The Magic of Television

Out of all the inventions of the last hundred years, the TV is only rivalled by Air travel and the internet. I mean real TV – the programming that we know and understand now and the importance of it in the modern family. One of the last funny things ever said on the popular Television show Friends was a quip by Joey in response to a person saying that they had no television; “What dos your furniture point at?” Such a fix of our living rooms the TV is the window to another world.

Or it would be if the channels were worth watching, the programmes worth investing time in. Indeed, in this day and age, the only things I watch on the telly are my news channel whilst eating my breakfast, the Simpsons and Hollyoaks 9both interminable for different reason) whilst eating my dinner, and Match of the Day at the weekend. I am addicted to Heroes, but as this is the first year that the BBC Two syndication of the show has followed the American showing ,it can barely be counted as I have many copies of it on my Hard Drive.

So why do I have to pay £139.50 a year for something that I get so little gain from? Well, there – you got me. Indeed, inspecting the intricacies of the law, it appears that I can indeed not pay it, having to give up my ability to receive Televisual programming through the set. Not just BBC services – which is where it starts to not make any sense what so ever.

Basically the license fee pays for BBC programming. But is also pays for the Radio services. So, whilst I don’t need a license to listen to the radio, I do have to pay for the TV and if I don’t watch listen to the Radio I am still paying for it. This is a little confusing. There did use to be a Radio license, but it was stopped a while ago… and also my fee pays for the internet sites – which, I do use and would rank at the top of the BBC mediums that I do use.

In a rather bizarre twist, according to text from the BBC,“If you are only watching on-demand services, after programmes have already been broadcast, you will not need a TV licence” which is the strat down some sort of slippery slope – as all the while the BBC are advertising this new iPlayer service and the money spent into auto converting the formats for the iPod, PC and Mac, it turns out if I really wanted to stop paying for the license fee I could indeed keep up to date with all my shows via the worth while medium of Channel 4 On Demand and BBC’s iPlayer. (I never watch anything on ITV and Channel 5).

So, what is the point in it? Seriously, surely we can now, with there only being 8 channels without “adverts” (paid for adverts, the BBC show adverts for their own shows as much as ITV have adverts for all manner of consumer goods) why do we persist in paying for this antiquated system?

I don’t know. But I do know that in this world of free, where music, movies, popular opinion and goods can be sought for little to nothing, the age of subscription services might be coming to an end. I hated paying BT for a telephone line that I never use, so why do I put up with paying the BBC for a license to own something I already have paid for?