The Irish Government have been threatening to broaden the reach of TV licences for a few years now. Over 32,000 homes do not have televisions but are enjoying the likes of RTÉ on a smart device. In an attempt to increase income for the clearly struggling RTÉ, certain smart devices will be liable for TV licence fees.
Who needs a TV licence right now?
At the moment only households “with a television or equipment capable of receiving a television signal” must have a licence. Right now, if you rely on an Android box or a laptop hooked up to a computer screen to watch the likes of RTÉ player, you don’t have to have a TV licence. In fact, smart devices are specifically exempt by law.
Who will need a TV licence with the new laws?
Smart devices have been on the Government’s radar for some time. To be fair, they’re not going completely gung-ho. New TV licence laws will stretch to include devices with screens larger than 11-inches. This excludes the likes of smartphones and most standard size tablets and iPads. Really, the Government are taking aim at desktop computers and laptops, though some larger tablets will be caught in the net too.
Where does your €160 go?
RTÉ’s Director General, Dee Forbes, recently said the Ireland’s TV licence was incredible value at €160. Of course, RTÉ is the main beneficiary of TV licences. Here’s where your money goes:
You’ll notice on glaring omission here – TV3. Owned privately by Virgin Media, TV3 does not benefit at all from your TV licence fees. That’s why it’s a bit rich for RTÉ to claim the licence fee is good value, just after cutting children’s programming and losing the rights of Six Nations Rugby to TV3
How can you avoid paying the TV licence?
There are a few ways to ensure you don’t pay a TV licence. We’re not advising you to avoid paying it if you have a TV – that’s breaking the law. However, if you stream most of your content to a laptop or the likes, keep your screen below 11-inches and you’ll be fine. There is one last stand you can make should a TV licence inspector come to your door.
You can always lob on this video really quickly and claim your telly is a fish tank.