We understand that plans may be afoot to extend coverage of the UK TV licence to cover Internet-based catch-up TV services, such as the BBC iPlayer.
Currently, it’s law that those in the UK pay £145.50 a year to be able to watch (or record) broadcast TV shows. In addition to TV sets and recorders, the law currently extends to watching on computers, games consoles, smartphones and portable devices (such as tablet devices and netbooks).
For the avoidance of doubt, the official TV Licensing site states:
“You need to be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record TV as it’s being broadcast. This includes the use of devices such as a computer, laptop, mobile phone or DVD/video recorder.
If you only watch catch-up services online, then you don’t need a licence. For example, you don’t need one to use BBC iPlayer, or ITV player, to catch up on programmes after they have been shown on TV.”
Plans to change this are apparently being considered by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to close a loophole where householders could dispense with the licence fee and watch their favourite TV shows via an Internet connection after they have been broadcast.
According to the news story in the Guardian, only 0.2% of UK homes would be affected by this proposed change.
Any thoughts on whether watching catch-up and on-demand TV should be included or excluded from the licence fee? Please add your comment below.