BBC iPlayer now requires a TV Licence to watch your favorite shows online

Whether you watch online, on your Windows 10 Mobile phone or on your Xbox One, from today you need a TV Licence to watch content on the BBC iPlayer.

Until now there has been a loophole in the regulations that kept the online leg of BBCs broadcasting outside the need for a TV Licence, the mandatory payment for watching television that funds the BBC. That loophole said that only live TV delivered through iPlayer was subject to the rules and not on-demand content. This has now been locked down by the Beeb and the Government and if you watch, you pay.

A TV Licence costs £145.50 a year and applies to anyone who watches live TV and BBC content. Other on-demand, online only services from ITV, Channel 4 and the likes of Amazon and Netflix remain unaffected.

Find out more about TV Licensing and the BBC iPlayer

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at

  • Yeah that won't be happening
  • I mean, if you have a TV and you watch it you have to pay it anyway.
  • Which is a total scam, there is no option not to pay if you don't want to and are happy skipping BBC programming, especially if you have a monthly Sky sub. Almost as bad as the ripoff that is the tax disk.
  • tax disc
  • Pretty much. BBC's relevance in this increasingly online world isn't going to be improved by this move. Not to imply that we're entitled to getting their shows for free of course, but I can't see many people buying a TV license now if they didn't have one already.
  • And how many people would complain like mad if the BBC started filling shows with ads?
  • First thing I noticed when I moved stateside.
  • How many people are complaining now? You certainly can't please everyone.
  • Hold on... I just tried it out on my phone. It just asks if you have a license... Yes or No...
  • Right, if you don't have a licence they can find out. They've been able to find out for decades.
  • They havnt revealed how they will enforce it, most likely subscription and a passcode or soething like Netflix.
  • It will become part of general TV Licence enforcement. We don't have to know how they do it, they just do it.
  • BBC has really gone downhill, only thing I watch is Dr Who, now I wont even watch that, maybe if I visit a friend and they have it :D I am patient, I can wait.  
  • Can't you buy all the Dr Who episodes in the BBC Store app anyway? If you do that you don't need a TV License. We've always has one, not worth the hassle to lie about it but many people do. If you don't have one they pretty much assume you do anyway and will write to you about it. If you buy a TV the store usually asks for your address where it will be used too. I actually always assumed you needed a TV License for iPlayer anyway all this time.
  • What a complete waste of time, everyone (very nearly everyone) has a TV and therefore has a licence anyway. The only way I can see them screwing more money from this (which is ultimately their goal obviously) is from students staying away from home, where previously they may have used a tablet/laptop to watch iPlayer catch-up for free, they'll now be expected to pay for it.   Also, if you say you have one when prompted and you haven't actually got one, how are they going to enforce this and what would the punishment be?
  • I dont and a lot of other people who switched from live content to recorded dont either, I dont need a license to watch netflix, news I get from the web and everything else is pretty rubbish, the quality of content has nosedived, theres a reason the BBC had crisis talks as theres a huge hole in thier finances due to people cancelling license, they are closigng many things, the whole food web channel is going.  BBC cant continue thier current model, advertising will have to play a part soon.   As for punishment, its a fine, pesisit and/or non payment = court action.
  • You can blame Her Majesty's government for this. If they hadn't decided that the Beeb should pay for ridiculous government policies such as the free TV licence for over 75s, or fund the World Service, they wouldn't be trying to claw more funds from elsewhere.
  • One of my favorite channels, but I won't be paying them anything; OMG55 out!
  • Does it mean that I can watch nothing using iPlayer if I don't have a TV license?
  • Yep, just like you can watch nothing on Netflix if you don't have a subscription. You can watch nothing anywhere if you just close your eyes though, to be fair.
  • Not legally, no.
  • Correct
  • Legally, you are right.
  • Very little 'proper sports' now. Even the 6 nations is split between them and ITV. Channel 4 now have F1. Both free. The FA Cup is shared out as well as the Euro's.... Did anyone else notice the sheer volume of presenters in Rio!! 3 Athletics, 3 in studio and Clare Balding every bl**dy where, another 3 in the swimming...... What a joke! And, you and I, as licence payers footed the bill!! Obscene! Oh yeah, then they bounce the Olympic schedule around to accommodate those who want to watch half hour of drivel in some fictional part of London!! From what I heard on 5Live this morning, its relatively straight forward to pin down those without a licence using iPlayer. They were on about ISP's and IP addresses being linked to a user, and thus, having a home address to hand. I would of thought just blocking it would do! I usually watch sky, and very rarely watch any beeb output. I still need a licence even though I pay my subs to sky. One of the biggest scams ever. You pay even though you very rarely, if ever watch it!!!
  • By all means continue in your blissful ignorance 2%ters but let's not moan about it when they fine you.
  • Wonder if Scotland should be payed dues from everyone who buys a TV as it was a scot that invented it. LoL nah I say abolish the Scam that is the TV licence and make BBC channels pay per view. I guess that will never happen as the people upstairs in the BBC know that would soon lead to the end of the BBC.
  • It asks if you have one, yes or no, then when you click yes it just lets you. There's no verification looool
  • Would prefer the BBC to have all It's funding cut, and make it survive as SKY and others do. I don't use their services, watch their programs or need their radio output... Yet I'm still paying the licence fee.
  • So they've chosen to drastically reduce viewership (nobody is going to do this), which will in turn reduce their ad revenue. Doesn't seem like a smart move.
  • BBC please for effs sake, give us a PROPER APP like iOS and Android. Just port one of these over. We winpho users want to download progs and watch off line like everyone else! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android