Feeds

TV licence needed to watch the BBC on your PC

Even streamed content from its site

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Sneaky PC users who've been watching Jeremy Paxman for free on their PCs via the BBC's website need to buy themselves a TV licence, according to the licensing authority, writes Chris Ward-Johnson.

The advent of broadband xDSL and cable modem services means more and more people will be tuning in on their computer screens instead of watching on their tellies.

And, it seems, the licensing authorities have already thought about this one and are advising anyone who asks that yes, you do need to buy a full TV licence if you're tuning in on your PC.

"...a television licence is required if you use television receiving equipment to record and/or receive certain television programme services," says Anthony Hardwell, Policy Manager of the Post Office Policy Group. "This means a licence is needed to receive BBC, ITV, Channels 4 and 5, digital television, other terrestrial services, satellite television (from a place in the United Kingdom) and cable television."

So far, so reasonable - if you have a telly, you need a licence.

However, Mr Hardwell goes on: "With this in mind it does not matter how the service is received but whether or not it is."

I had asked the TV licensing authority for clarification of this point after being asked the question by one of the users of my technical help website at www.drkeyboard.com/chat. At first, their replies were a little unclear referring to 'computers with the facility to receive TV programmes' which seemed to mean just tallies with a tuner card.

But now, adds the Post Office's Michael Collins of their Customer Services department, "If your computer is capable of receiving live broadcasts, whether on-line, through an aerial or satellite dish, then it is classed as television receiving equipment..." You're OK if you already have a TV licence, but what about companies where staff are ogling Paxperson online?

"Your point concerning all on-line users requiring a licence maybe incorrect as a licence is only required if individuals use their PCs to receive programme services (i.e. Newsnight)," replied Mr Hardwell. "If (even though they have the capability) the individual chooses never to access such programme services a licence will not be necessary."

And, just in case you were wondering how on earth they'll know you're watching the news online, Mr Hardwell adds, "Finally our detection equipment is capable of picking up television reception via computer. And no, the BBC do not look at IP addresses for licence fee evasion."

It's my understanding that TV detector vans work by picking up the radiation emitted by cathode ray tube TVs - which should mean that, if you're rich enough to run an LCD monitor they'll never know you're a secret Paxman admirer.

Newsnight is shown, live, on the BBC website every weekday night at www.bbc.co.uk/newsnight.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?