Originally Posted by TonyD
We have to buy a license every year. It used to genuinely be a license to own a TV. That was back when we only had four channels and there were no such things as games consoles or playback devices.
Now, you can own one without a license, but you can only use it for games consoles and DVD players (and other minority situations, like using it solely as a CCTV monitor, as a radio, or as output for a stereo system). Interestingly, you don't need the license if you only watch on-demand TV services. I guarantee they'll change that.
You need the license to watch live TV of any kind. It also covers TV cards in computers, and set-top boxes.
It's basically how we fund the BBC.