20 households shun colour for black and white TV sets

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MORE than 20 households in Craigavon are still enjoying viewing a black and white TV.

Figures just released by TV Licensing reveal after nearly 46 years of colour transmissions, 22 black and white TV Licences are still in force in Craigavon.

Across the UK, more than 13,000 households still have a black and white TV in use.

And Craigavon is tenth in the Top 10 ‘black and white’ towns in Northern Ireland. The breakdown is as follows: 1.Belfast 143; 2. Newry 73; 3. Dungannon 72; 4. Enniskillen 58; 5. Armagh 50; 6. Derry 50; 7.Magherafelt 41; 8. Ballymena 37; 9. Cookstown 23; 10. Craigavon 22.

Despite the historic switch to digital television last year, and an increase in the sale of flat screen televisions, tablets, laptops and smart-phones over the Christmas period, some homes just cannot bear to part with their trusty black and white television sets.

The number of black and white licences issued each year has, understandably, steadily been declining. In 2000 there were 212,000 black and white TV Licences issued, but by 2003 that number had shrunk to 93,000 and in 2006 the number was less than 50,000. At the start of 2013, just 13,202 black and white licences were in force across the UK.

John Trenouth, a Television and Radio Technology Historian, said: “The continued use of black and white TV sets, despite the obstacles, is more likely to be driven by economics than by nostalgia. For low-income households the black and white licence fee is an attractive alternative to the full colour fee. There will always be a small number of users who prefer monochrome images, don’t want to throw away a working piece of technology or collect old TV sets. Maybe these will still be around in 10 years from now when the number of black and white licences will have fallen to a few hundred - about the same number of black and white sets that were in use on the opening night of BBC television 70 years ago.”

Some black and white TVs may require a colour licence if they can receive and record programmes in colour, for example when using a Personal Video Recorder (PVR) connected to a black and white TV.

The cost of a black and white TV Licence remains frozen at £49 until BBC Charter Review in 2016. A colour licence costs £145.50. A TV Licence can be bought online in minutes at tvlicensing.co.uk.

Viewing television without a licence risks prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.