French TV licence: you have to pay

TV LicenceSo you never watch French television? You still need a licence. Over the nearly a quarter of a century we’ve published we’ve regularly got letters – especially from Brits – asking if they can avoid paying a television licence (redevance) by telling the authorities they never watch French television. This ties in with an e-mail from Gary Soan who says he has a television set but no antenna nor satellite link and only uses it to watch DVD’s fed in from his player. “A friendly neighbour” tells him he still needs a licence. True? Yes indeed. The redevance is payable on any functioning receiver, whatever input it shows (off-air, satellite, cable). So Gary has to pay.

But he’s got some good news. Prices of DVDs have been on a slide for some time with remarkable bargains in places like the FNAC and Virgin. This is an attempt by retailers to stimulate demand as downloading has cut into the market. Also films can now go to DVD just four months after their cinema release (until now the waiting period was six months); box office flops can be legally viewed at home after only three months. So far, by the way, Blu-Ray and HD have made little impact in France so you won’t need a new player for quite a while.