I would guess that many of our readers watch TV through tablets, iPads, mobile phones, or other devices, using the BBC iPlayer. Catch–Up TV is very popular as a serial can now be watched at any time after broadcast.
Recently the BBC changed the rules on whether you needed a TV Licence if you were watching a programme on i–Player across various platforms on different devices.
The BBC publised this guide to what is happening with iPlayer.
“Previously, only viewers who were watching shows live (as they were being broadcast) needed a licence. That meant it was legal to watch content after broadcast via iPlayer without paying the annual licence fee. From 3 September , people need a TV licence to download or watch almost all on-demand and catch-up programmes on iPlayer.”
Today, the 27 September 2016 sees the first part of their clamp down on the loophole of iPlayer use being implemented, where registered users will have to add a postcode to their details. .
From April 2017 all users of the iPlayer will be required to register an account at the BBC with a user name, password and postcode before using the app.
The BBC state “All users of the BBC’s iPlayer service will have to log in with a personal account from early 2017.
Users of BBC services can already create an online account – known as a BBC ID – but this is not currently required in order to access iPlayer.
From Tuesday, BBC ID holders also have to add a postcode to their account information.
TV Licensing will have access to the information but the BBC says it will not be used for enforcement purposes.
I am puzzled how this is going to work for those users who stream I–Player to their Smart TV via a cable or wi–fi.
Most Smart TV’s are controlled in a very clunky fashion by a hand control, which does in the main one function at a time. Logging in to the BBC ID may be easy enough using a touch screen, or possibly a keyboard. If all that is available is a single touch on–screen keyboard that firstly has to be negotiated, each and every time of use, that in itself will discourage use.
For my own setup I am puzzled as to how that will happen cleanly, easily and with no problems for anyone.
I suppose I will have to wait and see how this arrangement will work next April.
I can’t help feeling that this measure is closing the door after the horse has bolted. It will not suit many people who use i –Player in a very simple TV set up. Questions might be asked as to those cable & satellite users, USB stick enabler companies like Now, Amazon and so on. How will that work?
Will someone need to be permanently signed –in to the BBC ID in order for the application to work across all platforms?
These are questions which I hope the technical magazines will answer in the coming months.
In the meantime be aware that watching TV or the BBC iPlayer on your device now requires a TV licence.
Maybe some of our readers can answer some of these technical questions?