News Article

You’ll need a TV licence to watch BBC iPlayer from September

Published 23 August 2016 by

With most of the events at the Rio Olympics taking place in the early hours of the morning, you might have been catching up with these on BBC iPlayer.

You currently don’t need a TV licence to catch up on the latest BBC programmes as you’re not watching live TV – but you will do from 1 September. This comes as the Government and the BBC vow to close a loophole that lets viewers watch BBC shows on iPlayer without paying.

Not willing to give up your BBC programmes just yet? We take you through everything you need to know.

The changes

From 1 September, you could face risk of prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000 if you download or watch shows on iPlayer without a TV licence. This applies to all devices, including smart TVs, laptops or desktop computers, as well as mobile phones or tablets.

A notice will appear on the iPlayer site and TV Licensing says it will send letters to unlicensed addresses to let them know about the change. With that said, a survey by Broadband Genie found that four in five households are unaware of the fast approaching TV licence changes.

The Government suggested a verification procedure to gain access to the service, so customers could sign in with a password linked to their TV licence. But TV Licensing says it will continue to use the same methods as usual such as letters and visits from enquiry officers.

How much is a TV licence?

A standard TV licence costs £145.50 and you can either pay it upfront or in regular payments. This will not only let you watch standard TV channels, but give you access to streaming services from BBC iPlayer from September onwards.

Depending on your circumstances, you might be able to get a free or discounted TV licence. You should get a free TV licence if you’re over the age of 75 and this should start automatically. If you or someone you live with is blind or severely sight impaired, you can get 50% off the cost of a TV licence.

You may be able to apply for an Accommodation for Residential Care Concessionary TV licence if you live in a residential care home or sheltered accommodation. This cost £7.50 per room, flat or bungalow. You can find out more about this by heading to the TV licensing website.

Remember though, you could always stream your TV programmes through online TV subscriptions like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV, if you don’t need a particular channel. These vary in price but a basic Netflix subscription (£5.99 a month) comes to just £71.88 for the year.

Amazon Prime Instant Video is slightly more expensive in price at £79 a year, but you’ll gain access to all the other Prime services including exclusive deals for Amazon Prime customers. You can soon pay for Amazon Prime monthly. Now TV varies in price depending on the package, but their entertainment month pass costs just £6.99 and you can cancel it whenever you want.

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