10,000 people in the UK still watch TV in black and white

New figures released by TV Licencing show that Londoner’s account for the majority of black and white licensees

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The Independent Online

It has been revealed that nearly 10,000 people in the UK still watch TV on black and white sets. The latest figures show a great drop since 2006, when 50,000 people had licences for black and white TVs.

New figures released by TV Licencing show that Londoner’s account for the majority of black and white licensees, with 2,222 viewers still possessing black and white television set licences.  Birmingham and Manchester trail with 429 and 313 licence holders respectively.

It remains to be seen, however, if these people regularly shun colour TV in favour of monochrome, or if it is simply a way of getting around paying for the full licence. A black and white licence costs £49 annually compared with £145.50 for a colour licence.

However, Jeffrey Borinsky, a television and radio technology historian, is not surprised at the figures.  He said:  "There are hundreds of collectors like myself who have many black and white TVs; some of them are purists who won't have this new-fangled colour TV in the house.  We like the glow of valves, rich sound and wonderful warm smell of these old sets. It's simply pure nostalgia and the joy of seeing old equipment still working in the internet age.

He added: "Older people who grew up with black and white still love it and don't see why they should throw away their perfectly good set to get colour they don't even want.”

However, he believes that this group will not exist for much longer, due to the youngest black and white sets being over 20 years old, and the dramatic decline in the TV repair trade. 

Jason Hill, spokesman for TV Licensing, said: "It's astounding that more than 9,000 households still watch on a black and white telly, especially now that over half of homes access TV content over the internet, on smart TVs.

"Whether you have the latest 4K TV or a black and white set from the 1970s, however, if you are watching or recording live television, then you do need a TV licence."

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