Any person who is viewing or recording TV programs as they broadcast needs a TV license. In 2016, new TV licensing rules were instated which contained changes that would impact individuals who view BBC content on iPlayer.
Before the change in TV licensing laws, only people viewing shows as they were broadcast required a license. In effect, this meant that it was within the legal realm to view content after broadcast via iPlayer without the need to pay the yearly license fee.
In this article, we highlight some important aspects of TV licensing to help you understand its nuances and work around geo-restrictions to continue watching your favourite shows.
Applications of TV Licensing
TV licensing rules apply to iPlayer. It means that you do not need a TV license to view on-demand programmes or catch-up shows through other service providers if they are not iPlayer-based.
For instance, you do not need a TV license to view on-demand or catch-up content on third-party service provider platforms such as Netflix. However, you will need a license to watch these programmes on iPlayer through services such as Amazon, Sky, and Now TV.
TV Licensing Checks
TV licensing can be verified through various means such databases containing millions of addresses and home visits.
The body has detector vans that can identify the presence of TV receiving devices at particular addresses within minutes. But a TV licensing spokesperson has clarified that they do not employ mass surveillance methods or seek information from internet companies on addresses.
Students might Not Need Individual TV Licenses
If they are cautious about how they watch TV, students on tight finances can avoid paying TV licensing fees. In the UK, students can be covered under their parents’ licenses as long as they watch television on equipment that is powered only by its own internal batteries and is not plugged into the mains or an aerial.
Watching BBC iPlayer Requires TV License
You can watch catch-up television without the need for a TV license. However, to watch BBC iPlayer, you will require a license. If geo-restrictions have made it challenging to stream your favourite World Cup matches while travelling or living abroad, you may want to consider a VPN service.
A VPN service can allow the user to view their favourite geo-restricted BBC programmes outside the UK safely and anonymously. You can visit this iPlayer Guide to unlock BBC programmes, and watch your favourite content.
You need a TV License for Recording
Many of us choose to record television programmes and select what we want to view. However, just because you aren’t watching a show as its being broadcast does not mean that you do not need a TV license. This applies to Amazon Prime as well if you do not have add-on Amazon Channel service.
No TV? You still need a License
Today, the term “TV License” can be confusing. You do not have to actually own a television set to need a TV license. If you are viewing television as it is broadcast whether, on your desktop, mobile or tablet, you will require a TV license.
You don’t need a TV License for Amazon Prime or Netflix
If you are only interested in viewing subscription TV online or movie services such as Netflix, you do not require a TV license as you are not watching it as it is broadcast. This is the case with Amazon Prime as well if you do not have the add-on Amazon Channels Service. Online Streaming Services can take action on copyright violations, recently Netflix, Amazon Prime join hands to sue dragon media over private streaming.
These are some pertinent facts about TV licensing to help you understand the legalities involved in viewing television programs and other content. I hope this article helped in clarifying some points on TV licensing.