BBC iPlayer Help

Do I need a TV licence to watch iPlayer?

The law is changing: From 1 September 2016 you'll need a TV Licence to watch or download our programmes on demand, including catch up TV, on BBC iPlayer. Visit the TV Licensing website for more details.

When you don’t need a TV licence

You do not currently need a TV licence to catch-up on television programmes in BBC iPlayer.

When you do need a TV licence

You need a TV Licence if you watch or record “live” programmes. That means watching or recording at the same time (or virtually the same time) as they’re being broadcast, or distributed to the public in any other way. In BBC iPlayer, you do this using 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.

As a general rule, if you’re watching a programme on a computer or other device at the same time as it’s being shown on TV, then the programme is “live” so you need a TV licence. If you use the live rewind function to restart a live programme or rewind a live stream for up to 2 hours, you also need a TV licence. This is because you’re still accessing the live simulcasts. Most UK households will already be covered by an existing TV 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. It’s also a criminal offence 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 legal costs) for these offences.

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

To buy a TV licence or get more info about licensing requirements, call TV Licensing on 0300 790 6071 or visit

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