The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #135828   Message #3098641
Posted By: Bernard
19-Feb-11 - 02:15 PM
Thread Name: Tech: TV licence rules concerning PC, Mob UK
Subject: RE: Tech: TV licence rules concerning PC, Mob UK
The rule is very clear.

As the law currently stands: you need to be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record TV as it's being broadcast. This includes the use of devices such as a computer, laptop, mobile phone or DVD/video recorder (source).

So, yes, watching live TV on your computer would require a licence. Similarly, watching something recorded with Tivo/Sky+ would also require a licence (since you received it "live", even if you didn't watch it until later).

Oddly, the source of the TV signal is irrelevant. So if you're watching a live stream of France 24 (produced in France, and paid for by French taxpayers) on your computer (not your television) then you still need a licence from the BBC!

However, a grey area seems to have crept in whereby it is no longer illegal to have an unlicensed TV which you only use for watching DVDs, etc., even though it is capable of receiving an off-air signal. At one time, merely having a TV in the house with no licence was illegal - even if the TV was not in working order (source)!

For anyone who is unsure, the household requires a licence, not the TV - so you could run TV sets in every room of the house with just one licence. The parents' licence may not cover children in full time education living elsewhere, though...