From tomorrow, the laws regarding your TV licence are changing. Previously one hasn’t been required for on demand and catch up TV services like BBC iPlayer, and so many of us have been able to simply not pay the £145.50 charge. The 1st of September changes mean that this is no longer the case, and fines of up to £1000 may be charged for not following the rules! So, what do you need to know?
The ‘iPlayer Loophole’
The changes to the TV licence are mainly to close the iPlayer loophole, after the government said it wanted to make sure those watching catch-up TV no longer got ‘a free ride’. As on demand services did not exist when the licence fee was invented, they felt as though the system needed modernising. The changes only apply to BBC programmes, so iTV, Sky, Netflix and similar providers remain unaffected by this and you don’t need a licence to continue using these services.
Which Devices Are Included?
The following devices are included in the new licence:
- TV sets (including smart TVs)
- Laptops and desktop computers
- Tablets, mobile phones and other portable devices
- Digital boxes or PVRs (such as Sky, Virgin Media or BT Vision)
- Games consoles
- Media streaming devices (such as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku and Now TV)
- Freeview, Freesat or YouView
What Can I Use Without a Licence?
You can still use the following services and features without having to pay for a licence:
- Download or watch S4C TV on demand on BBC iPlayer or listen to radio on BBC iPlayer.
- Download or watch programmes on demand from other providers, such as:
- ITV Hub, All 4 or Demand 5
- BT Vision, Virgin Media or Sky Go
- Netflix or Now TV
- Apple, Roku or Amazon
What If I Don’t Get a Licence?
If a household is found to have no licence but still uses the services it covers, they risk being prosecuted and ordered to pay a fine of up to £1000, plus any legal costs and/or compensation. A TV licence costs £145.50 and can be paid monthly, so if you do use the services, it’s best to be on the safe side!
To see more about the new TV licence, check out the TV Licence’s page on the subject here.