In an era that has seen the digital switchover, an abundance of giant flat-screen HD and 3D TV’s, plus a surge in internet viewing, it is surprising to learn that more than 13,000 UK households still use a black-and-white television set, according to the TV Licensing Authority.
London leads the way with monochrome TV licences with 2,715, followed by Birmingham and Manchester, it revealed.
The number of households with a black-and-white TV licence has steadily declined from 212,000 in 2000 to 13,202 at the start of 2013, but the figure is still astonishing in a digital-only era.
The main advantage of a monochrome licence is the cost, at £49 they are nearly £100 cheaper than a colour licence, but this is scant consolation if you are watching the snooker.
TV Licensing spokesman Stephen Farmer said: “It’s remarkable that with the digital switchover complete, 41% of UK households owning HDTVs and Britons leading the world in accessing TV content over the internet, more than 13,000 households still watch their favourite programmes on a black-and-white telly.”
Television and radio technology historian John Trenouth said that their continued use could be down to low income households looking at ways to save money.
But conceded that: “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”.