A visual history of the BBC "TV Detector" van
To subsidize the BBC's programming, UK residents are compelled to pay a TV licensing fee (this is what we also call a "tax") if they choose to watch television programs in their homes. To encourage compliance, the Beeb invented the myth of the "Television Detector" van, which supposedly contained powerful antennae that were capable of zeroing in on any house that was watching television without a license. Hell, they could even tell what show you were watching, according to the ominous TV commercial we've embedded after the jump. Anyway, the BBC's fleet of Television Detector vehicles is really more silly than sinister, and oobject, a site that puts together interesting themed gadget lists, has a gallery of TV detector trucks as they appeared through the years. We wonder if there are secret field-ops TV Detector trucks in the U.S. "Got 'em. They're watching Top Gear." Remember, while you watch the BBC, the BBC is watching you.