From 1st of September, all users of the BBC's iPlayer will be forced to hold a valid TV Licence before catch-up and live tv can be viewed, following a change in the law. The new rules apply to all devices used to access iPlayer, including laptops, smartphones, tablets, TV streaming devices and games consoles, as well as through third-party services such as a Sky box.
The group most affected will be students away from home and expats using the iPlayer platform to view BBC abroad. Up to now, the law allowed free viewing of catch-up content, with a licence only being required for live TV. The change was set in motion by the former Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale, who lost his job in the recent cabinet reshuffle. Services from Sky, ITV, Channel Four, My5 and Netflix will be unaffected.
HOW IT WILL WORK? There has been a BBC ID login box for some months at the top of the iPlayer window. Login will become compulsory from 1 September. The BBC iPlayer will cross-reference the UK's national TV licence database. It's unknown how many devices will be allowed to use a single TV licence. There is almost certainly likely to be a restriction, to prevent abuse. In the past, multiple registrations in the hundreds at the same address were used by mainland Europe resellers of Sky subscriptions, which were "overlooked" by Sky Security. It remains to be seen how vigorously the new BBC restrictions will be enforced.