A customer of mine recently purchased a new laptop which had the ability to both watch and record Freeview TV. The customer asked if they needed to have a TV licence for this. I was totally unsure about this question, but all the same logic told me that if you watch TV through any medium, you will need a TV licence. So my answer (in short) was “yes”.
A little digging around on the BBC site brought me to this article (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/5081350.stm) which answered all the questions I and my customer needed to know, and a little more.
The article in short tells you:-
- The law states that if you use a device to receive TV signals you must have a TV licence. This includes a computer if you watch live TV
- Computer users only needed a TV licence if they have a video card that could receive TV signals. The TV Licensing Authority now says, for example, watching the BBC’s World Cup coverage over a broadband Internet connection will require a licence
- You are however free to watch archived TV shows or clips without a licence, for example, the BBCi player, and ITV’s online archive
- the law does not yet require retailers to notify the Authority when people buy PCs, unless they are pre-configured to receive TV signals
Source: BBC News online
This article is of course just a basic guide, and is not conclusive. The For further information on TV licences visit www.tvlicensing.co.uk.