The law says you need to be covered by a TV Licence to:
This applies to watching live on a mobile phone or on any device or TV service.
A colour TV Licence costs £157.50. Find out about ways to pay.
Do I need a TV Licence to watch TV programmes live on an online-only TV channel or service?
Yes. Online-only TV channels still count as live TV, so you need a TV Licence if you’re watching or recording their programmes.
What’s ‘live TV’? What’s an ‘online TV service’?
Live TV means any programme you watch or record as it’s being shown on TV or live on an online TV service. 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. Popular services include BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, Channel 4 Watch Live, All 4, Sky Go, Virgin Media, Now TV, BT TV, Apple TV, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and Roku.
It depends what you watch.
You don’t need a licence if you only ever watch on demand or catch up programmes on services other than BBC iPlayer (and you also never watch TV programmes live on any channel or TV service, including on iPlayer).
But you do need a licence if you watch or record TV programmes live on any channel or TV service. Or you download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer – live or on demand. This applies to any device and provider you use.
If you’re using a mobile device powered solely by its own internal batteries – like a smartphone, tablet or laptop – you will be covered by your home’s TV Licence, wherever you’re using it in the UK and Channel Islands.
However, if you’re away from home and plug one of these devices into the mains and use it to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel or device, or to download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer, you need to be covered by a separate TV Licence at that address (unless you’re in a vehicle or vessel like a train, car or boat). It’s the law.
You need a TV Licence to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel or device, no matter where they are broadcast or distributed from. This includes satellite or online streamed programmes from outside the UK or Channel Islands, such as sporting events and foreign shows.
Subscription channels like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Now TV are television services that are normally paid for on a monthly basis via cable, satellite or the internet.
You will need a TV Licence if you watch live TV on a subscription channel. But you don’t need a TV Licence to watch on demand programmes (other than those on BBC iPlayer) on paid-for subscription channels.
Please tell us if you think you don't need a TV Licence.