7,000 UK house­holds still watch­ing TV in black and white

The Guardian Australia - - Science / Technology - Press As­so­ci­a­tion

More than 7,000 house­holds in the UK are still watch­ing tele­vi­sion in black and white, more than 50 years after the ad­vent of colour pro­gram­ming.

Lon­don has the largest num­ber of black and white sets at 1,768, fol­lowed by the West Mid­lands with 431 and Greater Manch­ester with 390.

In to­tal, 7,161 UK house­holds have not switched to colour trans­mis­sions, which started in 1967.

The TV Li­cens­ing spokesman, Ja­son Hill, said: “Over half of the UK’s TVs now con­nect to the in­ter­net so it’s in­ter­est­ing that more than 7,000 house­holds still choose to watch their favourite shows on a black and white telly.

“Whether you watch Eas­tEn­ders, Strictly or Ques­tion Time in black and white on a 50-year-old TV set or in colour on a tablet, you need to be cov­ered by a TV li­cence to watch or record pro­grammes as they are broad­cast.

“You also need to be cov­ered by a TV li­cence to down­load or watch BBC pro­grammes on iPlayer, on any de­vice.”

Reg­u­lar colour broad­casts be­gan on BBC Two in July 1967 with the Wim­ble­don ten­nis tour­na­ment. The num­ber of black and white li­cences is­sued each year has since been in steady de­cline since. In 2000, there were 212,000 black and white TV li­cences but by 2003 that num­ber had shrunk to 93,000. By 2015, the num­ber had dipped below 10,000.

The tele­vi­sion and ra­dio tech­nol­ogy his­to­rian Jef­frey Borin­sky said: “There are hun­dreds of col­lec­tors like my­self who have many black and white TVs. Who wants all this new-fan­gled 4K Ul­tra HD, satel­lite dishes or a screen that’s big­ger than your room when you can have glo­ri­ous black and white TV?

“Thirty years ago, you could still buy black and white TVs, mainly small porta­bles, for as lit­tle as £50 and it’s in­ter­est­ing to know that some of peo­ple still have them.”

Lon­don has the largest num­ber of black and white sets at 1,768, fol­lowed by the West Mid­lands with 431. Pho­to­graph: neamov/Getty Images/iStockphoto

In 1967, Bil­lie-Jean King was the first womanto lift the Wim­ble­don ti­tle in colour on Bri­tish screens (seen here in black and white).Pho­to­graph: Pop­per­foto

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