We in the UK who don't do our homework (that means most of us) are led to believe that if you own a TV you must have a licence. We've always known
it. Even the threatening big bro telly adverts have told us that. But it's a lie. It's confusing too, and relies on us being scared of going to
court, or to jail. So we cough up our nearly £150 per year like obedient puppies. It's like paying gangsters to leave you alone. You might not
need to pay them.
This thread isn't about showing anyone how to break the law. This is about pointing out why you might not need something that you're paying for
religiously every year.
I think I might not need a licence. More correctly, if I tweak my lifestyle a tiny bit more then I definitely wont need one. But will I still be
hassled if I'm within the law?
This is what I've found out so far.
Myth 1 - you own a TV you must have a licence.
From the TV licence website
A reminder of the law.
The law states that you need to be covered by a TV Licence if you watch or record television programmes, on any device, as they're being shown on
TV. This includes TVs, computers, mobile phones, games consoles, digital boxes and Blu-ray/DVD/VHS recorders.
You don't need a licence if you don't use any of these devices to watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV - for
example, if you use your TV only to watch DVDs or play video games, or you only watch ‘catch up’ services like BBC iPlayer or 4oD.
Myth 2 - the TV detector van will catch you if you watch TV without a licence.
But no evidence from a detector van has ever been used in court. Has it? Here's an example of how confusing things are for
us.How do TV detector vans work? Do they know what channel you're
watching, or just that you have the TV on?
TV Licensing detector vans – menace or myth?
TV licence cheats make
up a TENTH of all magistrate court cases
The BBC explained that the number of detector vans in operation, the location of their deployment and the frequency is not common knowledge. It relies
on the public perception that the vans could be used at any time to catch evaders. This perception has built up since the first van was launched in
1952 and has been a key cost effective method in deterring people from evading their licence fee.
The BBC state that to release information which relates to the number of detection devices and how often they are used will change the public’s
perception of their effectiveness. If the deterrent effect is lost, the BBC believes that a significant number of people would decide not to pay their
licence fee, knowing how the deployment and effectiveness of vans and other equipment will affect their chances of success in avoiding detection.
- (and two out of three are women). Is it because there are so many cheaters that honest non-TV
watching and non-TV owners are being hassled so much?
TV Licence Fee: briefing
You DO need a licence -
You need a TV Licence to watch or record TV programmes as they are being shown on television, irrespective of what channel you're watching, what
device you are using (TV, computer, laptop, mobile phone or any other), and how you receive them (terrestrial, satellite, cable, via the internet or
any other way).
You DON'T need a licence -
You do not need a TV Licence if you are watching TV after it has been shown on television, eg TV programmes downloaded or streamed after broadcast.
I rarely watch TV as it is being shown on TV
. If it's on, it's to watch a DVD, or some odd show I've missed as it was being shown on
, so I'll catch it on Iplayer or 4OD. You don't need a licence to watch them.
On the TV licencing website there's a form to fill in if you want to cancel your licence. Seems easy enough. But what happens after? How
often do they come to the door pretending they have more rights than they do and want access into your house? That happens. People who don't even
own a TV are sent letters threatening investigations, warrants, hefty fines and even jail. Has anyone on ATS given up telly and experienced this
Again - I want nothing to do with any illegality. I just want to know the facts. This is about changing a little thing in my household so I can save
on the licence fee, which I disagree with because it's outdated and bad-mannered and threatening. But I want to know what I'm up against. It's
not as simple as stopping watching TV "as it is being broadcast".
Letters from BBC Television Licensing
I enter my seventh year as a prisoner in my own home, but the good news is that I have saved £966 by not paying TVL/BBC and, assuming 50p a letter,
cost the BBC a further £29 in postage.
Here's where a fraction of the licence fee money goes.
BBC expenses: list of
salaries earned by BBC's top managers
BBC spend £13m chasing licence fee avoiders
The price of
beauty: BBC to spend £100,000 of licence fee payer’s money on make-up artists for news presenters