We’ve all had to deal with it. There are letters that come through the door and strike fear into the hearts of many. No, not the Capital One spam or the charity donation pleas. I’m talking TV Licenses.
TV Licenses are a topic of uncertainty and frustration for many students.Some of us want one and others don’t. I know people who crave the background noise and evening entertainment of live TV whilst others don’t mind watching everything on BBC iPlayer when we actually have time in between lectures and studying. And then come the questions. Are we covered by our parents licenses? Do we even need a license if we watch iPlayer?
As an iPlayer and on demand queen, I pride myself in being able to avoid the TV license fee – let’s be honest, £145 is a pretty steep price just to watch a tacky drama constantly interspersed with mindless adverts on a real television.
Yet, those of us BBC iPlayer lovers have been cheated out of our free catch up service. Three weeks ago, the government changed its policy on TV licenses. Everyone in the UK now needs a TV license to be able to watch BBC iPlayer. And you know what I say to that… Nonsense!
Are broadband prices not high enough already? Households pay hundreds of pounds a year in order to access the internet and all of the perks that come with it – including catch up and on demand television services. Also, with so many streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime charging to watch films and television, are BBC iPlayer promoting themselves to this elite league of media, out of the reach of a majority of the lower working class?
As for students specifically, BBC iPlayer not only provides entertainment, but also an education. The amount of documentaries I have watched that are relevant to my degree are countless. In introducing TV licenses for BBC iPlayer, students are being cut off from learning aids that add crucial knowledge and understanding on some key topics. We are constantly being nagged to use ‘alternative sources’ for our research, and BBC iPlayer is one of them. Paying yet another expense on top of all other bills is going to make student life even harder.
Yet there is hope on the horizon. Another loophole has been found which enables us students to use BBC iPlayer. A TV license is not needed if you are watching catch up services on a portable device meaning anything that is NOT plugged in to a mains socket. So be it a phone, tablet or an unplugged laptop, we won’t have to give up our student privileges just yet. Or, if you really don’t want to risk being caught by the TV police, you can always stick to watching television services such as ITV Player and All 4 – both of which have adverts and don’t require a TV license.
Having said that, is £145 really such a price to pay? A majority of students live in multiple tenancy houses so won’t actually have to pay a full price of the TV license. There are 5 of us in my house so I’ve only had to pay a meagre £29 – a rather sweet deal to carry on watching BBC news in the mornings. There is also the possibility of license refunds for students who don’t use their license for a whole year. It’s a bit complicated and to be quite honest, I can’t be bothered to explain it.
^ Check out this link for the specifics ^