Do you need a TV licence on your PC?

A customer of mine recently purchased a new laptop which had the ability to both watch and record . The customer asked if they needed to have a licence for this. I was totally unsure about this , 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”.

Doctor Who (David Tennent) on laptop TVA little digging around on the BBC site brought me to this article ( 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 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 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 online

This article is of course just a basic guide, and is not conclusive. The For further information on TV licences visit

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