This Country is Going Digital (Postal?)

So, it’s happening. The great digital switchover from analogue TV to digital is being rolled out across the country as from now. It means anybody left with the old style five channels received via a roof aerial will be looking at a blank screen soon… unless that is, they take up the BBC offer (advert) that dropped through my letterbox this morning.

For the “standard option” which involves plonking a set-top box on your TV they will charge you £40. Other options range from £56 for a digi box and satellite dish (your only option if you have an old type aerial) to £874 for a TV and freesat LCD screen.

Once again the Beeb has found a way to advertise itself, reach a whole new customer base for its left-wing (Government sponsored) propaganda and sell mounds of equipment into the bargain.

It’s not enough that the BBC are milking £145.50 a year out of everyone in the country (those who own a colour TV, but how many do not?) for a license to own a TV in the first place. And it doesn’t stop there. Each room in a care home or similar establishment is charged £7.50 a year in the “concessionary” scheme, so if you have a Care Home with 25 rooms that’s £187.50 a year you have to find just to pay the BBC for being there.

More – if you are unfortunate enough to be running a hotel or company or boarding houses (etc) each with a TV, you will be charged a license for each one of them. So ten different locations = £1,455 a year to be found for the immense privilege of watching infantile comedy, gross reality shows, and politically-correct garbage.

Oh, but at least there are no adverts you cry! Yup, no adverts – well that is, only adverts for yet more BBC entertainment, and their website, and their services and — you get the picture….

But at the end of this month you may NOT “get the picture” at all, when it all goes digital. If you happen to be poor or elderly or disadvantaged and your only relaxation was a few hours watching the box, you can forget it. Find the money for a new TV or at least a set-top box or you’ll get nothing for your money from now on.

You’d think the billions of license money the BBC rake in (not to speak of their commercial activities) would provide enough for a free set-top box for those who don’t own a digital-ready TV. But no.

And reading their leaflet I grew ever more incensed at the level of information they have already gleaned on each and every person they contacted. It boldly states that they have already contacted “a number of public bodies including local authorities, Veterans Agency, and the DWP” to see if you are on benefits or disabled and they have contacted the TV Licensing Agency to see if you have a license.

If you reply to their form (which they urge you to do even if you don’t want them to call you) you will have to give even more personal information like your phone number, disabilities – including “depression” – whether you own your property and what type of property it is.

Am I the only one a tad upset about this?

One thought on “This Country is Going Digital (Postal?)

  1. Tricia, this piece comes across as an irrational rant – I think most of your comments are factually incorrect.

    Digital TV (aka Freeview) is nothing new – it’s has been around since 2002 and most people are already watching it. The switchover programme (actually the switching off of the analogue signal) began in 2008 and is about half-way through as of March 2011. So in many parts of the country you can only watch digital TV.

    Most people have relatively new TVs that can receive digital signals so there’s nothing to do. Given the low price and small size of LCD screens, there’s little point in keeping a big old TV. But if your TV doesn’t have a digital tuner, you can buy a set-top box from a supermarket for £15 or so (you don’t need to pay £40, but I think that includes someone coming round to install it) .

    You don’t necessarily need a new aerial – most existing ones are fine – I’ve been watching Freeview since it started with a 25 year-old aerial. But if your aerial is no good, you can just get a new one – you don’t need to go down the satellite route.

    I do think the license fee is too high, but I’d rather be paying the BBC than Rupert Murdock.

    And despite what you say, there is assistance available for the elderly and disabled to assist them with any upgrades necessary. Perhaps that’s why they’re asking for information – and stuff like property type and ownership are relevant – if you don’t own your property, they’ll probably need the landlord’s permission to put a new aerial up if one is needed; likewise if you like in a block of flats you may have a shared aerial, etc.

    But, hey, if you don’t like it, don’t have a TV! People coped perfectly well before it was invented (less than 100 years ago), and I do think it’s really strange that it’s now seen as essential.


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