Plasma TV Licence?



Hi chaps,

I've purchased in september a plasma screen from RS, of course they have sold it without a tuner, so it's just a monitor, I dont see television on it, I just use it as a PC monitor / console / DVD screen.

I've got a letter today that force me to pay the TV licence for that screen. Now, I dont even have a tuner, how am I suppose to see television? With my ears as antenna? ;)

Secondary I've a satellite decoder but that goes thru a satellite cable, not thru the main aerial TV antenna. (And to be honest, it doesnt work yet heeheh)

Am I suppose to pay that TV licence?

If you watch Sky yes, as the BBC is broadcast over it, I guess that makes you liable to fees.
Just one thing though, so far the detector vans cannot trace LCD or Plasma screens, they do not rediate the frequencies that the detectors pick up, this of course does not imply you should not pay your license becuase you can not be traced!

Best regards David
The rule is, if you have equipment "Capable" of receiving television signals ie any BBC broadcasts whether it works or not you have to have a licence. Stoopid rule I know but they have us by the short and whatsits.

Agreed. If you DO NOT have any means of receiving broadcast television from ANY source: in other words - you only use PC without a TV tuner, DVD, a VHS without a tuner Laserdisc, or any other such device where the source is entirely within your home - then no licence.

As soon as you have a VHS with a tuner, TV (including portable) with a tuner, PC with a TV card, Cable, Satellite or DTT box or any other means of receiving broadcasts - the licende fee is properly due.
Sorry pdoc/nigel, thats wrong (and I know becuase I am in this situation and have no TV Licence and it's perfectly legal) -

the TV license rule is "If you USE any equipment to watch or record television programs then you need a TV license" you can have a TV or video recorder without a TV license as long as you do not watch or record TV. I know this is right becuase I checked with the TV licensing people.

If you call them up and ask they will put your address down as "No Set In Use" and won't bother you with demands every few weeks but they will say that they will send someone around to check but I am usually out whenever they send someone so nobody has ever checked my house.

But as others say, even if you only watch sky thats still "TV programs" so you need a licence, if you just watch DVD's/Videos then you don't need one.
codlord, I think you should be ever so slightly (READ: incredibly) ashamed of yourself. And probably removed as a Mod too.

Hmmm, so cod you are saying that the TV lic people are going to trust you to have equipment capable of receiving TV signals but you won't use it for this purpose....I think not, read this

click "do I need a Licence"

Pay attention to the word "Install"

if you have a VCR and NO tv in the house you NEED a lic
Flimber - why do you say that? becuase I choose not to watch any TV? I am doing nothing wrong!!!

Pdoc, it states:
"If you use or install television receiving equipment TO RECEIVE OR RECORD television programme services you are required by law to have a valid TV Licence."

Therefore if you don't RECEIVE OR RECORD TV programs then you do not need a licence. As I said, I checked with the licence people and stated exactly my circumstances and was told I do not need a license. Regardless of this since then I have got rid of my VCR so currently I do not have ANY equipment capable of recieving TV anyway.
Also consider the section "Detection and Penalties".
Using television receiving equipment to receive or record broadcast television programmes without the correct licence is a criminal offence.

I believe the initial "install" wording is misleading, and the actual crime is to "use" it. Hence they have to use "detector vans", and not just the fact that you have the equipment on the premises.
See also the section on "businesses" where it allows a statement to be made that TV equipment is not used for viewing TV.
Hello all

I always understood if you had a display with a video input it was considered 'capable' of displaying a TV image and you required a licence - though not one for every TV in the house!

We used to gets lots of letters looking for a licence fee when we were into video wall hire - luckily our stock of Barco monitors only had RGB inputs not 'Video' inputs.

Best regards


PS If I understand the rules correctly if you dont have a TV licence but have an AM/FM tuner in the house you then require a Radio Licence.
I'm positive that the TV licence fees pay for radio otherwise they would check you had licence for your car stereo, walkman, clock radio etc, etc.....
Yeah, the whole Radio Licence thing is a myth there is no licensing for listening to radio wether you have a tv licence or not. (The only radio licences are for CB use etc).

You're on dodgy ground; Nigel is right.
A screen connected to a DVD / PC does not need a licence.

A VCR with a tuner means you require a licence, whether you use it or not. Same goes for cable. You've installed the equipment in your house.

If Zieocleto removed his non working sat cable, then he would indeed not require a licence...
No I don't believe I am on dodgy ground and I don't believe I am wrong, taking the TV Licenses own statement:

"If you use or install television receiving equipment to receive or record television programme services you are required by law to have a valid TV Licence."

AND the fact that when I specifcally asked the TV Licensing people:

ME: "I have a TV and a VCR but I don't ever use them for watching or recording TV, do I need a TV license?"
TV LICENSING PEOPLE: "No, you do not".

I'ts pretty clear to me!
Fair enough; but I'd have got that in writing!!!
This is probably one of those cases where it hasn't been tested in court and so the question of 'burden of proof' is unanswered.

It is interesting that the word 'install' is included in the rules. By buying and implementing, say, a VCR, you have installed it.

However, as you say, if you don't watch TV then maybe you aren't doing anything wrong. However, if you were challenged, it might be difficult to prove that you had never watched TV - unless you could demonstrably prove that (for example)

- you have no aerial and reception conditions are such that you are unable to receive without one
- any tuners that are in the equipment have been rendered inoperable


There is no doubt that, if you have no capability to receive any off air TV broadcast on any platform, no licence is required.

Radio no longer needs a licence.
Yeah I would have done but now I have no recieving equipment in the house anyway so no need now.
A friend here at work has a video/tv comination for renting videos, but watches no TV. The advice from the TV licensing people was to remove the arial and tune the video away from from the station channels.

i.e. As long as you are not receiving/recording a signal, you do not need a license (as seems clear from the website statement).

I suspect that the only reason for changing the tuning was to remove all doubt if you are accused of watching a signal by the people with the detector vans. It would, after all, not take very long to remove an arial lead before opening the door if you saw them in the street ...
codlord, you never watch TV ???
Originally posted by nigel
- you have no aerial and reception conditions are such that you are unable to receive without one

Ability to receive a reception does not count in the eyes of the TV Licensing people.

I complained some time ago about not them not broadcasting Scottish football on BBC1 via Sky, as I only had a Sky box and no analogue tuner I could not receive the signal. I wasn't asking to pay no money for a license I was suggesting they reduce the license fee in certain circumstances.

Their reponse was, "it does not matter if you can actually get reception or not, the fact that you have equipment capable of receiving a signal requires you to have a license. We cannot guarantee a signal".
I think you missed my point. What I was trying to say was that if you take certain steps you may be in a better position to prove that you don't ever watch TV broadcasts (not even by accident), and I used the no aerial thing solely as an example of one step you might take to disable yourself.

If you don't have an aerial (nor a dish or anything else similar) then you don't 'have equipment capable of receiving a signal', and could probably prove it.

In your case, you have a Sky box. That means that you can receive broadcast TV. Licence fee due in full. Full stop.

Yes thats right I never watch TV, since I have had my house (about 5 years) I have never installed an aerial, never tuned a tv in (when I had a TV), never recorded or watched anything. I don't watch any sport and I don't miss it in the slightest, most people would agree with me when I say the majority of TV is crap and most people just watch TV becuase it's there rather than becuase they actually want to watch it. If I want to watch something I have DVD's, and if I think a TV series is worth watching I will get it on DVD.

I don't NOT have TV becuase I don't want to pay £120 a year TV licence - thats just a bonus.
Codlord's interpretation is right.

Possession of capable equipment does not trigger license payment.

The act of watching/recording public broadcast requires a license, i.e. a person becomes licensed to watch broadcasted broadcasted material.

For example, owning a TV in order to exclusively watch rented VHS tapes does not require a license although even if both pieces of equipment used are equipped with the tuner.

However, having non-capable equipment may still require a person to pay the license. For example, BBC is streaming their current broadcast over the Internet, you have a 3G mobile phone and you log into that stream (and you are UK resident) than according to the rules you’ll need license. In a modern world every Internet-enabled gadget in ‘capable’.

I have personally gone thru this process as I have at home TV/video but I am never there to watch (flag was under renovation). I didn’t renew the license and after two months TV license person showed up to check he looked around and left. I received no further communication from them again. So, I had two pieces both capable, TV license person saw them but was satisfied that that on that address I was not watching or receiving public broadcast.
Its always better with these things to check the staturory instruments (the law), rather than the simplified advice.

Had also thought that there was a capability phrase, but checking the Televion License Fees statutory instrument and the broadcasting act, the relevant phrase from the former is:

Meaning of Television Receiver
3 . The following class or description of television receiving apparatus is hereby specified for the purpose of the definition of "television receiver" in the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949[5], namely such apparatus installed or used for the purpose of receiving television programme services, as defined by section 2(4) of the Broadcasting Act 1990, whether or not the apparatus is installed or used for other purposes.
This quite clearly states installed...for the purpose of - so you could argue that something was never installed or used.

Reading this in isolation, I would have thought that the balance of proof would have been on the licensing people to provide proof that you'd recieved broadcasts. This simplified reading ignores case law, of course, which may have established the burden of proof required.

Personally, I wouldn't risk it if there was a capability to recieve broadcasts, but would for a monitor that clearly wasn't attached to tuner.

Probably useful to print the above and have to hand for the inevitable knock at the door if you are going to risk it.
Even if you do get a knock at the door I believe they cannot enter your premises without your permission, or they would have to go away and get a warrant.

Plenty time to get rid of that TV :)

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