Do you need a TV Licence?

You need to be covered by a TV Licence to

  • watch or record live TV programmes on any channel (including BBC)
  • download or watch any BBC programmes on iPlayer – live, catch up or on demand.

This applies to any provider you use and any device, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder.

A standard TV Licence costs £145.50. Find out about ways to pay. Find out about free, reduced fee and business licences below.

Find out if you need a Licence video Watch our YouTube video to find out when you need a TV Licence.

Answers to your questions

What is live TV and when do I need a licence for it?

Live TV means any programme you watch or record as it’s being shown on TV or live on any online TV service. It’s not just live events like sport, news and music. It covers all programmes on any channel, including soaps, series, documentaries and even movies.

If you’re watching live TV, you need to be covered by a TV Licence:

  • if you’re watching on TV or on an online TV service
  • for all channels, not just the BBC
  • if you record a programme and watch it later
  • if you watch a programme on a delay
  • to watch or record repeats
  • to watch or record programmes on +1, +2 and +24 channels
  • to watch live programmes on Red Button services
  • even if you already pay for cable, satellite or other TV services

Find out more about watching live TV.

An online TV service is any streaming or smart TV service, website or app that lets you watch live TV over the internet. This includes services like All 4, Sky Go, Virgin Media, Now TV, BT TV, Apple TV, YouTube, Amazon Instant Video and ITV Hub. Find out more about watching online and on mobile devices.

What about BBC iPlayer?

You also need to be covered to download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer – live, catch up or on demand. This applies to any device and provider you use.

Find out more about watching on BBC iPlayer.

Don’t have a TV? You could still need a TV Licence for other devices.

It doesn’t matter what device you use. If you watch or record live TV programmes on any channel, or download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer, you need to be covered by a TV Licence. This includes:

  • TV sets (including smart TVs)
  • DVD, Blu-ray and VHS recorders
  • Laptops and desktop computers
  • Tablets, mobile phones and other portable devices
  • Digital boxes or PVRs (such as Sky, Virgin Media or BT TV)
  • Games consoles
  • Media streaming devices (such as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku and Now TV)
  • Freeview, Freesat or YouView

Pay for a TV Licence now or find out about ways to pay.

Tell us if you think you don't need a TV Licence

For your home, business or organisation

For you and your home.

For your business or organisation.

You need a TV Licence if anyone on your premises watches or records live TV programmes on any channel, or downloads or watches BBC programmes on iPlayer, on devices provided by your business.

This applies to employees at their desks, in a canteen or staff area, and customers in waiting areas, shop floors or anywhere else. Find out more about licences for businesses or organisations.

Think you don’t need a TV Licence?

  • No TV and not using a computer, laptop, phone or other device to watch live TV on any channel or any BBC programmes on iPlayer?
  • Empty property or unoccupied address?
  • Covered by another licence?

Please tell us if you think you don't need a TV Licence.



If you still have questions take a look at TV Licensing FAQs where you can find all the answers in one place.