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You Now Need A TV Licence To Watch BBC iPlayer

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Photographed by Kate Anglestein.
Bad news for BBC iPlayer devotees. From this morning, anyone who uses the service must own a TV licence – even if you only ever watch programmes on demand.

Up to now, users only needed a TV licence if they were watching the BBC live through the service, which many called the "iPlayer loophole".

They will now have to pay the annual £145.50 licence fee, which can be done online, regardless of the device you're using, the BBC reported.

Young people will be particularly affected by the new rule because, well, how many of us own TVs anymore? We're more likely to watch programmes on our laptops, tablets or smartphones.

TV Licensing, which enforces TV licensing rules, has reportedly started telling students about the changes, but said some may be covered by their parents' TV licence. It added that students should check its website for more information.

We don't know how the new rules will be enforced yet, however. A spokesperson for TV Licensing told the BBC that it has "a range of enforcement techniques", which "have already allowed us to prosecute people who watch on a range of devices, not just TVs". Gulp.

A pop-up window asking viewers to confirm that they've got a TV licence will now appear on iPlayer before they watch on-demand programmes. Previously this only popped up for viewers watching live TV.

One enforcement option being floated is having a pin number to access iPlayer.

Most UK households reportedly won't be affected by the change, because around 94% already have TV licences, a BBC spokesperson said.

So, it's worth checking whether or not you're already covered if you want to avoid whatever punishment will be dished out.
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