When I move to London in January I shall have a computer and internet but no TV.
Do I need a TV license?
In the past I would have said surely not.
But these days I understand that certain TV programmes are made available online at the same time that they are broadcast, and the TV licensing site says that if you use your computer to watch them then you need a TV license.
I would not be watching them, but presumably my computer would be capable of receiving them.
So do I need a TV license? Alternatively, could not having a TV license cause problems?
If you don't have a TV Licence, prepare to be hounded more than if you were committing grand larceny. The TV Licence enforcers are well known to be extremely threatening and simply not believe that someone would not wish to watch tv. You should see the excellent series of articles written by Charles Moore in the Spectator on his travails with these bullies.
You can get a taste of the letters you'll likely receive at http://www.bbctvlicence.com - I'm not sure if you get quite as many if you actually tell them you don't have a TV, as this chap appears not to have done.
If you don't have a TV Licence, prepare to be hounded more than if you were committing grand larceny. .
Indeed...in my youth I did a bit of flat sitting for my brother who was away at sea for six months.
Every flippin' couple of weeks two old men wearing Mackintosh coats and soft hats used to come knocking at the door and demand to see the TV license. Every time I'd tell them my brother who is the owner and rate payer is away sailing the seven seas and won't be back for months. After about 5 visits they eventually gave up.
All we had was a portable black and white.
Don't let the Walter Mitty's get you down....
I would let them know you don't need a license using this form, otherwise you'll likely get letters telling you that you need one.
You may get letters even if you inform them. They can be safely ignored. In fact, "registering" as a non-licence-holder will trigger a letter every few months or so.
I was living in a sort of student hall with random postdocs and researchers from other European universities who came over for a few months each. There was a communal area with a licenced TV, some people had TVs in their own rooms which required a separate licence, but nobody paid and nobody ever got any letters. This fellow decided to tell them that he had no TV, and then after that his room received demands for money every few months.
All the stuff about detector vans, information passed on from retailers, seems mostly to be nonsense.
Effectively, the TVLA assume that every household needs a TV licence until proven otherwise. A friend's experience: they send out a series of increasingly threatening letters. Eventually, someone may come round. They will ask if you have a television. You say no, they leave and you won't get any letters for another two years. Then the whole thing starts again.
I know that in 2005 they had people that went and inspected. I think we had one at one of our offices, looking for the tv. As long as you are watching catch up then there isnt an issue. My sister doesnt seem to be hounded at all. THe UK has changed, much more understanding. I am not sure what the ISP can see. On the iplayer (bbc version) they dont let you watch live tv anyway.
I can testify that they still bring large number of prosecutions against people who have failed to purchase a license. I am lucky that I have always had one, but I know personally that cases are still being processed.