If you buy a PC monitor or display without TV tuner capabilities, you do not need to pay a TV licence.
If this monitor is connected to certain devices, however, then you become eligible to pay the R265 annual fee.
This is according to the SABC, which provided feedback to MyBroadband on a recent email which was sent to users.
A reader forwarded MyBroadband an email which he received from the SABC stating he must renew his TV licence.
What drew the reader’s attention was the following line.
“Any combination of devices – a VCR, DStv or M-Net decoder or DVD recorder linked to a monitor, plasma or LCD screen – is also defined as a TV set.”
When the monitor becomes a “TV set” its user becomes liable to pay for a TV licence.
While a DStv or M-Net decoder connected to a monitor makes sense in terms of the devices receiving a broadcast signal, connecting a VCR or DVD player to a display does not automatically make it a traditional TV set-up.
The SABC told MyBroadband that the “correct excerpt of the letter we mail” contains the following definition:
A “television set” is defined in the Act as “any apparatus designed or adapted to be capable of receiving a broadcast television signal”. This includes a TV monitor (without receiving capability) able to receive a broadcast signal by virtue of being connected to a videocassette recorder (VCR).
A personal computer (PC) fitted with an antenna and a TV tuner or video card also needs a licence. The licence fee remains payable as long as one has TV receiving equipment in one’s possession.
“In short, a TV set or monitor connected to a device with a tuner renders the TV set/monitor capable of receiving a television broadcast signal. It therefore means the owner remains liable to pay TV licence fees,” said the SABC.
Buying a device
To find out what impact the email or definition in the relevant act has on end users, MyBroadband visited a large electronics chain store and spoke to a salesman in charge of the TV section.
As expected, buying a TV requires users to have a TV licence. However, he said that the retailer does not require a TV licence for any gaming consoles, DVD players, PC monitors, or laptops purchased.
A MyBroadband staff member also purchased a DStv decoder from a large retailer in September 2018, and was not required to produce a TV licence for the purchase.
TV licence email
The email received by the MyBroadband reader is below.