When do you need a TV licence?

All your TV licence questions answered. 

The law is very specific when it comes to TV licensing, and it’s important to know when you need one in order to avoid a hefty fine. Let’s outline the facts.

When do I need a TV licence? 

You need a TV licence for all live channels, no matter the channel you're watching. Whether you are watching live tv via terrestrial channels, through downloaded apps or online, a TV licence will always be required. 

Do I need a TV licence for Sky? 

For all Sky content you watch live, you need a TV licence, such as on Sky Atlantic, Sky One and Sky Comedy. A TV licence is also needed for any recorded programmes stored on your Sky box.

A TV licence is not required for any on-demand Sky content. 

Do I need a TV licence for NOW? 

If you watch live content through your NOW app, you will need a TV licence. You do not need one for the on-demand content certain memberships allow you access to, such as Entertainment and Cinema. 

Do I need a TV licence for BBC iPlayer? 

You’ll need a TV licence to watch all content on BBC iPlayer, live, on-demand and catch-up. 

BBC iPlayer is the only streaming catch-up service where you’ll need a TV licence for on-demand content, too. 

Do I need a TV licence for All 4 and ITV Hub?

The same applies. A TV licence is needed if you are going to watch live TV on All 4 or the ITV Hub, but not if you are going to watch catch-up TV. 

What don’t I need a TV licence for? 

You don’t need a TV licence for other streaming services, such as Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, or any other purely on-demand service that does not give the option to watch live TV. 
The only time you might need a TV licence for Amazon Prime Video is when they rarely show live sporting events. In this instance, a TV licence will be needed.

What devices do I need a TV licence for?

All the information above applies to all devices, whether you’re watching live TV or iPlayer on a TV, laptop, tablet, mobile phone or any other device. 

What happens if I don't have TV licence? 

Watching licence-restricted content without a TV licence could see you landed with a £1000 fine (£2000 in Guernsey) alongside any legal costs and/or compensation you may be ordered to pay. 

How much is a TV licence? 

A standard TV licence costs £159 and will last for a year. A black and white TV licence costs £53.50. 

Alternatively you can pay quarterly at £41 every three months, plus a £1.25 charge on top each quarter. 

If you want to pay via Direct Debit, you’ll be charged £26.50 a month for your first licence over a six-month period. After this, you’ll pay for your next licence over a 12-month period with monthly instalments of around £13.25 - six payments before your licence is due, and six after. 

What if I don’t need a TV licence? 

You can fill out a No Licence Needed declaration if you do not meet the requirements to have one, which you’ll find on the TV Licensing website. 

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