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Main BBC channels to be broadcast live via web

TV licence required

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Viewers in the UK will be offered broadcasts of BBC One and Two live online from 27 November, the BBC said today.

The long-trailed move will see Auntie's top-rated channels join its yoof channel BBC Three, highbrow channel BBC Four, the BBC News channel and children's channels live online. As with iPlayer, video will be offered in the near-ubiquitous Flash format.

Jana Bennett, director of BBC Vision, said: "The launch of BBC One and BBC Two online completes our commitment to make our portfolio of channels available to watch on the internet. From 27 November licence fee payers will be able to watch BBC programmes, live, wherever they are in the UK on their computers, mobile phones and other portable devices."

Note "licence fee payers" in that quote. While catching up with shows on iPlayer does not require a TV licence, watching any live broadcast - including over the internet - does.

Big headaches lurk for enforcement authorities if live online viewing enters the mainstream: will cafes that offer Wi-Fi be required to buy a business TV licence in case their customers watch a bit of BBC One, for example? ®

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