FIGURES released today by TV Licensing reveal black and white TV licences have dropped to 26 in Swindon. Across the UK, the number of families watching on black and white TVs has dropped a further 12 per cent in the past year, with fewer than 12,000 sets now in use nation-wide.
With advances in technology, the demand for black and white licences has been in steady decline for years. At the turn of the millennium there were 212,000 black and white licences issued, but by 2003 that number had shrunk to 93,000. Just three years later, in 2006, the number was less than 50,000 and today just 11,550 black and white licences remain in force across the UK.
Despite it being nearly 48 years since colour transmissions began, digital switchover and the recent Christmas seasonal surge of television, laptop, tablet and smartphone sales, it seems there are still some nostalgic UK homes firmly attached to their trusty black and white TV sets.
Richard Chapman, spokesperson for TV Licensing South West, said: “Today’s figures show, even in the digital age, more than 11,000 homes still watch their favourite programmes on black and white televisions. We may be on the brink of losing black and white sets to the history books, but older technology will always be replaced by exciting new ways of watching live. It’s important that no matter how you watch live TV, whether on a black and white set, or online, you’re correctly licensed to do so.”
Iain Logie Baird, Associate Curator at the National Media Museum, Bradford, and grandson of television inventor John Logie Baird, added: “Despite over 25 million people opting for a colour TV Licence in the UK, it may be some time before the black and white television disappears completely from our living rooms.
“The National Media Museum has hundreds of black and white television sets in its collection and there will always be a small group of people who prefer monochrome images, collect vintage sets or just don't want to throw away a working piece of technology.”
According to this year’s figures, Bournemouth leads the way in black and white penetration across the South West, followed closely by Gloucester and Plymouth.