Why we're here:
This blog is to highlight the unjust persecution of legitimate non-TV users at the hands of TV Licensing. These people do not require a licence and are entitled to live without the unnecessary stress and inconvenience caused by TV Licensing's correspondence and employees.

If you use equipment to receive live broadcast TV programmes, or to watch or download on-demand programmes via the BBC iPlayer, then the law requires you to have a licence and we encourage you to buy one.

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Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Which Devices Require a TV Licence?

As previously mentioned, the law requires that a licence is obtained for any device that is "installed or used" for "receiving a television programme at the same time (or virtually the same time) as it is received by members of the public".

Using the following types of equipment could require a TV licence:
  • Television sets.
  • VCRs.
  • Combined DVD player/VCRs.
  • DVD recorders.
  • Digital set top boxes.
  • PCs fitted with a TV card.
  • PC TV cards.
The Wireless Telegraphy Act 1967 (as amended) requires that dealers inform TV Licensing of every sale or rental involving these pieces of equipment.

In order to do this the dealer has to ask some questions at the time of purchase/rental. It should be noted however that the buyer/hirer is under no legal obligation to answer correctly.


Dealers have 28 days from the purchase/rental date to provide TV Licensing with the following information:
  • The buyer or hirer's details (title, initials and surname as well as the address and postcode of where the equipment will be installed).
  • The date of transaction.
  • Whether the equipment is colour or black and white.
  • Dealer's name and address.
  • Dealer's registration and outlet number.
  • Optionally, the type of equipment it is (TV set, DVD or video recorder, digital box, PC or laptop with TV card etc).
TV Licensing check the information provided with the details (names and addresses) on their licence database. They will investigate cases where the information doesn't match up (e.g. someone who buys a TV for an unlicenced property).

Dealers who fail to provide TV Licensing with this information are liable to a maximum fine of £1,000 per offence.

This system of snooping on buyers/hirers is open to much criticism. It is inherently flawed for the following reasons:
  • There's no way of checking that the information provided at the time of sale/rental is given correctly.
  • People often give their work address at the time of sale/rental but end up using the equipment at their home address or vice versa.
  • Many people buy television receiving equipment as a gift for someone else.
  • No-one can know with any certainty where a laptop with TV card is going to be used.
  • It only applies to goods purchased/rented from a TV Licensing registered dealer - not private sales conducted via other means.
There have also been several reports that TV Licensing are taking an interest in pieces of equipment that, although not requiring a licence in their own right, imply the use of licensable equipment nearby - DVD players are an obvious example.

Edit (1/9/16): This is an archive post. Please note the following key changes:
- A TV licence is now needed by anyone using the BBC iPlayer to receive BBC on-demand programmes (more info here). Curiously enough a TV licence is not legally required to receive S4C on-demand programmes via the BBC iPlayer.
- The system of dealer notification has now ceased (more info here).

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