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BBC iPlayer to require TV licence

The cost of catch-up

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Watching BBC iPlayer may soon be illegal if you do not possess a TV licence if proposals under consideration by the government become law.

As it stands, any UK resident viewing a live broadcast - be that on their TV, games console, mobile phone or fondleslab - must pay the annual licence fee of £145.50.

But it is not necessary to pay the UK's enforced annual BBC subscription if you just watch catch-up TV.

Past BBC research found that only 0.2 per cent of households use iPlayer and other catch-up services as their only source of telly content.

However, with heaps of internet-enabled set-top boxes ready to flood the market over the coming year, observers reckon many more people will start watching telly through catch-up services rather than as live broadcasts.

That is prompting the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to consider changing the law, The Guardian claims.

"Government is aware of developing technologies and the changing viewing habits of those who watch television programmes," the ministry told the paper. "How the BBC is funded as these issues evolve is a matter the department will need to address in the near future."

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt last year insisted the government wouldn't introduce a 'PC licence' fee.

A green paper on a new communications bill is expected this December. ®

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