Do I need a TV licence to watch programmes on BBC iPlayer?

Catch-up

You do not need a television licence to catch-up on television programmes in BBC iPlayer, only when you watch or record at the same time (or virtually the same time) as it is being broadcast or otherwise distributed to the public. In BBC iPlayer, this is through the Watch Live simulcast option.

Anyone in the UK watching or recording television as it's being broadcast or simulcast on any device - including mobiles, laptops and PCs - must, by law, be covered by a valid TV licence.

A 'live' TV programme is a programme, which is watched or recorded at the same time (or virtually the same time) as it is being broadcast or otherwise distributed to members of the public. As a general rule, if a person is watching a programme on a computer or other device at the same time as it is being shown on TV then the programme is 'live'. This is sometimes known as simulcasting.

If you are using the live rewind function to either restart the current live programme or to rewind any live stream for up to 2 hours, a television license is required as you are still accessing the live simulcasts.

The majority of UK households will already be covered by an existing television licence for their main TV set.

What will happen if I don't have a TV licence?

It is a criminal offence to watch 'live' television without a TV licence or to possess or control a device which you know or reasonably believe will be used to watch 'live' TV without a TV licence. You could be prosecuted and fined up to £1000 (plus be ordered to pay legal costs) for these offences.

Where can I buy a TV licence or get more details?

To buy a TV licence or to obtain further information about licensing requirements call TV Licensing on 0300 790 6071 or visit http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/.

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If you have detailed issues about using BBC iPlayer not covered here, please read our Where can I go to discuss BBC iPlayer? FAQ or you can Contact Us.

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