Everything you need to know about the TV licence - and if you need one to watch Netflix

Do you need to buy a TV licence? (Photo: Shutterstock)Do you need to buy a TV licence? (Photo: Shutterstock)
Do you need to buy a TV licence? (Photo: Shutterstock)

The BBC has revealed it will be changing its policy regarding free TV licences for over-75s, with many more people across the UK being required to pay for a TV licence come 1 August.

But what exactly do you need a TV licence for, and do you need one to watch Netflix on your TV?

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This is everything you need to know about TV licences - including how much you could be fined for not having one.

What do I need a TV licence for?

You’re required to have a TV licence if you:

  • Watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV, on any channel
  • Watch or stream programmes lives on an online TV service, such as ITV Hub, All 4, NowTV, Sky Go etc
  • Download or watch any BBC programmes on iPlayer

This applies to any device you use to do this, including a TV, computer, laptop, mobile, tablet or other device that can receive a TV signal.

You do not need a TV licence to watch:

  • Non-BBC programmes on online catch up services
  • Netflix
  • Videos or DVDs
  • Clips on websites like YouTube

A single TV licence covers all of the following in a single property:

  • TV sets
  • Computers
  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Mobile phones
  • Any other device that can receive a TV signal

How much does a TV licence cost?

A TV licence costs £157.50 (or £53 for a black and white TV), and lasts for a whole year.

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There are a range of ways people can choose to pay for their licence, so you should be able to figure out a system that works for you.

You can pay for your licence yearly, which means paying for it once every 12 months. Alternatively, you can spread the cost over 12 months, paying around £26.25 per month for the first six months, then £13.12 for the rest of the year.

You can also pay for it on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

You can buy your licence via the TV licencing website, here. If you don’t purchase a TV licence, but still watch live TV and BBC broadcasts, then you could be faced with a fine of up to £1,000.

Who is eligible for a free TV licence?

Previously, everyone over the age of 75 was eligible for a free TV licence, however, from 1 August, that will no longer be the case.

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Those aged over 75 and in receipt of Pension Credit will be eligible for a free TV licence funded by the BBC, however, everyone else will still be required to pay for their licence.

You might be eligible for a discounted licence if you have a severe vision impairment.

If you are blind, you will qualify for a 50 per cent concession on your TV licence, which covers everyone else in your household regardless of their sight. If you are partially sighted, then you are not eligible for the discount.

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