Do i need a TV license? What you can watch for free and the rules of Netflix

YOU must have a TV license to watch or record a live UK TV show.

The standard BBC TV license fee is £ 159 and the price goes up every year.


There are ways to watch your favorite shows without paying for a TV license.Credit: Getty – Contributor

Viewers started paying £ 1.50 more when the cost of a TV license was increased in April this year.

This is the fifth year in a row that license fees have increased, adding even more to household bills.

The price hike has also dealt a further blow to some OAPs, as the license is no longer automatically free for those over 75.

Let’s see how you can avoid paying for a TV license – legally.

Do i need a TV license?

A color TV license currently costs £ 159 per year.

A license to watch black and white television costs £ 53.50.

The fees are set by the government and have increased with inflation every year since 2017.

A license is required for anyone intending to watch or record TV programs while they are being broadcast live.

Live TV in this sense covers all programming on any channel, including soap operas, series, documentaries, and even movies.

Plus, the rules apply even if you don’t watch the shows on a real TV – for example, if you watch live broadcasts on a PC, laptop, tablet, or phone.

Do I need a TV license to watch Netflix and streaming sites?

You need a TV license if you watch live TV shows on services like ITV Hub, All 4, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV, Sky Go, etc.

You also need a license if you watch BBC programs or download them on demand, including from BBC iPlayer.

You don’t need a TV license if you use these services to watch on-demand or catch-up shows, unless it’s through BBC iPlayer.

What happens if I don’t have a TV license?

Watching live TV or anything on iPlayer without paying a license when you need it is a criminal offense.

If you are caught without one, you must pay in full as soon as possible or risk prosecution, plus a fine of up to £ 1,000 (£ 2,000 in Guernsey or £ 500 in Jersey).

You can be jailed for failure to pay a court-imposed fine.

How to watch TV legally without paying a license

THE following services are always open (and legally) available to you, as long as you don’t use them to watch or broadcast live TV:

  • TV on demand – like catch-up TV and on-demand previews, which are available through services like ITV Player, All 4, My5, BT Vision / BT TV, Virgin Media, Sky Go, Now TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku and Amazon Fire ON TV. You cannot watch or download programs on BBC iPlayer without a TV license.
  • Movies on demand – from services such as Sky, Virgin Media, BT Vision, Netflix and Amazon Instant Video.
  • Checked in films and programs – either via DVD or Blu-ray, or downloaded from the Internet.
  • Youtube – Video clips that are not streamed through services such as YouTube.

Can I legally watch TV without a TV license?

Fortunately, there are ways to legally watch your favorite shows without paying the license fees.

There are many catch-up TV services, which allow programs to be broadcast or downloaded after they are broadcast on their respective channels.

If you only watch these, you don’t need to worry – as long as you’re not watching any BBC content.

If you are absolutely sure that you no longer need it, you can TV license know.

While there is no legal obligation to do so, it will prevent an increasing number of letters from reaching you.

The first thing to do in this process is to cancel your payments.

If you are paying by direct debit, you can cancel it by filling out the TV Licensing contact form, confirming that you are no longer watching TV with your current address.

You will also need to cancel your direct debit from your bank.

If you are paying with a TV Licensing payment card, you will need to call 0300 555 0286.

Anyone who no longer needs a TV license must then complete a “No License Needed” declaration form.

Make sure you keep the TV Licensing confirmation email as proof.

You may also be entitled to a refund if you no longer need your license before it expires and you have at least a full month left. Just fill in the request a refund form.

TV Licensing can visit your property to make sure you are telling the truth and that no mistakes have been made.

The bureau says these inspections reveal that one in five people who have canceled their television license still need it, or around 900 homes per day.

Do people over 75 have a free TV license?

In the UK, those over 75 used to get a TV license for free, but now have to pay one, unless they claim a pension credit.

The change came last August, but retirees were given a grace period to get one and it ends on July 31, 2021.

In February, research found nearly a million PAOs were refusing to pay the fees, even though they risked a £ 1,000 fine or jail time.

Since then, the number has fallen to 260,000 at the end of June, according to TV Licensing.

The only exception for households that do not have to pay are those where at least one person receives a pension credit.

It’s super easy to check if you’re eligible – here’s our step-by-step guide.

If you are receiving pension credit, the BBC says you may need to provide a copy of your most recent benefit letter, so be sure to keep it.

If you are blind or visually impaired, you are entitled to a 50% discount on your license.

The ministers officially put aside plans to decriminalize the non-payment of the annual television license for another year.

But when the license changes were announced, 28 Lords sent Beeb boss Tim Davie a letter saying the TV license threats had created stress for the elderly.

A Briton was harassed by the BBC with a “threatening” television license letter after he underpaid by just 3 pence.

Channel 4 could be privatized as early as this year, reveals Oliver Dowden

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