Pity the poor BBC.
Its status as a beloved national institution was once taken for granted.
And there was a consensus that the licence fee was worth paying.
The fee largely funds the BBC, although a small part goes to other things including S4C, the Welsh language channel.
And if you owned a telly, you were bound to watch the BBC sometimes. Even fans of ITV, funded by advertising, might switch channels for Morecambe and Wise, Doctor Who or a royal wedding.
That’s not so true any more.
There’s a range of online TV services, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV.
You can get a massive selection of channels with a satellite or cable subscription from Sky or Virgin Media.
And you can choose simply to pay for specific shows - a Game of Thrones box set perhaps, or a movie - and stream them from services such as Amazon Video.
The concept of “watching TV” has changed.
In fact, you can do most of the things described above without a TV, using a tablet, old-fashioned computer or your mobile phone.
But if you prefer the big screen then you’re expected to pay a £147-a-year licence fee.
And it’s even possible to become liable for the fee without owning a TV. If you use the BBC iPlayer service in any form, such as on your phone, then you’re meant to have a licence.
Perhaps that’s reasonable, but what’s more surprising is that you’re meant to get a TV licence if you watch any form of live TV on any device.
For example, if you watch Sky One on an iPad then the law says you need a TV licence - even though you’re not watching the BBC and even if you don’t own a television.
Note that “live” just means something that’s being broadcast or streamed at a fixed time, as opposed to on demand. So it could be a football match, or it could be an old episode of The Simpsons.
It is, technically, possible to have a TV in your home without needing a licence.
If you never watch any live TV at all (incidentally, recording a show and watching it later still counts) and you never use BBC iPlayer then, strictly speaking, you don’t need a licence. However, you might find it hard to prove you never use your TV this way.
It does seem a little arbitrary.
You can make a strong argument that the BBC provides a great service, but it’s still hard to explain why someone should pay the fee when the only thing they watch is Scandal on Sky Atlantic.
The fact that there are now so many other methods of watching video adds to the sense that the licence fee is outdated.
There was a time when the family would gather around the telly to watch Eastenders.
But in some households now, the children - and maybe the adults too - are more likely to be glued to their tablets, watching some bizarre YouTube video, while the TV sits unloved in the corner.
MPs have been debating whether to scrap the TV licence fee.
It was prompted by a petition signed by 125,958 people calling for the fee to be abolished.
Any petition on the UK government website signed by more than 100,000 people can end up being debated in the House of Commons, and this sometimes leads to an odd situation where MPs are debating a proposition they all disagree with.
In this case, these was a consensus that the people who signed the petition are wrong and the licence fee is a good thing, although there was also some criticism of over-zealous licensing authorities persecuting innocent constituents.
Solihull MP Julian Knight (Con), for example, told the debate: “It is known around the world. When one travels around the world and sees other TV, radio and media offerings, one sees that the BBC is absolutely first-class.
"We have all mentioned programmes that we believe are worth the licence fee; mine, personally, is ‘Test Match Special’. Do not tell the BBC, but I would pay double the licence fee for it.
“The BBC is an absolutely fantastic institution. If, as a result of this debate, we were to abolish the licence fee, hamstringing the BBC at a stroke, it would be nothing short of an act of cultural vandalism and would have enormous effects on the GDP and cultural aspects of this country, damaging our reputation.
"If we considered doing that, we would be making a serious error.”
One should note that Mr Knight used to work for the BBC. However, his comments were typical of those heard during the debate.
And the Government says it is committed to keeping the licence fee until at least 2027, which is when the BBC’s Charter is renewed.
But a Committee of MPs warned in 2015 that the they “do not see a long-term future for the licence fee in its current form”.
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee said: “The principle of the licence fee in its current form is becoming harder and harder to sustain given changes in communications and media technology and services, and changing audience needs and behaviours.”
They have a point.