Yes, there's a TV set on at number 5. It's in the front room. And they're watching Columbo.
Readers of a certain age will be able to remember that advert from the 1970s. A TV detector van draws slowly along a darkened back street, the operator in the back playing with knobs and annunciating with glee and precision that he'd detected some evader scum.
Jump forward forty years and little has changed with the way the TV licence is enforced. If you're lucky enough to see a TV detector van today then it will probably still have an operator sitting in the back, but this time he'll be twiddling a knob of a very different nature. Back then they were acting on the instructions of the Home Office, which was at least a proper government department with teeth. Now TV Licensing dish out their hollow threats and legal mistruths on the command of the BBC, which is toothless to say the least.
TJoKayaking at YouTube has kindly forwarded us the link to his most recent TV Licensing presentation. It starts with him viewing Columbo, available from all good retailers, on his unlicensed TV set. I love Columbo. It's great how you can work out who the killer is even if you miss the first half hour, purely on the basis that it's the person Columbo is harassing the most.
Anyhow, I digress, the reason he was watching Columbo on his unlicensed TV was because it was a DVD. He explained the steps he has to take to negate the risk that TV Licensing will mistake his DVD viewing for live viewing, which would require a licence. In his video he explains some other steps a legally licence free person could take to avoid unjustified TV Licensing intrusion into their life.
All very good advice.
It's quite sad that some of the legally licence free are so provoked by TV Licensing's continued threatening attention that they shroud their legal TV use in secrecy.
Remember that no-one, and I mean no-one, is under any legal obligation to communicate or co-operate with TV Licensing at all. If you do not use equipment to receive/record live broadcast TV programmes then you do not need a TV licence and that is a fact. If you're in that category then you do not need to explain or justify your circumstances to TV Licensing as it really is none of their business.
Legally licence free: Co-operate with TV Licensing at your peril (just ask Michael Shakespeare).