The way Britons watch TV has changed dramatically since the TV Licence was first introduced in 1946. In the age of streaming services and subscription services, alongside the cost of living crisis, many Britons are now questioning whether it is worth having one anymore. If someone decides they don’t need one anymore, then they may be able to request a full refund.
However, people need to be wary, if they are caught without a TV Licence when they actually needed one then they could face a fine of £1,000, plus any legal costs, as well as criminal prosecution.
According to TV Licencing’s website, the group which manages the licence, people need a licence if they watch or record programmes on a TV as they are broadcast.
This includes all channels such as Channel 4, Channel 5, ITV, etc, as well as all “+1” channels.
Britons also need one if they watch or download any BBC programme on BBC iPlayer live, on catch-up or On Demand.
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People will also need one if they watch or stream programmes live on an online TV service.
Examples of these include ITV Hub, All 4, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV, and Sky Go.
This applies to any device or provider a person uses, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, or digital box.
However, people do not need a TV Licence if they are watching things on catch-up that are not being shown live, although it is needed for watching BBC iPlayer.
If someone wanted to watch a boxset of their favourite show that is All 4 then they will not need a licence as it is not being broadcast live.
This means a person will not need a TV Licence if they are watching something on Netflix, DisneyPlus, Britbox or Youtube.
Amazon Prime can be included in this group, however, if a person watches something such as live sport, which is being broadcast through the site, then they will need to pay.
Only one TV Licence is required per household, and some people are able to receive a discount depending on their circumstances.
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Britons over 75 years who receive Pension Credit can get a free TV licence and people who are blind, or severely sight impaired, can receive a discount of 50 percent.
Britons who live in care homes could get it for free or pay as little as £7.50 if they are part of an Accommodation for Residential Care (ARC) scheme.
The TV Licence fee was introduced so viewers could support and fund the creation of a wide range of BBC programmes and services.
On top of the BBC’s TV and radio programmes, the TV licence pays for podcasts, iPlayer, BBC World Service and other BBC apps.
To get a refund, people will need to have at least one month left on their current TV licence plan.
People may also be able to apply to be reimbursed if their licence has expired less than two years ago.
Refund forms can be found online through the TV Licensing website, which has a clear step-by-step guide for anyone worried about filling in the application.
The website also contains guidance for those struggling with the application forms.
If accepted, TV Licensing will work out the refund and will try to issue it within 21 days of receiving the application.