Do I need a TV licence? Which channels does the licence fee cover and how to pay it

Following last week’s news that almost two million people stopped paying their licence fee last year, here’s everything you need to know if you are thinking of cancelling yours and whether you will be breaking the law.

If you’re in the category of people who think that you don’t need a TV Licence as long as you don’t watch anything on the BBC, there are other misconceptions about the licence fee you should be aware of. Here’s what you need to know.

Do I need a TV Licence?

You need a TV Licence to watch programmes LIVE on any TV service - such as terrestrial TV, Sky, Virgin and BT, plus ITV Hub, All 4, Amazon Prime Video and Now TV.

Do I need a TV licence? Which channels does the licence fee cover and how to pay it. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

I have more than one TV, do I need a licence for all of them?

No, only one is required per household.

What can I watch without a TV Licence?

You don't need a TV Licence if you only ever watch on demand programmes on any TV service, apart from BBC iPlayer.

How much could I be fined if I watch live TV without a licence?

You are breaking the law and will be fined if you:

Watch or record programmes as they're being shown on TV or live on an online TV service.

Download or watch BBC programmes on BBC iPlayer – live, catch up or on demand.

This applies to any device or provider you use, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or any other type of live TV recorder.

You could be prosecuted if you have been watching, recording or downloading programmes illegally. The maximum penalty is a £1,000 fine in addition to any legal costs and/or compensation you may be ordered to pay.

How much is a TV Licence?

A standard TV Licence costs £159. You can spread the payments over 12 months. This can be bought online at any time throughout the year and renewals can also be made though the TV Licence website.

Are there any concessions?

If you’re aged 74 and over and you or your partner living at the same address receive Pension Credit, you could get a free licence.

If you live in a care home or sheltered accommodation you may be able to pay a discounted fee of £7.50.

If you’re blind (severely sight impaired) you can apply to pay half of the licence fee. This is priced at £79.50.

A black and white licence is also available at a cost of £53.50.

Where can I get a TV Licence?

You can get a new licence or renew your current licence here.

You can also pay for your TV Licence at a PayPoint using cash or a debit card. Just tell the person behind the counter that you want to pay for a TV Licence. They will ask for your name, address and postcode. If you are renewing your TV Licence, show them the reminder you should have been sent in the post.

Find your nearest PayPoint here.