Exceptions to the Licence
... being legally Licence-free.
Set yourself free
There are some important exceptions to the Licensing laws, and with catch-up and video-on-demand services now widely available, it's become very easy for even avid TV watchers to dispense with their Licences - completely legally.
We consider it an absolute right under UK law to be able to live happily, without fuss from TVL, when you have no need of a TV Licence. There is no legal basis for them to harass you or to check inside your home for illicit TV watching.
Legally Licence Free options
The law has now changed so that BBC's iPlayer requires a TV Licence to use, but don't worry, that still leaves all of this:-
- The catch-up services of commercial broadcasters, including ITV Hub, All4 and Demand5.
- Dedicated video-on-demand services, including Youtube, Netflix and Amazon.
- Pre-recorded content, like DVDs, and even DVDs recorded off-air at a Licensed address and taken elsewhere to view.
We don't recommend that you maintain a Sky or Virgin Media contract that includes TV within it just to get access to Broadband and Catch-up (and it's an expensive way to do that, anyway).
The new law on iPlayer comes complete with various loopholes:-
- Download content whilst you/your laptop, phone or tablet are in a Licensed location
- Sit in your Licensed neighbour's garden and watch/download your programmes
- Place a downloading device e.g. an old laptop in a neighbour's Licensed property with their agreement, and share its harddrive to your equipment
These options require a Licence, but are outside the scope of current TVL enforcement capability:-
- Download content in a public place, or in a vehicle.
- Download content whilst your property is unoccupied.
There is now a huge range of equipment that provides access to Catch-up services and Video-on-demand.
Whilst we're not going to recommend any particular solution (because people's needs vary), you may want
to consider the following (list compiled November 2016)...
- Youview - these boxes work very well without an aerial connection and presently provide free access to: ITV Hub, All4, Demand5, UKTV Play and paid services from Sky and Netflix (offering may vary according to service provider - BT, Plusnet or Talktalk).
- Now TV - Sky's little Internet streaming box is great value at £15, and provides access to many licence-free services. You can also obtain various Sky subs on it in Catch-up form.
- Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire HD - these manufacturers' boxes provide various degrees of openness and flexibility in accessing on-line and catch-up services. Prices from around £30.
- Videogame consoles - each has their own offering for catch-up and online video.
- And, of course, Smart TVs - simply leave the aerial unconnected
Copyright free - content may be freely re-used to resist the TV Licence
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