TV Licence, do I need one

Discussion in 'Askaboutlaw' started by cremeegg, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. cremeegg

    cremeegg Frequent Poster

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    I have received a demand for a TV licence.

    There is a screen in the corner of the sitting room. It has no aerial, or saorview, no tv subscription of any type.

    It does have a broadband connection.

    Is it a TV ? does it need a licence? Any advice welcome.
     
  2. SparkRite

    SparkRite Frequent Poster

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    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
    A 5 second Google search shows...........

    From :- http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/consumer_affairs/media/tv_licences.html

    "Every household, business or institution in Ireland with a television or equipment capable of receiving a television signal (using an aerial, satellite dish, cable or other means) must have a television licence."


    However, just to muddy the water, it goes on to say :-

    "You do not require a television licence to watch television on your computer or mobile phone. However, the computer must not be able to receive a signal distributed by conventional television broadcasting networks, for example, cable, satellite or aerial."

    So, does your "screen" possess a tuner, if so then IMHO you definitely require a license, if not then could it be classed as a computer monitor, in which case you may not ?

    Clear as mud, isn't it ??? :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  3. newtothis

    newtothis Frequent Poster

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    I would have thought it was a lot clearer than mud!

    If the "screen" or the device of which it is part contains a tuner capable of receiving an over the air broadcast signal it needs a license, otherwise not. The fact that it isn't connected to an antenna to actually receive is irrelevant.
     
  4. SparkRite

    SparkRite Frequent Poster

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    Read the first statement quoted, no mention of a tuner, albeit, inferred, but note the section I underlined, ie. "Other Means" .
    That could be construed to encompass any method at all. IPTV for example, for which no tuner is involved.

    Not quite as clear as you may think, even the use of the word "television" is open to equivocacy.

    I already stated this in my post above.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  5. newtothis

    newtothis Frequent Poster

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    You're being pedantic in the use of language by something that's giving an informal, easy to read and understand description of when you need a license. The relevant act refers to broadcasting services, with approprioate definitions given (IPTV is by contrast narrowcast). The term "other means" doesn't appear in the act. People have tried - and failed - before trying to claim what's clearly a TV isn't in fact one and hence doesn't need a license (newsflash: it does).
     
  6. SparkRite

    SparkRite Frequent Poster

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    I'm being pedantic, am I ?
    I think you need, at the very least, to be, what you class as being pedantic when one is dealing with any ACT or legislative bill.

    See here, where it states you do in fact need a license for IPTV :- https://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/communications/topics/broadcasting-media/tv-licence/Pages/TV-Licence-FAQs.aspx#Do I require a TV Licence for a computer which can access television-like services (e.g. the RTÉ Player or streaming services) over the Internet?

    QUOTE:-

    Do I require a TV Licence for a computer which can access television-like services (e.g. the RTÉ Player or streaming services)?

    No. So long as the computer is unable to display television channels distributed by conventional television broadcasting networks (i.e cable, satillite, IPTV, analogue terrestrial, digital terrestrial or MMDS) e.g. using a television tuner card or similar device, then there is no requirement to hold a Television Licence.
    END QUOTE.

    Now, do you see (noting that this is only a tiny clip from a way larger act) how it could be necessary to exercise some degree of pedantry when trying to decipher any legal document, when in fact it SHOULD not be required to do so, but in fact has to be.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  7. dub_nerd

    dub_nerd Frequent Poster

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    This is pretty easy to figure out. Does it have a tuner for radio frequency (including satellite, digital and analogue terrestrial) or cable TV broadcasts. Any equipment (including set top boxes and computer tuner cards, not just things with screens) that meets those criteria needs a license.

    You called it a "screen" but said it has a broadband connection. I could be wrong but I've never come across something that was just a dumb monitor with such an input. Does it have any radio frequency inputs? My guess is the answer is almost certainly yes, so you need a license.
     
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  8. newtothis

    newtothis Frequent Poster

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    Yes! You're trying to force very precise meanings (which happen to be counter to the sense of the overall text) onto language and terms in what is designed to be an easy-to-read, understandable interpretation of a piece of legislation.
    I couldn't agree more, when you're dealing with an act or bill before the Oireachtas, but the point is you're not. You're not quoting from the act, but some consumer oriented Web site (which happens to be very useful, but that's a separate point).
    There you go again! You're picking out terms from text that's not in the relevant Act to try and subvert the meaning of what it's actually saying.

    Yes, if you're being pedantic about it, the reference to IPTV you picked out is incorrect, but the sense behind the main statement "....unable to display TV channels distributed by conventional broadcast networks" is clear enough.

    For the actual situation, and in answer to the OP's question, the comment from @dub_nerd above nails it.
     
  9. Leo

    Leo Moderator

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    What make / model is the screen?
     
  10. SBarrett

    SBarrett Frequent Poster

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    It's pretty simple, if it's a tv, you need a licence. If it's a monitor, it doesn't.
     
  11. SparkRite

    SparkRite Frequent Poster

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    Which is what I said in my first post, re. The tuner.
    And it far from answers the OP's question as we do not know if a tuner is present. What is a "screen" ?
    We all know that if a device with a screen has a tuner, whether working or not, then a TV license is required. That is not in question.

    When I said the "waters are muddied" I was referring to, where devices other than, lets call them "standard TVs" were being employed to display transmitted/broadcast images.
    To that end I quoted two Irish advice sites , citizensinformation.ie and gov.ie which are at total variance.

    You stated gov.ie is wrong and indeed maybe they are, I don't know, but to anybody looking for advice it certainly does not help to have two opposing answers to what should be a simple quest.

    The Broadcasting Act is being constantly reviewed and updated (last AFAIK 2017) to try to encompass the ever changing technology and whether it requires a license or not.

    Just to give a short scenario, I know this is anecdotal to posters but I know it to be fact. A friend of mine a few years ago used to store his TV in his parents house over the Summer months just to try to encourage his kids to go out or read etc. What really bugged him was that his TV license expired in May but when he would go to renew it in September he had to "back date" it even though he did not have a TV at his premises. When he would try to argue this he would be told, along the lines of "Hard luck, but that's the process..." So even though he wasn't in possession of a TV he was forced to pay for a licence.

    He also went looking for a definitive answer to the fact that while he stored his TV in his parents house he had his VCR in his own house, which obviously has a tuner, is he required to hold a valid Tv license? It depended who he got on the phone as to whether it was required or not but nobody was willing to send him confirmation via a letter of their answer, fobbing him off with " I'll check this out and get back to you" and suchlike.

    For Gods sake there have been posts here, in the past, where people have been "hounded" by TV Inspectors for just having an antenna on their house and not in possession of a TV !

    It is far from simple, once you stray away from the standard and to that end I stand by comment that the waters are indeed very muddy.
     
  12. newtothis

    newtothis Frequent Poster

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    No, they're not: they are entirely consistent. One talks about equipment that does need a license, the other about that which doesn't. Both are correct, although using somewhat loose terminology.
    No, I didn't. I said the use of one particular term in context was incorrect if you were being overly pedantic. I also said the overall meaning was clear.
    Answer: yes, as it is "....equipment capable of receiving a television signal", as per Citizens' Advice you quoted.

    My sense is the OP has a TV but is not using it as such and asking can they avoid paying a license if they call it a screen. If that's the case, the answer is "no", as all that's needed is a device capable of receiving a TV broadcast signal in order to require a license. Whether it does or not is another matter. If on the other hand they have a PC incapable of receiving a broadcast signal, they don't need a license. The only real confusion is that some PCs are equipped with an adaptor to receive TV, in which case you would need a license, though I suspect these are becoming rare enough these days.
     
  13. cremeegg

    cremeegg Frequent Poster

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    Thanks for all the responses, unfortunately I am still not clear. I don't know if it has an integrated tuner.

    There was a cable TV service connected via a set top box. The screen needed the set top box, it cannot receive signal directly without the set top box.

    The set top box has been returned to the cable company, so perhaps it is not a device capable of receiving a broadcast signal?
     
  14. newtothis

    newtothis Frequent Poster

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    Unlikely, if it was used primarily for watching TV. What make and model is it?