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BBC iPlayer now requires a TV licence following loophole closure

Engadget Engadget 1/09/2016 Matt Brian
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It's been a long time coming, but from today all iPlayer viewers now need to own a TV licence to watch the BBC content. New rules have closed the so-called "iPlayer loophole," which had previously allowed users to get out of paying if they only watched catch-up content. The BBC is in the process of updating the iPlayer website to display a message that will warn users that they must have a licence, similar to the one used on live BBC streams.

At the moment, it's unclear how the BBC will enforce the new rules. A spokesperson says the corporation has a "range of enforcement techniques which we will use" that have already helped "prosecute people who watch on a range of devices, not just TVs." In the future, users may be required to log into the service to prove they've paid and it doesn't appear that snooping on people's home WiFi connections, as reported last month, will ever figure on TV Licensing's agenda.

The new rules cover all devices used to access iPlayer -- ranging from smartphones and tablets to set-top boxes and gaming consoles. If you already have a standard TV licence, don't worry as you're already covered. Time will tell if an iPlayer-only licence will appear to cut the cost of the annual £145.50 charge.

TV Licensing

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