You know when a digital revolution is afoot when your 76-year-old mother beats you to a new innovation – namely watching a show on iPlayer.

My Mrs has; I haven’t. Too much time slaved to a hot lap-top – ahh, I could watch on there…

Anyway, my mother, 76 if she’s a day, has watched Songs Of Praise or whatever on the PC in the corner of her Cringleford kitchen. My cousin talked her through it, apparently.

So, there’s something afoot here. As the audience figures would suggest. And as my mother has now found out, she can watch her favourite TV programmes when she wants, not when Auntie tells her to.

And now comes this…

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/apr/09/digitalmedia.bbc

Fascinating. Cos that took me straight back to this; the conversation me and Sao  Paulo were having the other day…

https://outwithabang.wordpress.com/2008/04/02/if-i-watch-bbc-news24-on-an-apple-iphone-do-i-need-a-tv-licence-discuss/

Cos clearly we now have another subject to discuss. If I watch BBC News24 off a Wii console do I need a TV licence?

Go to Sao Paulo’s response to the original response…

By law battery operated television receiving equipment is supposed to be exempt although the BBC TV Licence salespeople will say different!

And, indeed, the original debate on the Tomski blog…

http://www.tomski.com/2008/01/dont_own_a_tv_you_might_still.shtml#comments

Because, to my mind, accessing BBCNews24 via the nearest available Wii merely complicates matters still further; when is a screen just a screen? And when does that screen become a TV, when it has a Wii plugged in?

Does my eight-year-old boy, fresh from whooping my ass again at tennis, now need a TV licence becuase he’s got a piece of pluggable, electronic equipment that is capable of broadcasting a live, BBC service?

And if I were the BBC, the thought might just start occuring to me that iPlayer, for all its magic audience numbers, may be a very dark genie that they have just unleashed from the digital bottle.

Because the next generation of TV licence payers – currently sat playing on their Wii consoles and answering their iPhones in student bed-sits up and down the land – will probably never own a TV in the sense that us 40-somethings see one.

And with the bloody-mindedness that comes with youth, they will probably tell the man with the detector van exactly that – that I own a Wii, a lap-top and a mobile phone. And, no, I’m not paying a TV licence fee.

To borrow badly from The Smiths, that little thought would – if not, ought to – prompt panic on the streets of Wood Lane…

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It was the one question I forgot to ask; hopefully, he won’t mind if I do it via here.

But this debate fascinated me….

http://www.tomski.com/2008/01/dont_own_a_tv_you_might_still.shtml#comments

Not only for the murky legal water that surrounded this whole issue of when is a TV not a TV, but a PC. Or, indeed, when is a TV not a TV, but a screen…

But the other household piece of receiving equipment that appeared to have slipped beneath the radar.

Because if I’m sat on a train somewhere with my shiny new Apple iPhone in the palm of my hand and there’s a points failure just outside Colchester, at what point does the combination of iPlayer and mobile phone qualify for a TV licence?

What if we’re producing a whole generation of kids that will live their lives through what’s sat in the palm of their hand? God clearly forbid, but what in the event of the next 9/11 everyone is sat there watching BBC News24 ‘live’ on their mobiles – does that not now make a mobile phone a TV?

And should the detector vans not now be parked outside every secondary school playground in the country, picking off the kids one by one?

‘But I’ve never used it as a TV, honest, sir…’

‘Ah, but you’re capable of it, aren’t you?’

I’ve no idea. And judging by the well-informed comments cited above, I’m not sure anyone is wholly the wiser.

But there we are – is a TV not a TV when it’s an Apple iPhone?

Discuss.