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More than 80% of Brits unaware of September 1st TV Licence change for iPlayer

Our TV viewing habits are changing. Streaming services such as Netflix are enormously popular and millions of us take advantage of catch-up TV from iPlayer, All4 and many others. In fact if you’re happy to rely on catch-up and streaming entirely you don’t need to pay for a TV licence, saving a cool £145 a year.

This has not gone unnoticed by the BBC. It has been looking at ways to plug the ‘iPlayer loophole’ for some time, and a decision has now been reached.

From the 1st of September a TV licence will be required to use iPlayer regardless of whether you’re watching live or catch-up. Failure to pay can result in a fine of up to £1,000 (£2,000 in Guernsey).

The TV licence requirement applies no matter how you access iPlayer, so as well as the web interface it will impact anyone who uses a games console, streaming box, smart TV, smartphone, tablet or any other device.

However, according to a poll we recently conducted most people are unaware of the impending change. Of the 1000 respondents an overwhelming majority of 82% said they did not previously know about the forthcoming requirement for a license to use iPlayer.

More than 25 million licences were issued in 2015 so most households will already be covered, but that still leaves a potentially large number of iPlayer users who could be liable for a fine.

For the moment though the BBC does not appear to be enforcing the licence by asking for a login, or otherwise linking iPlayer viewing data to paying households. While there are no technical barriers to stop them doing this, such a move is viewed as a slippery slope that will inevitably lead to a subscription based BBC. And that's something the corporation believes would not be in the best interests of itself or its viewers.

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