It won’t be long before you’ll need a UK TV licence for your computer #

With Swedish public broadcaster SVT set to open up their streaming service for the iPad, peple relyingon their tablets to watch TV without a TV at home will fall under the remit of the Swedish licence fee.

On Tuesday, SVT CEO Eva Hamilton used an opinion article published in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper to announce the state broadcaster would soon offer its entire broadcast line-up free of charge online.¬†While the change will allow viewers to browse through SVT’s entire repertoire on tablet computers as well as smartphones, it also means that people who exclusively consume programmes and news via the internet will be covered by Sweden’s TV licence fee.

Technically speaking watching the live stream of BBC1 and BBC2 is enough to require a licence fee in the UK, but the issue has always been hedged around (is a computer picking up a stream analogous to a piece of hardware picking up a broadcasted TV signal?). Nevertheless the next few years will see the BBC Charter come under scrutiny, and the interaction between the licence fee and the online component of the BBC is going to be a big talking point.

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