If You Plan To Watch TV in the UK, You Must Have a License

In the UK, any household watching or recording television transmissions at the same time they’re being broadcast is required by law to hold a television license. This law applies regardless of transmission method, including satellite, cable, or streaming. The television license is the instrument used to raise revenue to fund the BBC, and it’s a form of taxation. The current license fee is $215 for a standard color TV license and $73 for a black and white TV license. If, however, you're 75 or over, the license is free, and blind or severely sight-impaired people are entitled to a 50% reduction in the license fee. So what happens if someone fails to get the license? If you’re caught, you face prosecution and a maximum penalty of $1,350 plus any legal costs or compensation you may be ordered to pay. Before you go thinking the Brits have something to complain about, think about this: The average cable package in the U.S. runs $86 a month and satellite will set you back $100 a month. Now compare $1,032 a year for cable and $1,200 a year for satellite and that $215 a year for TV licensing in the UK sounds like a pretty sweet deal.