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Reue's TV Licensing FAQ

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    Seeing as theres at least 1 new TV licence thread made every single week, figured I'd put up an FAQ which I can link to.


    When do I need a TV licence?

    You need a TV licence if you intend to watch live broadcasted television programs.


    Where can I get a licence?

    http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/index.jsp

    Am I covered by my parent's licence?

    Only if you consider your parent's house to be your 'permanent' address and you are watching tv on a device not plugged into mains electricity (ie. a laptop).
    TV Licences are per house, so if you move out of your parent's house you will not be covered by their licence. If you have signed a seperate tenant agreement when moving into a new house then you will need your own personal licence if you have a TV in your bedroom.

    Do I need a licence if I am in university halls?

    Most likely yes. If you have a joint tenancy agreement with your housemates then you only need 1 licence between you all. If you have a seperate tenancy agreement then you will each need your own licences.

    Do I need 2 licences if I am in a shared house and have a TV in my own room and a communal area?

    No. As long as 1 of you has a licence it can cover their bedroom and a tv in the communal area.

    Do I need a TV licence if I watch tv on a laptop?

    If you are using a laptop (or any other device) to watch live television then you still need a licence, unless the laptop is unplugged from the mains and operating from battery power in which case you will be covered by your parent's licence (see above).

    Do I need a TV licence to watch on a portable tv?

    The use of a television set, which is powered solely by its own internal batteries will be covered for any address by the user’s main home licence. However, if the user plugs the set into the mains or connects it to any external power source such as a car battery, a separate licence would be needed.

    What about foreign TV?

    It used to be the case that televisions receiving a broadcast from outside the UK (e.g. Satellite from Germany, Italy, Greece, Turkey and the Netherlands where many channels are Free to Air) did not need a licence, but this was changed by the Communications Act (2003), so that the reception of television from any source requires a TV licence.

    Do I need a licence to watch DVDs/Videos/Streaming videos/iPlayer etc?

    You need a licence to watch live television, even if it is being streamed through the internet. Most shows on iPlayer, 4od etc are not live and so do not need a licence.

    Do I need a licence if I only use my TV for playing consol games?

    Nope

    What should I do if i recieve a letter from the licence inspectors and I dont have/need a licence?

    If you do not have a TV licence and do not need one (as in the examples above) then you should do nothing. You do not need to contact the tvla for any reason. You do not need to 'inform' them of the situation. Their letters will state you have to call them to say you don't need a TV licence, however this is incorrect and has been proven in parliment.

    Do I have to let a licence inspector into my house?

    NO!! Without a search warrent, TV licence inspectors have no more right to enter your home then any other stranger on the street. You are under no obligation to let them in unless they have a search warrent (Which 99.9% of the time they wont have).

    Wont it make me look guilty if I dont let them in?

    Not at all. It is their job to prove your guilt, not your job to prove your innocence. The licensing inspectors are not the police, they are not the judge or jury. They are a private company hired to do a job and as such have no more powers then a private citizen. Refusing them entry is not an admission of guilt.



    Edit - Over 4 years since writing this and the advice is still as true today as it was back then. I have never bought a TV licence because I only use my TV for games consoles. I watch non-live streamed TV though catchup services and lovefilm. In the 4 years since this, I have received almost 50 letters of threat from the licencing authority, had 5 attempted visits by inspectors and 1 successful visit (where I was in to open the front door).

    Do not feel intimidated into buying a licence when you dont actually need one.
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    That's actually pretty damn good. ^.^
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    Erm... there's something about battery powered TV's. Your parents' license still covers you if it's not plugged into the mains, IIRC. Maybe I just made that up though.
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    (Original post by grammar_king)
    Erm... there's something about battery powered TV's. Your parents' license still covers you if it's not plugged into the mains, IIRC. Maybe I just made that up though.
    No you are correct i believe as i remember reading something similar, I shall look it up.
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    The use of a television set, which is powered solely by its own internal batteries will be covered for any address by the user’s main home licence. However,
    if the user plugs the set into the mains or connects it to any external power source such as a car battery, a separate licence would be needed.


    From http://www.bbc.co.uk/foi/docs/financ...VLicencing.pdf
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    edited in, thanks
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    one minor (if pedantic...) point - licence is the noun, and license is the verb (apart from in US english where for some stupid reason they're swapped around...)

    Also, if you have a separate tenancy agreement, if you only have a tv in the communal area (eg your living room) as far as I know you only need one licence. You need a separate licence for each bedroom (or whatever room(s) are covered by the separate tenancy agreement) that contains a tv in addition to the communal one.
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    Not going to bother editing it for grammatical corrections :P
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    Probably a good idea to mention that if you use a laptop that isn't plugged into the mains as you watch it then you don't need a license either.

    Also a clear distinction needs to be made: "Watch Live BBC News 24" on BBC website needs a license whereas iPlayer doesn't. ie. you need it to watch TV as it's being broadcast.
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    (Original post by thefish_uk)
    Probably a good idea to mention that if you use a laptop that isn't plugged into the mains as you watch it then you don't need a license either.
    This is actually really unclear at the moment, Unless you can link to any test cases Id rather not risk saying you dont need a license to watch live tv through an unplugged laptop.
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    Edited some more info in.
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    quick question... do I need a licence to watch the news through the "click here to watch live news" button on the BBC website? I live in my parents house where we have two TVs, we only need one licence right?

    This is a stupidly confusing thing.
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    (Original post by SophieM)
    quick question... do I need a licence to watch the news through the "click here to watch live news" button on the BBC website? I live in my parents house where we have two TVs, we only need one licence right?

    This is a stupidly confusing thing.
    Yes you will need a license to watch live bbc news on their website. If you live with your parents then their household license will cover you and your two tvs.
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    Edited some more in.
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    Maybe a stupid question but; are you meant to have a TV licence to use things like BBC iPlayer?


    EDIT: oops was already covered; apparently not.
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    (Original post by Reue)
    This is actually really unclear at the moment, Unless you can link to any test cases Id rather not risk saying you dont need a license to watch live tv through an unplugged laptop.
    (Original post by BBC Help)
    You do not need a television licence to watch television programmes on the current version of the BBC iPlayer.

    You will need to be covered by a TV licence if and when the BBC provides a feature that enables you to watch ‘live' TV programmes on any later version of BBC iPlayer, which has this option. Your TV licence for your home address will cover your use of the BBC iPlayer in your home (and outside the home if you use BBC iPlayer on a laptop or any other device which is powered solely by its own internal batteries).

    A ‘live' TV programme is a programme, which is watched or recorded at the same time (or virtually the same time) as it is being broadcast or otherwise distributed to members of the public. As a general rule, if a person is watching a programme on a computer or other device at the same time as it is being shown on TV then the programme is ‘live'. This is sometimes known as simulcasting.

    You cannot currently watch ‘live' TV programmes as part of BBC iPlayer, however, we hope to offer this function in the future.
    Hope the above is useful. Put the bit in bold which relates to the post I quoted. Found here: http://iplayerhelp.external.bbc.co.u...ayer/tvlicence
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    Thats great, cheers.
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    If you only use your TV for consoles and the license people come round to check it out, how do you proove you've not been watching telly?
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    (Original post by Callipygian)
    If you only use your TV for consoles and the license people come round to check it out, how do you prove you've not been watching telly?
    You don't have to. They have to prove that you have been breaking the law. Presumably you won't have an aerial, as you won't need one anyway.

    That's if you let them in, of course.
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    (Original post by SillyFencer)
    You don't have to. They have to prove that you have been breaking the law.
    How would they do that, get a picture of you wathing TV or something, thats a bit silly... Especialy since you wont have to let them in without a warrent.

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