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TV Detector Equipment

  1. Mar 14, 2013 #1
    Can these TV Licence inspectors actually tell if a person is watching TV in their home? They even claim to tell what channel a person is watching.

    If so, then how exactly do they do it?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 14, 2013 #2
    Most are actually just salesmen on commission. I had one turn up a few years ago who was rather disappointed to find we were correctly licenced. They used to recruit routinely around here too. Since broadband has become commonplace and there are TV signals and BB connections all over the place I've seen a lot less threats by TVL in the last 5 years.

    Moons ago however they were ordered in a court to provide the technical details of how this so called detection equipment worked and when it came to the crunch they simply didn't provide it. Like all public departments, when they're caught doing something naughty and ordered to do something different by a court, they just ignore it and carry on with their "we're untouchable" attitude.

    Anyway back to the topic... if the tech is real I would suspect it works in a similar (though finer tuned) way to the tech they use to determine viewer numbers for different TV channels. I would imagine that they're able to somehow determine the amount of signal that is absorbed maybe?
     
  4. Mar 14, 2013 #3

    AlephZero

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    They used to use real technology, basically picking up the signals radiated by your TV set from the aerial. That was in the days when they drove around in large vans with steerable aerials on the roof.

    pict0023.jpg

    I've no idea what current technology they use.
     
  5. Mar 15, 2013 #4

    Bobbywhy

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    As I remember, the kind of van pictured above by Alephzero above drove around neighborhoods. It had a receiver sensitive enough to receive the radiation emitted from your TV's local oscillator. Knowing this frequency, they could easily know what channel your TV was tuned to.

    Cheers, Bobbywhy
     
  6. Mar 15, 2013 #5

    sophiecentaur

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    Apparently, they (used to) have powers of access to your home without a warrant - like the customs and a few other bodies. (UK).
     
  7. Mar 15, 2013 #6
    Wow!
    I learn something new every day. I had no idea that some folk need to purchase a license to legally view plain old TV.

    Seems like this would be really hard to enforce theses days.
     
  8. Mar 15, 2013 #7

    AlephZero

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    That's how the BBC is funded. No advertising, and no control from any outside organizations incluiding government - at least, that's what the letter of the law says.

    http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/topics/detection-and-penalties-top5
    They have teeth, in that a conviction means a criminal record. According to http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...cheats-make-TENTH-magistrate-court-cases.html they bring about 3,000 prosecutions per week.
     
  9. Mar 15, 2013 #8

    sophiecentaur

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    It's a difficult one but the BBC, despite the obvious problems it has had over the years, has been responsible for keeping alive a lot of what's good in broadcasting. People like to complain about the licence cost but it is not any more than they are paying for the channels that are paid for by advertising. They also like to complain about taxes in general but also complain when the roads get holes in them and the hospitals aren't up to scratch.
     
  10. Mar 15, 2013 #9
    Probably less if I put a dollar value on my time.

    I rarely watch TV anymore, but when I do it seems like I am watching 10 minutes of commercial for every 10 minutes of programming.
     
  11. Mar 15, 2013 #10
    I find the TV boring these days. Sure we have many more channels but on freeview a lot of the stuff is just repeated every week. I can't count how many times I've seen Transformers this year. National treasure is another that keeps getting repeated. As emi_guy says a lot of it is full of adverts too although Film4 are pretty good as they only seem to have a break every half an hour.

    @sophie yes brits love moaning about things. Remember british rail? Everyone moaned about them so the government gave them the can. Now it's all private with new clean trains people are still slagging off the railways. Brits just aren't happy unless they have something to moan about.
     
  12. Mar 16, 2013 #11

    sophiecentaur

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    That is true but is it any worse than American Citizens who demand the right to have assault weapons in order to oppose a "tyrannical" government. Moaning never killed anyone :wink:
    PS This is getting too political for PF, I think. (But the trains are not all particularly clean and there are no rubbish bins on some stations "because of the terrorist threat", so they tell me).
     
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