How do people get caught without a tv license?

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SharkInTheWater
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Is there actually technology used to track license evaders? Some people say the technology used in these rumored vans doesn't exist. Also, what about watching television through the internet i.e computers, phones? Can they track your computer?
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Dez
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TVL don't tend to bother with the high-tech route, they just stick with issuing threatening letters to bully people into buying a license when they don't need one. I suggest you have a read of the TV licensing FAQ posted at the top of this forum.
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Hanvyj
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They just assume everyone has a TV. My dad had a flat when he was working away once, he didn't bother getting a license because he was only there during the week - they send letters regardless of what you actually have.

They had guys come round about 3 times I think - every time he would show them round and that he didn't have a TV, they would come back in a few months or so.
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Sternumator
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I have thought this to. Even if they do have those vans, which I doubt I would think they would have to catch you with a TV to fine you. If they sent someone round to your house and you didn't let them in I doubt there is much they can do.
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sugar-n-spice
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Virtually everyone who gets caught was reported by their neighbours or someone they had told. They have vans but they're for intimidation purposes rather than actually being able to detect who's watching broadcast television and they tell which houses don't have licenses by looking at the houses which don't come up on their database of people who have paid. If they come round don't let them in since they're not police officers. You're allowed to watch TV on the internet, say iPlayer or 4od, after it was broadcast without a license.
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lauraaaa.xo
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There is handheld machine computer things that exist, I've seen them using them in my street in the past and also around my halls when I first started Uni. That was before the digital switch over though. I think those machines only work for analogue tv though so are becoming redundant. The tv licensing company will send letters out regularly to random houses to try and catch people out.

As for as laptops and computers are concerned, you only need a license if you watch tv as it is being broadcast live. Watching things or I player or 4od the next day is fine. I don't think there is really a way they can prove that though tbh.

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Joinedup
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The vans used to exist, iirc they listened to the flyback pulses on the old crt screens which was quite a powerful source of radio frequency noise. Pretty obsolete these days when almost everyone has a flatscreen. As stated they run off sales of new tvs and just nagmailing people.
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mfaxford
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There are a few ways they could theoretically detect a TV, flyback sounds plausible for CRT TVs (I hadn't thought about that method), the other method I could think of is to look for an IF frequency (likely to be harder to detect but probably would work with digital TV as well).

For the most part nagmail and simpler techniques (can you hear / see signs of a TV being used) are what they're going to use. Retailers have to pass on addresses of anyone buying a TV to TVL so they'll know you have a TV (and it's a fairly safe assumption that most people will have a TV)
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justanotherposter
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I've heard rumors the 'fleet' of vans they have actually numbers about 6. The method someone mentioned above of tracking down people who they know have a TV is ineffective since many TVs aren't used for TV, they are used for video games, DVDs etc.
Strangely you can legally deny entry to an inspector on the grounds you don't believe him to be legit and you think he may be a thief or something, he would then have to get a warrant to search for a TV, which is probably a lot of work so they probably just wouldn't bother. Also I'd guess the devices wouldn't work in a block, since it would be hard to pinpoint which flat the signal is coming from, so the only real method they have is knocking on people's doors, hoping they get let in, and hoping the TV is in plain sight.
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Dez
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(Original post by justanotherposter)
Strangely you can legally deny entry to an inspector on the grounds you don't believe him to be legit and you think he may be a thief or something, he would then have to get a warrant to search for a TV, which is probably a lot of work so they probably just wouldn't bother.
You can deny access to the so-called inspectors because they're nothing more than private citizens, they have absolutely no right at all to force entry to your home any more than a double glazing salesman would.
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hippieglitter
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I knew loads of people in halls who got letters about tv licence when they didn't even have TV, my bf got one and he was always coming up to watch my tv, I don't think you need a licence if you are watching tv online cos he did that all through third year.
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justanotherposter
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(Original post by hippieglitter)
I knew loads of people in halls who got letters about tv licence when they didn't even have TV, my bf got one and he was always coming up to watch my tv, I don't think you need a licence if you are watching tv online cos he did that all through third year.
I've heard it depends if your computer is plugged in or not, if it's a laptop then it must be running on battery, not charging, at the time. Having said that it is hard for inspectors to prove whether the laptop was charging or not when you watched TV. Most students don't bother with a license, they just hope they don't get caught, the penalties for a first time offender are pretty lenient anyway (only slightly more than the cost of a license on average.)
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FrogInABog
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(Original post by hippieglitter)
I knew loads of people in halls who got letters about tv licence when they didn't even have TV, my bf got one and he was always coming up to watch my tv, I don't think you need a licence if you are watching tv online cos he did that all through third year.
The only person to spell "licence" properly! Have some rep
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Joinedup
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(Original post by mfaxford)
There are a few ways they could theoretically detect a TV, flyback sounds plausible for CRT TVs (I hadn't thought about that method), the other method I could think of is to look for an IF frequency (likely to be harder to detect but probably would work with digital TV as well).

For the most part nagmail and simpler techniques (can you hear / see signs of a TV being used) are what they're going to use. Retailers have to pass on addresses of anyone buying a TV to TVL so they'll know you have a TV (and it's a fairly safe assumption that most people will have a TV)
yeah tv's were less common in the heyday of the detector van. Many people rented cos the purchase price was months salary. Broken tellys were repaired by repairmen.
Now people are chucking out working tellys cos they've bought a bigger one.
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Cake Faced Kid.
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They assume everyone has a TV. When my parents first moved in together, they were constantly being sent threatening letters, which they ignored. Eventually, some sort of licence overlord paid them a visit, despite the fact they were both clearly blind he insisted on searching the flat, including in drawers and wardrobes. :rolleyes:
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mfaxford
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(Original post by hippieglitter)
... I don't think you need a licence if you are watching tv online cos he did that all through third year.
If it's live (or close to live) then you need a licence regardless of what it's watched on. There is an exception that says if the device it running on batteries and your parents have a valid TV license you're covered by that (I suspect the key part for that is the device is portable - so running on batteries but connected via Ethernet might be grey area)

You don't need to allow any tv licence inspector in unless they have a warrant (and probably accompanied by the police), Chances of that are pretty slim - they'd need some real evidence to get the warrant.
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marcusfox
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Having been around on TSR a while, I remember a great story where a TVL inspector called at a house where there was no licence registered, and instead of the occupant telling him to go away, invited the TVL guy in and showed him the TV he was watching. He then posted on TSR asking how to get out of it.

Although hilarious in hindsight, it should be held up as an example of what not to do.

http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...#post=36931422
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marcusfox
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(Original post by SharkInTheWater)
Is there actually technology used to track license evaders? Some people say the technology used in these rumored vans doesn't exist. Also, what about watching television through the internet i.e computers, phones? Can they track your computer?
There is no technology, and if it existed, it certainly would not work anymore as the analogue signals have been switched off and everywhere is now digital. In addition, everyone has flat screens, LEDs and plasmas - different technology altogether that cannot be detected, if at all, it would be no different to a laptop/PC monitor.

What they do is assume every house will have a TV, as most people watch TV, knock on the doors and peer through the windows of people who do not have a licence registered to the address and intimidate people by saying they suspect they have a TV.

Just like the example in my previous post.
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muttley mode
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My relative recently moved in to a new house and bought some TV equipment (a Freeview box and an aerial cable) from Argos and a few weeks later they received a letter from TV Licensing telling them that Argos have passed their details onto them (when they bought the Freeview box and cable at Argos, they had to give their address) and they've made a check on their records and it showed they haven't got a valid TV license.

The truth was, they actually do have a license and they had to call up to state their license number to the operator, and the operator apologised for mistakenly sending out the letter to them. And so when they told me about this, that was how I found out about one of the methods they use in tracking down who does and who doesn't have a TV License. When you buy TV equipment from Argos and I suspect other electrical stores that sells TV equipment, you are required to provide your address details to them so that they in turn pass your details onto the TV Licensing company and then they run a check on their database records to see whether you've got one or not.
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Iqbal007
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(Original post by Dez)
You can deny access to the so-called inspectors because they're nothing more than private citizens, they have absolutely no right at all to force entry to your home any more than a double glazing salesman would.
Very true and the fact they aren't police and even then they would need a warrant
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