Accessing the BBC from outside the UK

Andy Waddington (software devel) acornqa at
Fri Jan 6 11:23:45 EST 2012

Sometime before sending, Derek J. Balling typed (and on Friday 2012-01-06 sent):
> Pedantically: UK residents are required to pay a TV licence,
> and aren't entitled to have TVs without paying said licence
> fee. If you sit offshore and can still catch the TV broadcast,
> you're perfectly, legally, entitled, to view it.

Indeed, and even in the UK you only need a licence for a device
which can view TV programmes *at the time they are transmitted*.
You don't need a licence to watch a video of a TV programme
that someone else recorded (or you recorded at a licensed
address). So you don't, in fact, need a TV licence to use
iPlayer or get_iplayer, within the UK, except, just possibly,
for live feeds. Since most people use get_iplayer because
their broadband is too slow or too flaky to watch programmes
in real time, that won't apply to the majority of users.

David Woodhouse:

> More pedantically: you're allowed to have a TV. You're just not allowed
> to receive TV broadcasts with it. If you can show that it is used only
> as a monitor, for example with a games console, and you don't have any
> antenna hooked up to it, then that should be sufficient.

> Actually convincing the man with the detector van of that fact, and
> getting them to stop hassling you, is of course another matter :)

Yes ! Back in the 80's when I was an impoverished software writer
just starting my own business, I had a cheap TV as a monitor for
my BBC micro. I didn't manage to convince the TV license people
that I wasn't watching TV, and it ended up being cheapr and less
trouble to buy a licence (whcih cost more than the TV, and, after
a couple of years, more than the extra a proper monitor would have

I've maintained a grudge against the TV license people ever since
those days and delight in not paying a TV licence fee for an
unoccupied property we own which they are always threatening
to visit. They keep sending threatening letters to "the occupier"
which get sent back "not known at this address", usually taped
to something rather heavy. Come as often as you like :-)

I do, however, regard the TV licence people as entirely separate
from the BBC, whom I held in much higher regard - until they
started making TV programmes available on the net, as long as
you didn't use Linux or live somewhere too rural for truly broad


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