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There is an alternative to paying the TV licence

I don't pay the television licence, yet  I still watch whatever I want. Legally. In this post I will explain exactly how I do it and how you can too.

I know a lot of my readers (Possibly both of them) already know this stuff and probably already do it. This is for the benefit of anyone who is not aware that you can legally avoid the fee, so if I sound like I'm teaching your grandmother to suck eggs, please bear with me.

I'll start by breifly explaining the aspect of the law that a lot of people are not familliar with. Please feel free to confirm what I am telling you with your own research before usimg it. That would only be prudent.

The law says that you need a TV licence if you are watching televised media as it is being broadcast. It doesn't matter how you are watching it, PC, TV, mobile phone etc. The key is those words, "as it is being broadcast".

 You need to be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record TV as it's being broadcast. This includes the use of devices such as a computer, laptop, mobile phone or DVD/video recorder.

For example, if you watch the latest Eastenders on TV as it is first shown, you need a license. If you wait a day and watch it on BBC iplayer, you don't need one.

http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/



To watch TV using this approach, you need to do away with your telly ariel, freeview box and satellite, if you have them., and  use a personal computer instead. This does actually limit your viewing options, so if you are a telly addict, this approach is probably not for you.

From now on you will be watching TV over the internet. You will need a telly with a VGA, DVI or HDMI input. The old CRT tellys are no good for this so you will need a flatscreen. Mine is second hand and cost me £130, a tenner less than a years telly licence fee.

Position you PC box near the TV and plug it in using the monitor cable so your telly now acts like a big PC monitor. I also bought a wireless keyboard and use that as a remote control. It's a bit bulky as remotes go, but worth it in my opinion. This isn't totally necessary but I also have an amp and a decent set of speakers plugged into the back of the PC. Your telly speakers are ample if you don't want to do this and you will need a small jack plug from the output on the PC to a similar input on the telly for sound.

When your kit is ready you will need to set up your channels.

Download or bookmark BBC iplayer, ITV player, 4OD, and 5OD for the basics. There are also many websites showing films and TV shows which are in the public domain. Google is your friend here. You will need to experiment for a while untill you find some good stuff suitable for your tastes.

You can also continue to use your TV for watching DVD's and playing games as neither of these require a licence.

This new setup will limit your options to a certain extent. It works well for us because the only telly we really bother to watch is on Channel 5 so we just use 5 On Demand. If you are using Google you will have to know what you want to watch before browsing, thater than flicking through the listings and watching something at random.

It also helps to have an internet provider that doesn't throttle your download speeds. This means that if you are using more bandwith than they like, they will limit the amount available to you, making your video images run eratically. Most of the big providers do throttle speeds, but if you have an 'unlimited use' packege, you will be fine. These tend to cost more so you need to decide if it's worth it based on the amount of stuff you watch and the affect it has on performance.

The final step is to inform the telly licencing people that you no longer need one. There are many blogs out there that will advise you to stop paying and then have all kinds of fun with all the threatening letters you start to get through the post. You can even have a bit of fun with the inspectors if they turn up, because they have no real powers other than to make threats.

However, if you do it correctly, you can avoid all this hasstle. Go to https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/nln/index.aspx to declare you don't need a licence. Fill in your details (Don't worry, they have them anyway) and pick a reason why you no longer need a licence.

Click to biggen

Pick any of the offered reasons, it doesn't really matter. Once done, the licencing people will write to you confirming you no longer need a license and promising not to bother you for a further two years.

As you're not doing anything illegal, the question is, do you want to be constantly battling them or do you want them on your side? They have been true to their word and not bothered us since we did this.

When all this is done you are now free to watch TV without having to fund the propaganda arm of the British Government, otherwise known as the BBC. As long as you are not watching programmes 'as they are broadcast' you are free to do as you please.

Bear in mind that these instructionas are there to allow you to legally watch TV without paying a licence. They are only a few short steps away from making it possible to carry on watching whatever the hell you want and illegally avoid the licence. That is not why I wrote this post. If you choose to use a service that requires payment, then pay for it.

If anyone out there already does something similar, if I have missed anything or if anyone has any other ideas or questions, please share in the comments.

Happy viewing.

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