As you may already know, if you own a TV, you are required to get a TV licence.
But this can make things a bit confusing. Do you need to own a TV licence for every address you watch TV at, or does your TV licence cover you as a person wherever you go?
According to our research, a TV licence covers your home address.
However, it also covers you if you watch or record live programmes while on the move or staying somewhere temporarily, such as a hotel room. The only time you need a second TV licence is if you have a second residence.
What is a TV Licence?
First things first, let’s get to know what a TV licence is!
Simply put, a TV licence authorizes you to watch, stream, and record live programmes on any device capable of doing so. It also authorizes you to download and watch BBC programmes on the BBC iPlayer.
This means a TV licence applies to your TV (obviously), but it also applies to any kind of computer or video recording device, like your tablet and smartphone.
What is a Live Programme?
Now that we’ve got that down, let’s define what a “live programme” is.
A live programme is any kind of content that is being shown on a video device through broadcasting, cable, or online streaming.
It does NOT just mean live events. It refers to content that is shown at a certain time, so you’re watching the same content as other people in real-time.
So, even if you’re just watching live-streamed, copyrighted content on YouTube through your smartphone, you will still need to get a TV licence.
What are the Different Kinds of TV Licences?
There are two different kinds of TV licences: color and black and white.
A color TV licence covers most modern TVs , as well as all smart devices since the content is shown in full color.
A black and white TV licence covers devices that are completely unable to download or record live programmes, whether or not they are black-and-white TVs (if you somehow still have one).
Does a TV Licence Cover the Person or the Address?
Now that we know the basics of TV licences, let’s get to the main question: does it cover the person or the address?
In short, a TV licence covers the address. This means that if you have a second residence where you watch or record live programmes, you will need to get a second TV licence for that address.
This is handy, however, because this means you don’t need a TV licence for every single person in the house!
As long as any lodger has some sort of relationship with the homeowner – whether they’re a relative, a partner, or a nanny – they will be covered by the TV licence. Guests are also included, of course, since they’re only there temporarily.
However, at the same time, a TV licence also covers the person in a way.
This is because, with the rise of smart devices and streaming, we often watch or record live programmes while at temporary locations (like hotels) or while on the move.
But, since it would be silly to get a TV licence for a short stay in a hotel room, your home’s TV licence will cover you as long as you don’t plug any of your devices into an outlet at another address.
How Much Does a TV Licence Cost?
As of this writing, a standard color TV licence typically costs £159, although this may increase over time.
However, you may actually be able to get a TV licence for a discounted price or even for free!
To qualify for a discounted TV licence, you need to have a severe vision impairment.
To qualify for a free TV licence, you need to be at least 75 years old and be someone who receives pension credit.
You can also avail of the discounted price or the free TV licence if you have a partner living at your address who fits the requirements.
And if you’re thinking of not getting a TV licence, think again. If you’re found to not have a TV licence when you watch live programmes, you can be fined up to £1,000!
How Long Do TV Licences Last?
Once you’ve paid for and received your TV licence, you should be able to find its expiry date, which is typically on the licence itself.
In general, TV licences tend to last for one year – but not exactly 365 days.
TV licences will expire at the end of the 12th month starting from when you purchased them.
So if you purchase it on the first day of a month, you will get it for a full year. But if you purchase it towards the end of a month, you’ll end up having it for a few weeks less.
What Programmes Come with a TV Licence?
Finally, what kind of perks do you get from your TV licence, other than being able to watch whatever you want on your devices?
You’ll be happy to hear you get a basketful of perks for free, including:
- 9 national TV channels
- Regional TV services
- 10 pan-UK radio stations
- 6 national radio stations
- 40 local radio stations
- BBC Website (and all services hosted through it)
- BBC Three
- BBC iPlayer
- BBC Sounds
- BBC World Service
Why Do TV Licences Exist?
The main reason TV licences exist is that the money collected helps to fund the BBC, its programmes, and its services, so they stay ad-free.
This is why, once you pay for a TV licence, you can access all of BBC for free on all its platforms.
A TV licence allows you to watch, stream, and record live programmes on any device.
A live programme is any video that is being broadcast in real-time.
A color TV licence covers most modern devices. A black-and-white TV licence covers devices incapable of recording video.
A TV licence covers your home address but also covers you while on the move or temporarily staying somewhere.
A TV licence often costs £159, but you can get a discount or get it for free if you meet the requirements.
TV licences typically last 12 months.
You get various BBC services along with your TV licence.
TV licences help fund the BBC so it can continue its services and stay ad-free.
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.