It'll now cost you £145 to watch iPlayer

Tv license 2016

From the 1st of September every household who streams or downloads TV on BBC iPlayer will be required to shell out £145.50 a year for a TV Licence. It used to be that people who exclusively watched TV online were exempt from paying for a licence, but the law is changing this September.

Unfortunately for students you will need to get your own one for where you live at uni, as your parents' licence will only apply to their house and your devices when they're not plugged into the mains.

This will be most expensive for students in halls

According to TV Licensing rules every lockable door with a TV in it requires a separate TV Licence, so for halls your floor might have a shared kitchen, but each single room will need its own £145.50 TV Licence if you want to watch BBC iPlayer. If you live in a shared house or flat it's legal for you to split a single TV Licence between the entire house.

Is there any way I can avoid this?

The simple answer is not to watch BBC iPlayer. The law remains unchanged if you're watching TV on Netflix, NOW TV, All 4, Amazon Prime Video, ITV Player, 5 on Demand or any other online streaming service.

Or you could just never plug your phone, laptop or tablet into the mains while you're watching it.

But I'm not even at my uni flat June-September...

As part of this new law you can get a refund if you're not using your TV Licence. It's around £12 a month you'll get back, they've told us:

"From April 2017, TV Licensing will be offering monthly refunds, as noted in the government’s White Paper on the BBC of 12 May 2016. If students have any unused months left on their licence when they leave their student address, they will be able to apply for a refund. A refund will only apply if the licence is not needed again before it expires. "

Here's the full press release we were sent with more information on how to pay your TV Licence:

The start of the academic year will bring many changes for students, including, for the first time, the need to buy a TV Licence to download or watch BBC programmes on demand.

A change in the law means as of 1 September 2016, a licence will be needed to download or watch BBC programmes on demand, including catch up TV, on BBC iPlayer.

Research by TV Licensing* has revealed iPlayer is the most popular catch up platform used by students, ahead of sites such as YouTube and services including Netflix**.

The survey confirms 2 in 3 students view catch up TV, with many watching on-demand programmes. With less than a quarter of students (22 per cent) taking a TV with them to university, online viewing on mobile devices has become by far the favoured way of consuming catch up TV content.

Watching TV remains an integral part of university life with 84 per cent of students finding it gives them the chance to relax on their own and more than half (60 per cent) citing TV viewing as a great opportunity to unwind with friends.

Caroline McCourt, spokesperson for TV Licensing, said:

“Watching catch up TV is really popular among students and we want to make sure students are aware of the change in law. From 1 September, everyone will need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch BBC TV programmes on demand – including catch up – on iPlayer. Students can check at our dedicated TV Licence for students page whether they are correctly licensed before the big move.”

“And, of course, you still need to be covered by a licence for all live viewing and recording, no matter which channel you are watching or what device you are watching on.” Students who already have a licence will be covered automatically. Those who do not will need a licence from 1 September to watch BBC programmes on-demand on BBC iPlayer, including where iPlayer is accessed through another provider such as Sky or Virgin.

A licence will not be needed to watch other on-demand services, such as ITV Player or Netflix. This applies to all devices, including a smart TV, desktop computer or laptop, mobile phone, tablet, digital box or games console.

In limited circumstances, students can be covered by the licence at their parents’ address. The device must be powered by its own internal batteries – e.g. a tablet or mobile phone - and must not be plugged it into the mains when receiving television. This use is enabled by the Regulations governing TV Licensing.

If you are at university, visit our dedicated TV Licence for students FAQ section, or contact an adviser over the phone on 0300 790 6113.

Find more information and the answers to the most frequently asked questions about TV Licence and the change in the law.

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