This may seem absurd to those of you that are not familiar with it, but in Britain you must have a license to own a tv set. Shocked? You should be! You also can't just get around this problem by getting a tv enabled pc, you need a license for them too!

Now a TV license may cover every TV and TV-enabled PC in your house but these babies aren't cheap. A standard license costs no less than £104 a year and a black and white TV license (yes, some people still have them) costs £34.50 a year. However, if you are blind you get them for half price, which is fair enough considering you are only getting half the output. Also form the 1st of November 2000 anyone over the age of 75 will receive a TV license for free.

Note: Over-75s still need to have a license, they just receive it courtesy of the British government.

The British licensing authority have over 22 million people registered as TV owners. Now that's a lot of money! So where is it all going? Officially it goes into funding BBC TV and radio (in the olden days you need a radio license but that proved too hard to enforce) but personally, considering the quality of the BBC these days, I don’t think that can be true.

It would seem that actually all your licensing money is going to the authority itself and they are using it to keep up their big, scary image. Everyday there are adverts on posters and on TV about how they're going to get you and what they're going to do when they find you've been running a TV set without a license. The fine is pretty steep actually, £1,000! and apparently they catch 1,000 people a day, with their patrol teams, which apparently can detect a working TV set from up to 30m. Think about it though, £1,000 x 1000 people x 365 days a year is... well you do the math, but it's a lot of money.

All I can say is this a pretty rich scary organisation you're messing with and they don't accept any phony baloney excuses, like the ones I found on their website:

  • My cat was sick on the TV and now it doesn't work
  • I thought my wife had sorted that out
  • I don't live here

So beware, their spies are everywhere and they wont take no for an answer, so you better make sure you have your TV license.