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How to Save Money Without Paying the TV License

A regular theme in TransferGo’s personal finance blog post is the importance of budgeting and ways to save money. Advances in technology often open the door to substantial savings, such as TransferGo’s low cost money transfer options and with regular expenses such as your TV license.

In order to watch live TV a TV license is required at a cost of £145.50. However, the key word is “live.” If all of your watching is catch-up viewing, a license is not required.

When is a TV License Required?

If you watch live programmes on any device you need a license. That includes on a mobile device. For purposes of licensing, recording a programme as it is broadcasted is the same as watching it live.

Legal Ways to Avoid Paying the License Fee

Many people attempt to evade paying the license fee through a variety of methods. According to TV Licensing spokespersons, regulators net 1,000 offenders daily. Those who claim to watch only catch-up TV are subject to inspections as well.

Use video on demand services – Services such the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, and Channel 4 on Demand are free. When the current licensing regulations were introduced in 2004, video on demand did not exist. Culture Secretary John Whittingdale says that plans are underway to close the BBC iPlayer loophole will “as soon as practicable”.  Those changes will probably not affect 4OD or ITV.

Use a streaming service – Subscription streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Lovefilm do not require a license. Yearly subscription rates are about half that of a TV license. The services offered on Roku do not require a license.

Other viewing – Some programmes and events, like sports and news, are not well suited for catch-up viewing.  Watching sports in a pub along with other fans is considered by many to be far superior to watching them at home. The internet is loaded with sites where you can watch or read the news.  DVD viewing does not require a license.

Looking for ways to save money is a key part of any budget. TransferGo will continue to offer tips for developing a budget and for saving money in our blog and, of course, to offer substantial savings anytime you transfer money internationally.


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