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With TV licensing fees set to increase yet again in April, more and more people are questioning if the licence fee is worth the money and whether they actually need to buy one or not.
The BBC state:
“The fee you pay provides a wide range of TV, radio and online content, as well as developing new ways to deliver it to you. In addition to funding BBC programmes and services, a proportion of the licence fee contributes to the costs of rolling out broadband to the UK population and funding Welsh Language TV channel S4C and local TV channels.bbc.co.uk
The licence fee allows the BBC’s UK services to remain free of advertisements and independent of shareholder and political interest.”
When do you need a TV Licence?
Contrary to popular belief you only need a TV Licence if you
a) watch or record live TV (any live TV on any device)
b) watch BBC iPlayer
You don’t need a licence if you have a TV but don’t use it for either of the above.
You don’t need a TV licence if you only use streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon Video.
You don’t need a TV licence to watch Catch Up TV such as All 4 or ITV hub.
You also don’t currently need a licence if you’re over 75 years old.
Given that having a TV licence will set you back over £154 a year, it’s worth making sure you actually need one before shelling out.
It’s also worth mentioning that you don’t need to give up watching TV entirely to give up the licence, so there might be a cheaper alternative that actually works out better for you.
Alternative ways to get your telly fix
There are so many on demand streaming services out there now that it’s possible to get all the entertainment you need without needing live broadcast TV at all. You just need an internet connection and a smart device.
Amazon Prime Video is £5.99 per month which gives you access to thousands of TV shows and movies. If you upgrade to full Prime for £79 a year you also get free delivery when you buy from Amazon, which is great if you do a lot of shopping there. If you happen to be a student, you can get hold of both Prime and Amazon Video at a discounted rate.
Netflix also offers a huge library of Film and TV content and starts from £5.99 for a Standard Definition package.
The benefit of using these kinds of services is that you can watch what you want to watch, when you want to watch it. You don’t have to wait for a specific time on a specific day for it to come on telly.
Another great benefit is that you can cancel anytime, so if you decide it’s not for you, you don’t have to keep paying, or you could switch to try out another streaming service that might suit you better.
The downsides of not having a TV Licence are missing out on live news broadcasts and live sporting events, as well as not being able to watch certain time sensitive TV shows as they’re being shown, so if these things are important to you, then you might find the fee worth paying.
It’s definitely worth weighing up whether the benefits outweigh the savings.
Either way, it’s good to be aware of whether you’re actually using what you’re paying for!