to receive radio broadcasts only."
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I considered that response unsatisfactory so asked them for a clarification:
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Thank you for your response.
Loathe as I am to push the issue, I do require a simple "Yes" or "No" answer to Question 9.
I am sure you appreciate the significance and importance of an unambiguous response to that question - if people can legally use their Freeview boxes to listen to DAB broadcasts, as the BBC has previously suggested in their response to RFI20080234, then they need to know that one way or the other.
I suggest you speak to the BBC TVLRMT for clarification.
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Their reply arrived today:
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TV LICENSING
BRISTOL
BS98 1TL

Tel  :  0300 790 6030
Fax :   0300 790 6026

19 October 2011
Reference 523312

Dear Mr Jones

Thank you for your email of 29 September.

I appreciate you have asked for a 'yes' or 'no' answer to your question concerning the TV Licensing requirement for a TV that is only used to listen to digital radio broadcasts. However, it isn't possible to convey the licensing requirement in this way.

Despite the fact that a TV is installed in the same way whether it is used to watch TV programmes or listen to radio, our original response stands i.e. you do not need a TV Licence if you only use a TV to listen to digital radio broadcasts and not to watch or record television programmes as they are being shown on the TV.

Thank you for contacting us.

Yours sincerely

Sue Barnett
Customer Relations
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So there you go - still no simple answer to this important question.

As TV Licensing has yet again failed to deliver I will fill in the blanks on their behalf: The BBC has said that no licence is needed to listen to DAB radio via Freeview. They have also said people are under no obligation to modify their Freeview boxes, used to listen to DAB, to render them incapable of receiving live broadcast TV signals, ergo anyone prosecuted on the basis of having Freeview installed has a good legal defence that they used the equipment solely to listen to DAB.

That last bit is the piece TV Licensing seem incapable of confirming, knowing the consequences of their admission to that effect.

Edit: We have now have a more recent post on this topic, where the BBC confirms that a TV licence IS NOT needed by anyone using a digital TV solely for the purposes of listening to radio audio.

4 comments:

33_hertz said...

I've got to hand it to you, you're doing a damn fine job!!
This is excellent stuff!!
Bravo sir!!
:-)))

Bob said...

From the TVL Website:-

"If you only use your digital box to produce sounds (i.e. you don't use it to display programmes), then you don't need a TV Licence."

So, if you have a TV with a blown tube/failed screen, you can use it to listen to the audio from TV Programmes.

admin said...

Yes Bob, that would be correct.

They have also said use of a "sound box", which produces TV audio only, does not require a licence.

Anonymous said...

Well done in pining the BBC down thus far, but the situation is still confusing. If I use freeview or sky box to listen to radio only, isn't an image on the TV screen still needed to display info about / tune into the radio channels? there is no way I can see of only displaying radio and not TV channels, so if a capita goon examined the equipment it would technically be set up for receiving TV signals. Would claiming only to use the radio channels be sufficient in court? Or would they have to prove you were watching the TV channels?