A forthcoming new law will mean that “Those who watch catch-up BBC iPlayer on tablets will be forced to pay [the TV] licence fee”

“One option being considered is to make users sign in with a password linked in with a television licence before they can watch live or catch-up programmes.”

Well, that’s up to them. But I wouldn’t have thought that Parliament needed to waste time on passing a new law, just so that the BBC could password-protect iPlayer TV?

Anyway, it’s obviously going ahead. So let’s hope that iPlayer TV will be very clearly split from iPlayer Radio (audio streamed via a Web browser). If not, then some BBC users would loose out. Namely, those who only use the BBC website for weather and catching up on In Our Time and various radio documentaries. We would presumably have to block the BBC’s iPlayer stream right down at at the level of the hosts file in Windows, or else risk being collared by license enforcement.

As for TV viewers, I’d suspect that the BBC are shooting themselves in the foot on this one. BBC bosses may imagine that their new law will caused lapsed licence payers to return to Auntie’s heaving bosom. But I suspect that a great many, especially those who only bother with the big serial dramas and occasional science documentary, will simply be pushed from using iPlayer TV as catch-up (no licence) to downloading .MP4 TV programmes from the torrent websites (no licence).