LONDON – Half a century may have passed since the United Kingdom began broadcasting in color, but on Thursday the nation’s television licensing authority announced that a total of 7,161 households continued watching their programs on black and white TV sets.
The London area topped this nostalgic list with 1,768 monochrome TV sets, followed by the West Midlands region with 431 sets and the Greater Manchester area with 390 units.
Since the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) state channel began its color broadcasts in 1967, the UK experienced a drastic decrease of grayscale TV sets that in the year 2,000 totaled 212,000 sets, 93,000 in 2003 and 10,000 in 2015, according to data released by the UK licensing authority.
The British TV license is an annual charge collected from television owners primarily to fund the BBC’s television, radio, orchestras and online services.
The total income from license fees was £3.83 billion ($5.02 billion) in 2017-2018.
“You need to be covered by a TV license,” said Jason Hill, a spokesperson for TV Licensing, adding that it was a requirement for all watchers of live or time-delayed broadcasts as well as via internet streaming.
One noteworthy advantage a black and white license has over its color equivalent is the fee itself: £50.50 ($66.25) a year compared to a £150.50 ($197) annually for a color license.
Color TV broadcasting in the UK began in July 1967 when the BBC2 channel televised the Wimbledon tennis tournament, just three weeks after West Germany switched to its PAL color encoding system TV standard, patented by Telefunken in 1962.