All that great TV doesn't come for nothing, you know.

And that's why the TV Licence fee is set to increase again this year from £147 to £150.50.

On April 1, the cost to viewers will increase by £3.50, a rise in line with inflation, and it will continue to increase in line with inflation for five years.

The Licence Fee means the BBC can make programmes without having to interrupt them with adverts.

TV licence, television

You will need to pay the licence fee if you watch or record TV on a conventional television set, computer, tablet, smartphone or any piece of technology capable of doing the job.

If you use BBC iPlayer to stream programmes you will also need a TV Licence.

If all you do is stream programmes on services other than BBC iPlayer - such as Netflix and Google Play - you don't need one.

Hannah Maundrell, at to The Mirror , said: "This increase might seem small but it’s yet another price hike to put pressure on people’s wallets at a time when they least need it.

Because of the TV Licence fee you can watch programmes like The Graham Norton Show without having it interrupted by adverts.

The money expert said households should reconsider their usage - especially given the rise in on-demand services such as Netflix.

"Review how much live TV you are actually watching. You don't need a TV licence if you only ever use on demand services, except if you're watching BBC programmes on the iPlayer. It's a lot of money to pay if you're only ever watching Netflix on your smart TV," she continued.

"The TV licence doesn't just fund the TV programmes the BBC produces. It also pays for the BBC website, BBC Radio stations and the BBC World service, so if you're a heavy user of these think twice before you opt out of paying the licence fee."

Do I have to pay a TV Licence?

Anyone watching or recording live TV broadcasts or using iPlayer needs to have a TV licence – no matter what they're watching it on – or they could get a hefty fine.

That means watching on a phone, laptop or tablet still counts as long as it's broadcast. Yup, even using someone else's SkyGo login at home means you need one as licences are tied to addresses.

If you're in a shared house, you might well be able to get away with one licence for the house - rather than one each – but in almost every other case you'll need a licence unless you never watch broadcast TV.

But there's some good news - while you need a licence, you might not need to pay full price for one.

When you don't need to pay for a TV licence


With the exception of iPlayer, if you’re not watching or recording live TV, you don’t need a licence.

So other catch-up TV services, streaming or downloading programmes after they’ve been shown or programmes available online before being shown on TV don't count.

So with no licence you can still watch:

If you don't watch or record live TV on any device or use iPlayer you can let TV Licensing know by completing a declaration here .

But be careful, because while it's possible, right now very few people fall into that category.

“Whatever device you are using and however you’re watching, you need to be licensed to watch programmes at the same time as they are shown on TV, to watch or download programmes on iPlayer, or to view an online TV service. Fewer than 2% of households only watch catch-up TV so don't need a licence,” a spokeswoman from TV Licensing told Mirror Money .

Legal TV licence discounts

Who gets a discount? Well, older Britons don't need a TV licence.

That means when you reach the age of 75, you can apply for a free over 75 TV Licence . They last 3 years and will be sent out provided you give them your national insurance number. In fact, if you're 74, you can even apply for a short-term licence to cover up up until your 75th birthday.

Secondly, while it's not free, but anyone who's blind (severely sight impaired) can get half price TV licences . Again, this means the rest of the house is covered too.

If you're renting, you don't need a separate TV licence for your room if you have a relationship with the homeowner (and live in their main house) or a joint tenancy agreement - but do need one if you have a separate tenancy agreement for just your room.

There are also other times you might be able to get money back on the £145.50. Students who are not staying at university over the summer could be entitled to a refund for the last few months of their licence. They can apply for a refund or get more information by visiting or call 0300 790 6113.