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Watching online and on mobile devices
The law says you need to be covered by a TV Licence to:
- watch ('or stream') programmes live on an online TV service
(such as ITV Hub, All 4, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV or Sky Go)
- watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV, on any channel
- download or watch any BBC programmes on iPlayer.
This applies to watching live on a mobile phone or on any device or TV service.
A colour TV Licence costs £159. Find out about ways to pay.
Other TV Licence types and costs
Do I need a TV Licence to watch TV programmes showing live on an online-only TV channel or service?
Yes. You need a TV Licence if you watch programmes showing live on any online TV channel or service.
An online TV service is any streaming or smart TV service, website or app that lets you watch TV programmes over the internet. These include BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, Netflix, Sky Go, Now TV, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV and YouTube.
Any other questions
It depends what you watch.
You don’t need a licence if you only ever watch on demand or catch up programmes on services other than BBC iPlayer (and you also never watch TV programmes live on any channel or TV service, including on iPlayer).
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But you do need a licence if you watch or record TV programmes live on any channel or TV service. Or you download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer – live or on demand. This applies to any device and provider you use.
If you’re using a mobile device powered solely by its own internal batteries – like a smartphone, tablet or laptop – you will be covered by your home’s TV Licence, wherever you’re using it in the UK and Channel Islands.
However, if you’re away from home and plug one of these devices into the mains and use it to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel or device, or to download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer, you need to be covered by a separate TV Licence at that address (unless you’re in a vehicle or vessel like a train, car or boat). It’s the law.
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You need a TV Licence to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel or device, no matter where they are broadcast or distributed from. This includes satellite or online streamed programmes from outside the UK or Channel Islands, such as sporting events and foreign shows.
Subscription channels like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Now TV are television services that are normally paid for on a monthly basis via cable, satellite or the internet.
You will need a TV Licence if you watch live TV on a subscription channel. But you don’t need a TV Licence to watch on demand programmes (other than those on BBC iPlayer) on paid-for subscription channels.
Please tell us if you think you don't need a TV Licence.
If you still have questions take a look at TV Licensing FAQs where you can find all the answers in one place.