Understanding your TV Licence

Live TV on any channel and BBC iPlayer

The law says you need to be covered by a TV Licence to:

  • watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV, on any channel
  • watch or stream programmes live on an online TV service (such as ITV Hub, All 4, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV, Sky Go, etc.)
  • download or watch any BBC programmes on BBC iPlayer.

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

If you don’t have a TV Licence, here’s some more information to help you:

Watching TV live on any channel or TV service.

Watching on BBC iPlayer.

What does your TV Licence fee pay for?

What your TV Licence covers

For a main home or business

It covers the use and installation of TV receiving equipment at the premises specified on the licence.

For a vehicle, boat or touring caravan used as your second home

It covers:

  • The current licence holder
  • Anyone who normally lives with them at the licensed premises
  • Anyone who normally works at the licensed premises (as long as the vehicle, boat or caravan is being used for business purposes)

For a static caravan, mobile home or moveable chalet used as your second home

You’re covered by your main home’s TV Licence, as long as you or your family don’t watch, record or download programmes in both premises at the same time.

At any location

Any device powered solely by its own internal batteries (i.e. it is not connected to an aerial or plugged into the mains).

What your TV Licence doesn’t cover

Parts of your premises which are separate from the main premises. This may include areas occupied by tenants, lodgers or paying guests. It may also include self-contained units on the premises.

A black and white TV Licence is only valid if you use a digital box that can’t record TV programmes. This is because all recording equipment records in colour. Even if you have a black and white TV or monitor, a black and white licence will not cover you to download BBC programmes on BBC iPlayer or record any live TV. You will need a colour licence for this. This applies to any device you use.

Conditions of your TV Licence

The licence fee must be paid either in full or according to a payment plan agreed with TV Licensing. Find out how long a licence lasts.

You can also see the full terms and conditions of a standard TV Licence, or find out more about TV Licence legislation and policy.

Your licence is issued on behalf of the BBC as the licensing authority under the Communications Act 2003.

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: