BBC iPlayer Will No Longer Be a Free-to-Use Service

By Aatif Sulleyman on at

The BBC wants to crack down on TV licence-dodgers by making it illegal to use iPlayer without paying that £145.50 a year fee. Right now, it’s perfectly legal to dip in and out of the online service willy-nilly, because the TV licence only covers live TV. As long as you're not in sync with a live show, you're fine. However, that’s unlikely to be the case for much longer.

"The BBC works on the basis that all who watch it pay for it,” said John Whittingdale, the secretary of state for culture and media. “Giving a free ride to those who enjoy Sherlock or Bake Off an hour, a day or a week after they are broadcast was never intended and is wrong. When the licence fee was invented, video on demand did not exist.”

Whittingdale wants to close the so-called ‘iPlayer loophole’ within a matter of months, but how he intends to block content remains unclear. Currently, a message asking if you’ve paid the TV licence fee pops up when you select live TV on iPlayer, but you're not required to provide any sort of verification. By hitting the ‘Watch Now’ button, you can binge away.

Read more: BBC iPlayer Tips and Tricks

Alternative catch-up services like All 4 and ITV Player will reportedly be unaffected by these changes to the law, meaning you'll be able to catch up on your favourite non-BBC shows without purchasing a TV Licence. Nice to see that everyone's in the same boat. [Telegraph]