Detection and penalties

Not covered by a TV Licence? You are breaking the law if you:

  • watch or record programmes as they're being shown on TV or live on an online TV service, or
  • download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer – live, catch up or on demand.

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

You could be prosecuted if we find that you have been watching, recording or downloading programmes illegally. The maximum penalty is a £1,000* fine plus any legal costs and/or compensation you may be ordered to pay.

*The maximum fine is £2,000 in Guernsey and £500 in Jersey.

A standard TV Licence costs £150.50 and a black and white licence costs £50.50.

How we can detect if you’re covered by a TV Licence

National database

We have a database of approximately 31 million licensed and unlicensed addresses. This tells us if your address has a TV Licence.

Enforcement officers

All our enforcement officers have access to this database. This means they can check if you have a licence or not.

If you tell us that you do not need a TV Licence, our officers may still visit you to confirm this.

Detector vans

We also have a fleet of detector vans that can detect the use of TV receiving equipment at specifically targeted addresses within minutes.

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

General information about TV Licensing is available in other languages: