TV is still a big pastime for countless families in Huddersfield.
But a new survey out today shows that 52 families in Huddersfield are still enjoying watching in black and white – or at least that is what they are licensed for.
Despite the proliferation of plasma, LCD and high-definition all-singing, all-dancing colour sets and the fact that a digital receiver is now needed – the hardy few still insist on monochrome.
But they are in a dwindling band. The number of black and white licences in Huddersfield has dropped from 55 to 52, while across the UK, the number of families watching on black and white TVs has dropped a further 12% in the past year.
There are now fewer than 12,000 sets now in use nationwide.
With advances in technology, the demand for black and white licences has been in steady decline for years.
At the turn of the millennium there were 212,000 black and white licences issued, but by 2003 that number had shrunk to 93,000. Just three years later, in 2006, the number was less than 50,000 and today just 11,550 black and white licences remain in force across the UK.
The cost of a black and white TV Licence remains frozen at £49 until BBC Charter Review in 2016. A colour licence costs £145.50.
A TV Licence is needed if you’re watching or recording programmes at the same time as they’re shown on TV.
Despite it being nearly 48 years since colour transmissions began, digital switchover and the recent Christmas seasonal surge of television, laptop, tablet and smartphone sales, it seems there are still some nostalgic UK homes firmly attached to their trusty black and white TV sets.
Paul Williams, spokesman for TV Licensing, said: “Today’s figures show, even in the digital age, more than 11,000 homes still watch their favourite programmes on black and white televisions.
“We may be on the brink of losing black and white sets to the history books, but older technology will always be replaced by exciting new ways of watching live.
“It’s important that no matter how you watch live TV, whether on a black and white set, or online, you’re correctly licensed to do so.”
Iain Logie Baird, associate curator at the National Media Museum, Bradford, and grandson of television inventor John Logie Baird, added: “Despite over 25 million people opting for a colour TV Licence in the UK, it may be some time before the black and white television disappears completely from our living rooms.
“The National Media Museum has hundreds of black and white television sets in its collection and there will always be a small group of people who prefer monochrome images, collect vintage sets or just don’t want to throw away a working piece of technology.”
Television and radio technology historian John Trenouth said: “The numbers of black and white TV sets in regular use has fallen dramatically over the last few years, hastened by the fact that it’s now almost impossible to replace them and by the need to buy a suitable set top box to continue to use them after digital switchover.”
Are you one of the few still watching in black and white? Contact the Examiner Newsdesk on 01484 437712.
Top 10 black and white towns in the North East:
1. Leeds – 165
2. Sheffield – 111
3. Bradford – 90
4. Newcastle Upon Tyne – 69
5. Huddersfield – 52
6. Hull – 48
7. York– 33
8. Sunderland – 29
9. Wakefield – 29
10. Doncaster – 28