Forget OLED Or 4K, 13000 Brits Still Use Black & White TV Sets

Mike Wheatley

CES 2013 was all about ultra HD & OLED, and the digital switchover came and went, but apparently someone forgot to inform the 13,000 or so UK residents who still enjoy their favourite shows on a black-and-white (B&W) TV.

Black and white TV
Forget OLED or 4K, 13000 Brits still use black-and-white TV sets

According to the newest figures by the TV Licensing authority, some 13,202 British households still pay annual fees for monochrome television licence. To get a better idea of how many people that is, it’s roughly equivalent to number of staff that’ll be working at Apple’s new Spaceship campus, or the population of Clafont St. Peter in Buckinghamshire.

TV Licensing said that the majority of black-and-white TV owners reside in London, followed by Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Liverpool.

According to Stephen Farmer, spokesperson for the TV Licensing authority:

“It’s astonishing that, despite more than 41% of homes now possessing HDTVs, and with the UK among the world’s leaders when it comes to accessing content through a variety of mobile devices, more than 13,000 homes still prefer to use black-and-white TV.”

Following is the UK’s top ten list of monochrome cities:

  1. London – 2,715
  2. Birmingham – 574
  3. Manchester – 413
  4. Glasgow – 256
  5. Liverpool – 185
  6. Leeds – 183
  7. Bristol – 180
  8. Nottingham – 161
  9. Belfast – 143
  10. Sheffield – 118

No doubt some will deride those still using black-and-white TV as their main form of home entertainment, but at least those who do will be laughing on the way to the bank. B&W TV licences (£49 a year) are almost three times cheaper than colour TV licences (£145.50 a year).

But is it simply down to the cost of a TV licence that some viewers still prefer such archaic technology as monochrome?

Apparently not, according to TV and Radio Technology historian John Trenouth:

“While some low income households might be attracted to a black-and-white television by cheaper licence fees, there are some people who actually prefer monochrome images to colour. In addition, there will always be a few people around collecting old TV sets, while some stubborn types might not want to throw away a TV that still works perfectly well,” explained Trenouth.