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TV Licensing, students and the law

When do I need a TV Licence?
It doesn’t matter what channel you choose – it could be terrestrial, cable or satellite. And it doesn’t matter what equipment you use – traditional TV, games console, laptop or mobile phone. You still need to be covered by a licence if you are watching programmes at the same time as they are shown on TV. If you’re found to be using TV without a licence, you may be prosecuted and fined up to £1,000.

This means that if you are watching or recording programmes via the BBC iPlayer at the same time as they are shown on TV, you need to be covered by a TV Licence. If you are only watching or downloading programmes that have already been broadcast using the iPlayer or other internet services, a licence is not required.

How will anyone know if I don’t have a TV Licence?
TV Licensing’s database lists addresses that don’t have a TV Licence, including university accommodation and enquiry officers do visit unlicensed properties.

If you use television-receiving equipment without a valid TV Licence, you risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000, plus court costs, and you will need to buy a TV Licence if you still need one.  A colour licence costs £145.50.

To find out more about whether you require a licence, contact TV Licensing on 0300 790 6090 or visit the TV Licensing website (www.tvlicensing.co.uk/studentinfo).    

Updated: August 16, 2011 | Site editor | Legal