TV Licensing marks 35 years of home recording

Nearly a third of UK households (29 per cent) are still using the very first ground breaking “timeshifting” TV technology – the humble VCR, TV Licensing today reported. TV Licensing marks 35 years of home recording

Nearly a third of UK households (29 per cent) are still using the very first ground breaking “timeshifting” TV technology – the humble VCR, TV Licensing today reported.

They became widely available 35 years ago, and since then the Video Cassette Recorder (VCR) has been a constant in our lifelong love affair with home recording.

Early models came with the hefty price tag of £798 - around £3,800 in today’s money - but as prices came down, more of us could indulge our television interests by recording live TV to watch at our leisure. Ownership of VCRs peaked in 1998 when more than 84 per cent had one. Since then, the PVR (personal video recorder, such as a Sky+ box or Virgin TiVo) has been in the ascendant with 47 per cent of UK homes now being proud owners.

Stephen Farmer, spokesperson for TV Licensing said:

The ability to record television and watch programmes back at your own convenience, which is something we take for granted now, was a seismic event in TV history.
Until the arrival of the VCR, if you wanted to watch a programme you needed to be planted in front of your television at home, and if two of your favourite programmes clashed, you had to make a choice. After the introduction of the VCR our rigid television programme schedules changed forever.

A poll conducted by TV Licensing revealed nearly a third of UK households (29 per cent) say they still have a working machine as part of their home entertainment ‘ecosystem,’ despite the proliferation of Personal Video Recorders (PVRs) and the withdrawal from sale of VCRs by mainstream retail chains.

PVR owners are making the most of their ability to save programmes to watch at their leisure . They have amassed 455 million hours, or nearly 52,000 years, of television programmes stored on PVRs ready to be watched.

Whilst the technology and ease of recording has radically changed over the past 35 years, the concept of timeshifting has remained the same. Whether you’re recording a TV special on VHS tape for posterity, or have a number of sitcoms set up to series record on a PVR, you need a valid TV Licence to watch or record live TV, Stephen Farmer added.

A colour TV Licence currently costs £145.50 and is required by anyone watching or recording TV programmes as they are shown on TV, whether they are using a TV set, computer, or mobile device.

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