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TV Licence: What you need to know

What you need to watch TV on your PC or mobile

You can't escape the adverts on TV, on the radio and even on billboards from TV Licensing warning you that it's illegal to watch television without a valid licence and if you are caught without one you will be fined up to £1,000.

With an estimated 98 percent of the UK's population already owning a television set, that's a lot of licences.

But if you think because you haven't got a television set and you watch TV either on your PC or on a mobile phone or portable media -player you're not affected, then think again.

TV Licence: PCs

If you watch or record TV programmes as they're broadcast, you must, by law, be covered by a TV Licence, no matter what device you are using.

However, you don't need to be covered by a licence if you're using only an 'on-demand' service to watch programmes after they have gone out on TV. So, you need a licence to watch any channel live online, but you wouldn't need one to use BBC iPlayer to catch up on an episode of EastEnders or TopGear.

TV Licence: Sky+, Playstation 3 and digital TV recorders

Because Sky+, Playstation 3 and digital TV recorders record programmes as they are broadcast, you still need to be covered by a TV licence to use one. The same rules apply if you use a video or DVD recorder.

TV Licence: Mobile phones

Just as with any other device, if you're watching programmes as they're broadcast on a phone or other mobile device, you need to be covered by a licence.

There are two types of licence available; black and white which costs £47 and a colour licence that is priced at £139.50. There are a number of ways to purchase a licence too.

Choose from one of any of the 20,000 PayPoint outlets across the country, set-up a monthly, quarterly or annual direct debit or purchase your licence online with a debt or credit card. You can also pay over the phone by debit and credit card or by post via a cheque.

If you already own a licence that covers the address you live at, then you are legally allowed to watch TV on computers, mobiles or any other gadgets even those that are powered solely by their own internal batteries outside the home too.

However, it is worth remembering that if you've got a black and white licence then any device you use to watch TV on, whether it's a television set or a mobile phone should only be capable of displaying a black and white picture. If you own a black and white licence yet watch TV in colour then you are breaking the law and will need to upgrade to a colour licence.

There's also some circumstances where you maybe entitled to a concession, for example if you are 74 you can apply for a short term licence which covers until you reach 75, when you qualify for a free licence and also if you are blind or severely sight impaired.

Visit Digital World for the latest home entertainment and digital audio news and reviews


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