Student News and Events

News and events for University of Brighton students

TV licence myth buster

Moving into halls or a new student house? You’ll probably need a TV Licence

If you have a personal television, or receive television channels via your laptop or computer, in your room, or communal area, you will need to get a TV licence. It’s the law and you could get fined for not having one!

Do university students need a TV licence?

Yes, if you’re a student in the UK you’ll need a licence if you are watching or recording live TV, or viewing programmes streamed online from anywhere in the world

Watching or recording any TV live

You need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV or streamed live on an online TV service. And that’s not just the BBC; it’s all  channels and services.

Likewise, if you record a programme to watch it later, if you watch a programme on delay, or if  you watch or record repeats, if you watch +1, +2 or +24 channels… you need a TV Licence.

Watching from anywhere in the world

If you watch streamed programmes online or via satellite from outside the UK, the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, such as foreign channels and overseas sports matches or TV shows – then you still need a TV Licence.

Watching on any channel

A student needs a TV licence if you’re watching cable, satellite or any other TV services. This can cover the following example services (but there are more):

  • All 4
  • Apple TV
  • BBC iPlayer
  • BT TV
  • Freeview
  • Freesat
  • ITV Hub
  • Now TV
  • Prime Video
  • Sky and Sky Go
  • Virgin Media
  • YouTube
  • Youview

Not only TVs require a licence…

If you use something else to watch live programmes, as a uni student you will  still need a licence for a range of devices.

What devices require a TV licence?

  • Desktop computer or laptop
  • Digital box
  • Games console
  • Mobile phone
  • Smart TV
  • Tablet

TV licence for uni students living in halls

Moving into new uni halls a communal licence won’t cover you to watch TV in your room. You will need your own TV Licence to watch or record TV on any channel, watch TV live on any streaming service and watch BBC shows on BBC iPlayer.

However, if your out-of-term address has a TV Licence (for example, your parents’ or guardian’s home) this will cover you, provided you’re only watching on a device that’s powered solely by its own internal batteries (like your mobile phone, laptop or tablet) AND it isn’t connected to an aerial or plugged into the mains.

If you’re living in a rented house or flat

You need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV or streamed live on an online TV service, or to watch BBC programmes on BBC iPlayer – whether that’s live, on demand or on download.

If you have a separate tenancy agreement for your room, you’ll need your own TV Licence. But if you have a joint tenancy agreement for an entire house or flat, you’ll usually only need one licence to cover the whole property – however, it’s worth checking at to be on the safe side.

What the university provides

Phoenix Brewery, Moulsecoomb Place, Varley Park and Welkin Halls: Televisions are provided in the communal areas. If you wish to use the TV provided to receive television channels you will be responsible for obtaining a TV licence.

Welkin halls: The TV licence has been provided by Optivo, who manage the halls of residence on behalf of the university.

Mithras Halls: do not contain TV aerial points.

In other halls, television aerial points are provided in communal areas, should you or your flatmates wish to provide and use a TV.

For more information visit the TV Licensing ‘Check if I need one’ website.


Be aware that television detector vans operate on all sites and fines can be imposed for non-compliance. There’s a maximum fine of up to £1000.


Robin Coleman • 2 September 2022

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