Thousands of UK Households Still Own Black-and-White TVs

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. advent / ˈædˌvɛnt / (n) – the appearance or introduction of something new

    Before the advent of telephones, people communicated through hand-written letters.

  2. annually / ˈænjəwəli / (adv) – every year; once a year

    The music festival happens annually in June.

  3. plunge / plʌnʤ / (v) – to suddenly decrease

    The number of teenagers watching TV plunged because online video streaming is becoming more popular.

  4. drastically / ˈdræstɪkli / (adv) – in a serious, sudden, or extreme manner

    Online viewership drastically increased in the digital age.

  5. sentimental / ˌsɛntəˈmɛntl̟ / (adj) – influenced by feelings or emotions rather than facts

    My mother still keeps our old black-and-white TV because of its sentimental value.


Read the text below.

Recent statistics revealed that thousands of people across the United Kingdom still watch TV programs in black and white.

According to an agency called TV Licensing in the United Kingdom, over 7,000 households still use monochrome TVs even after the advent of color TVs. An agency spokesperson even said that this figure is remarkable especially in the digital age when the majority of TVs are already connected to the Internet.

The primary reason cited for choosing black-and-white TVs over color TVs was the huge difference in the TV license cost.  In the United Kingdom, all TV owners must get a license to watch, record, or download TV programs. Color TV owners need to pay £150.50 to get a license, while monochrome TV owners only pay £50.50 annually.

The license fee helps fund the programs and services of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), a public broadcasting company. A portion is also allocated for broadband services and local TV channels.

Even though there are people who still watch in black and white, their number has been steadily dropping. From more than 200,000 UK residents in 2000, the figure plunged below 10,000 in 2015. Paul Coleman, an associate curator from the National Science and Media Museum, predicted that the number of monochrome TV owners would drastically drop below 1,000 within the next 10 years.

However, Iain Logie Baird /beɚd/, grandson of TV inventor John Logie Baird, believes that people will still hold on to their black-and-white TVs for sentimental reasons, treasuring the old items as reminders of the past.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Aside from the reasons mentioned in the article (e.g. lower cost of license fees, sentimental reasons), why else do you think some people hold on to their black-and-white TV sets?
• In your country, what are some very old items that people still hold on to? Discuss why they still keep those things.

Discussion B

• With the Internet becoming popular nowadays, do you think many people still watch TV in your country? Why or why not?
• In what ways do you think people’s TV watching habits will change in the next five years? Discuss.