BBC iPlayer loophole finally ends: From September, you'll have to pay

Want to watch BBC iPlayer on catch-up? That'll be £145.50, please

BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer freeloading is set to end in September. 

Since the BBC's streaming site launched in 2007, Brits have only been asked to pay the full licence fee if they watch live broadcasts, but not for catch-up TV, a policy that costs the BBC around 150 million annually.

That is set to change as of 1 September, with catch-ups, downloads and live broadcasts all requiring viewers to shell out the 145.50 annual fee. 

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The change was announced last year, but the BBC has only now confirmed how much longer web users will get a free ride. 

"From 1 September 2016 you will need to be covered by a TV Licence to download or watch BBC programmes on demand, including catch up TV, on BBC iPlayer," the TV Licensing website notes. "This applies to any device and provider you use."

That includes watching online via a laptop or tablet, as well as accessing BBC shows via another streaming services, such as Amazon or Roku. 

Of course, anyone already paying the licence fee is covered; there is no extra online charge, nor a charge to listen to radio via iPlayer.

But what happens if you're paid up, and take your tablet to watch a BBC show at someone else's house who hasn't stumped for the fee? Don't worry, the TV Licensing team has thought of that. 

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"If you already have a TV licence for your address, you will be covered to download or watch iPlayer when you're on the go, provided the device you're using to watch or download programmes isn't plugged into the electricity mains at a separate address," the website reads. "If the device is plugged in at a separate address, you will need to be covered by a licence at that address." 

Yes, really: you're legal so long as you don't plug in. The fine for unpaid fees tops out at 1,000.

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