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Do you really need a T.V licence.

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Do you really need a TV Licence?

So, do you need a T.V licence. Well, the answer is yes and no. It really depends on a few factors.

Back in the old days you had to have a television license if you owned a T.V and that was that. It did not matter if you never watched it or you kept it in the cupboard, the law was clear, you owned a T.V you needed a T.V license.

T.V has come a long way in the last 20 years with the advent of streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube.

As at March 2018, statistics from the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (BARB) show that around 95% of UK are licensable. For the financial year od 2017/18 there were 25,836,495 number of licences in force which earned Auntie £3.6 Billion (Auntie is an informal name the British have for the BBC, it is also referred to as the Beeb)

 What is a T.V licence?
A TV licence is a legal permission to install or use television equipment to receive (i.e. watch or record) TV programmes, as they are being shown on TV or live on an online TV service, and to download or watch BBC programmes on demand, including catch up TV, on BBC iPlayer.

How much does a TV licence cost?

The TV licence increased in price last year from £154.50 for a colour and £52 for a black and white TV Licence. The government has also said that the cost of the license will increase over the next 5 years. There is not sign that the license fee is going to be reduced in the near future.

Do I really need a TV licence?

This is the million-dollar question. You only need the license if you do any of the following:

If you watch or Record any live TV as it is being broadcast or watch any show on BBC iPlayer including catchup you need a licence.

You’ll also need a TV licence if you watch or record any live TV as it is being broadcast on any channel regardless if it is freeview.

This is detailed here on theTV licencing website

Households covered by a TV licence

If you live in a house with parents, or you’re tenant with a joint tenancy agreement you’ll generally need only one licence.

If on the other hand you are living in shared accommodation for example a flat share you may have to check your tenancy agreement.

If you have a separate tenancy agreement, you’ll need to have your own licence.

If you move home you’ll need to update your details on the T.V licencing website

Fingers crossed you haven’t made this mistake but, if you have, you can remove the additional TV licences and save some money.

TV licence refunds for students

If you are a student can could get a partial refund for the time you are not in student accommodation during the summer months should your university term end in May and recommence in September.

If as a student, you decide to move back home you could get a refund of up to £50.

One point to bear in mind if you live in student halls that a communal T.V license will not be enough to cover your own personal T.V in your room just like tenants with separate tenancy contracts.

The Over 75’s and partially-sighted

It is recommended that is you are approaching 75 that you apply for your over 75 TV Licence much simpler when you’re 75.

You need to be covered by a TV Licence, including a free over 75 TV Licence, to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel, or to download or watch any BBC programmes on iPlayer – live, catch up or on demand.

This applies to any device and provider you use.

What is an over 75 TV Licence?

After your 75th birthday, you can get a free TV Licence. It covers you as well as anyone you live with.

Please remember that you don’t automatically get an over 75 TV Licence on your 75th birthday. You have to apply for one.

If you’re about to turn 75, do not cancel your Direct Debit or any other payment for your TV Licence. Once the T.V licensing have sent you confirmation of your over 75 TV Licence, they will cancel the Direct Debit and terminate your payment plan.

If they cancel your Direct Debit after your 75th birthday, and you end up overpaying they will refund you for the difference.

I only watch Streaming services

There is so much choice out there as to what to watch that people could now go a lifetime and not watch any BBC or live TV. If you are not a sports fan like many people not being able to watch sports is not the end of the world, nor is not watching the news, which let’s face it is just nothing but bad news.

There is so much else to do rather than sit in front of the idiot box. Sell the Telly and use the money for a new hobby.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to get shot of the tube then watch YouTube, Netflix and the like. These on-line services have millions of hours of programmes, tutorials, reviews, films, documentaries. You name it they’ll have it.

Although, remember that if you do not have a T.V licence because you are watching streaming or catchup TV (Not iPlayer) but subscribed to Netflix you would only really be saving around £50 to £70 per year. To really save money you just switch off your TV and go do something less boring instead.

I don’t want to pay.

It’s not a matter of not wanting to pay, it’s a matter of if you do not use the service why should you pay. If you do not watch any live TV programmes as they are being broadcast or any iPlayer then simply cancel your licence and use the money to pay down some credit card bills.

But bear this in mind, when the TV licence people come knocking, they will insist that you have to pay if you have a TV. This they know is not correct and they are hoping that the threat of a £1,000 fine or potentially going to prison (Where you can watch TV all day without a TV licence) will frighten people in paying.

The TV licencing enforcement teams caught thousands of people between September 2017 and August 2018 who were watching TV without a licence. They still have to prove that you were watching live TV or iPlayer (iPlayer watching is easier to prove)

But I want to save money

Easiest way to save money is to sell your TV and do something more productive with your life rather than spend it glued to the sofa watching soaps and celebrity nonsense.

There is a reason that the telly is sometimes called the “Idiot Box”       

In conclusion:

No TV? Not watching live TV on any channel, or BBC programmes on iPlayer?

You don’t need a TV Licence if you or anyone at your address:

  1. Never watch or record programmes on any channel as they’re being shown on TV or live on an online TV service, and
  • Never download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer – live, catch up or on demand.

This could be on any device, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder.

So to answer the original question, of “do you need a T.V licence”, the answer is; No, throw the damn set in the skip and live your life.


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Many people in the U.K struggle with debts and many do not know how to start to repay them speaking to a debt advisor is one of the best things you will do along with taking action yourself by speaking directly with your creditors. and

You should always seek professional advice when handling debt problems. Cashute are not licensed debt advisers and any information contained in this article should not be taken as legal advice. It is your Responsibility to seek out correct legal advice

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