HomeLifestyleHow Much is a TV License in the UK?

How Much is a TV License in the UK?

Lights, camera, action! Whether you’re a fan of gripping dramas, side-splitting comedies, or nail-biting sports events, having a TV is practically a must-have in every household. But did you know that in the UK, watching live TV or streaming content online requires something called a TV licence? That’s right – it’s not just about finding the best show to binge-watch; it’s also about staying on the right side of the law.

So if you’ve ever wondered how much is a TV licence in the UK and why exactly we need one, then grab your popcorn and settle in as we delve into this fascinating topic. Get ready for an article jam-packed with information that will keep you glued to your screen – legally!

Why Do I Need a TV Licence?

Why Do I Need a TV Licence?

In the UK, a TV licence is required by law if you watch or record live television broadcasts, or if you watch or download content from the BBC iPlayer platform. The revenue generated from TV licences goes towards funding the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), which provides a wide range of television, radio, and online content.

The TV licence fee helps support the production of high-quality programming across various genres, including news, drama, documentaries, entertainment, and educational content. It also helps fund local and regional programming, as well as the BBC’s international services, such as BBC World News and BBC Worldwide.

By enforcing the TV licence requirement, the BBC is able to maintain its independence and provide programming without relying solely on advertising revenue or subscription fees. This ensures that the BBC can continue to deliver a diverse and impartial range of content for the benefit of the general public.

How to Apply for a TV Licence?

Applying for a TV licence in the UK is a straightforward process. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Determine if you need a TV licence: As mentioned earlier, you need a TV licence if you watch or record live television broadcasts or use the BBC iPlayer platform to watch or download content.
  2. Visit the TV Licensing website: Go to the official TV Licensing website at www.tvlicensing.co.uk. This is the recommended method for applying for a TV licence.
  3. Choose your payment method: On the website, you’ll have the option to pay for your TV licence annually, quarterly, or monthly. Select the payment plan that suits you best.
  4. Complete the application form: Fill out the online application form with accurate and up-to-date information. You’ll be asked to provide details such as your name, address, contact information, and the type of TV licence you require.
  5. Check and submit your application: Review the information you’ve entered to ensure it is correct. Once you’re satisfied, submit your application.
  6. Make the necessary payment: After submitting your application, you’ll need to make the payment for your chosen TV licence option. The TV Licensing website provides various payment methods, including direct debit, debit or credit card, or PayPoint.
  7. Receive your TV licence: Once your payment is processed, you’ll receive your TV licence through the mail. This will be a paper document that you should keep in a safe place. Note that you can also access a digital version of your TV licence through the TV Licensing website.

It’s important to remember that you should apply for a TV licence before you start watching or recording live television or using the BBC iPlayer platform. Failure to do so may result in penalties and legal consequences.

How Much is a TV License in the UK?

How Much is a TV License in the UK?

The cost of a TV licence in the UK depends on the type of licence you require and the payment plan you choose. Here is a breakdown of the current fees:

1. Standard TV Licence:

  • Annual payment: £159.00
  • Quarterly payment: £41.25
  • Monthly payment: £13.66

2. Black and White TV Licence:

  • Annual payment: £53.50
  • Quarterly payment: £13.97
  • Monthly payment: £4.63

It’s important to note that these fees are subject to change. The government periodically reviews and adjusts TV licence fees based on various factors. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to check the official TV Licensing website or contact their customer service for the most up-to-date information regarding the cost of a TV licence.

It’s also worth mentioning that there are certain concessions and exemptions available for specific groups, such as people who are blind or severely visually impaired. These individuals may be eligible for a reduced fee or complete exemption from TV licence fees. If you believe you qualify for a concession or exemption, you should visit the TV Licensing website or contact their customer service for further guidance and assistance.

If You Live in a Shared Household

If you reside in accommodations where each tenant has their own tenancy agreement and you watch television in your individual room, you are required to obtain your own TV Licence. However, if you watch television in a communal area that is shared by all residents or if there is a joint tenancy agreement covering the entire household, only one TV Licence for the entire household is necessary.

This means that if you watch TV in a space that is accessible to all occupants, or if the tenancy agreement encompasses all residents, you do not need individual licences for each tenant. This system helps streamline the licensing process and ensures that households with shared spaces or joint agreements adhere to licensing regulations efficiently

TV Licence for Students

TV Licence for Students

For students in the UK, the rules regarding TV licences can vary depending on your specific circumstances. Here’s a general overview:

  1. If you live in university-provided accommodation: In most cases, if you live in halls of residence that are managed and owned by your university, you may already be covered by a single TV licence that is obtained by the university on behalf of all students. This means you don’t need an individual TV licence as long as you only watch TV on devices that are powered by their own internal batteries (such as a laptop or smartphone) and not connected to an aerial or plugged into the mains.
  2. If you live off-campus in private accommodation: If you live in private rented accommodation, including shared houses or flats, you need to check whether your tenancy agreement covers a TV licence. Some agreements may include a joint TV licence for all tenants, while others may require individual licences. It’s best to clarify this with your landlord or letting agency.
  3. Watching TV in your room or on personal devices: If you have your own separate tenancy agreement or you’re unsure about the TV licence status of your accommodation, and you watch or record live TV broadcasts or use the BBC iPlayer platform, you’ll need to purchase your own TV licence. This applies regardless of whether you watch TV on a television set or on personal devices such as laptops, tablets, or smartphones.
  4. Discounts and refunds: If you’re a student and you’ve already paid for a full TV licence, but you’re leaving university or no longer need it, you may be eligible for a refund for any full quarters remaining. You can request the refund directly from TV Licensing.

What Do I Not Need a TV Licence for?

In the UK, there are certain situations where you may not need a TV licence. Here are some examples:

  1. Non-live content: If you only watch on-demand services, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or YouTube, and you do not watch or download live TV broadcasts (including sports events, news, or shows being broadcasted in real-time), you are not required to have a TV licence.
  2. Catch-up services: If you only use catch-up services like ITV Hub, All 4, My5, or other similar platforms to watch previously broadcasted content, and you do not watch or download live TV broadcasts from these services, you do not need a TV licence.
  3. DVDs, Blu-rays, and gaming consoles: If you solely use your television for watching pre-recorded DVDs or Blu-ray discs, or for playing video games on gaming consoles (without connecting to an aerial or using the internet for live TV reception), you are not required to have a TV licence.
  4. Radio: Listening to live radio broadcasts, whether analogue or digital, does not require a TV licence.
  5. Closed-circuit surveillance systems: If you are using your television solely for closed-circuit surveillance systems, such as for monitoring CCTV cameras on your property, and you do not receive or watch live TV broadcasts, you do not need a TV licence.

Do Over-75s Need a TV licence?

There have been changes to the TV licence regulations for those over-75s in the UK. Previously, all households with residents aged 75 or older were entitled to a free TV licence funded by the government. However, starting from August 1, 2020, the responsibility for funding free TV licences for over-75s was transferred from the government to the BBC.

Under the new rules, not all over-75 households are automatically eligible for a free TV licence. The entitlement to a free TV licence is now means-tested based on the income of the individuals or couples residing in the household.

If you or your partner living at the residence are aged 75 or over and receive Pension Credit, you will still be eligible for a free TV licence. Pension Credit is a means-tested benefit aimed at providing support for older individuals and couples in the UK.

If you are not eligible for Pension Credit or if you do not claim it, you will be responsible for purchasing a TV licence if you watch or record live television broadcasts or use the BBC iPlayer platform. The regular TV licence fees will apply based on your chosen payment plan.

Why Won’t the BBC pay for It?

Why Won't the BBC pay for It?

The Labour Government initially covered the free licence fee in 2000. In 2015, under the Conservatives, an agreement was made between the Government and the BBC, transferring the cost to the broadcaster. However, in 2019, the BBC claimed financial constraints and reversed the policy, prompting pensioners to pay.

As part of the arrangement, over-75s commenced paying licence fees from August 1, 2020, following a two-month delay due to the pandemic. The BBC justified the decision, citing potential “unprecedented closures” if it continued funding free TV licences for all over-75s.


In conclusion, the TV license fee in the UK is an important source of funding for public broadcasting and offers a wide range of quality programming. It is a legal requirement for anyone watching or recording live television to have a valid TV license, but there are various discounts and exemptions available.

By understanding how much it costs and where your money goes, you can make an informed decision about whether to purchase a license or not. Thank you for reading this article and staying informed about the current regulations regarding TV licensing in the UK.


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