TV License

EDIT 23 November 2013:

This system has changed. You now need a decoder to watch any Norwegian TV channels. If you have a TV decoder in your name, you’ll have to pay up, no way around it. The radio signals are moving to DAB(+), but slowly. You can still listen to radio for free, but try finding a car with a DAB radio in it… Also the DAB signals are supposed to be sooo gooood, but I can’t even get signals in my own house.

You can watch NRK TV for free online with a Norwegian IP address, and that works very well, even when half the country is watching.

Original post:

A TV License is a tax that Norwegians (and some other unlucky citizens) pay to watch or own a television. It is used to pay for the national “public broadcaster”, called NRK in Norway, which is similar to the BBC in UK.

WHY?! Yes, we ask ourselves this too. Why not give NRK the rights to fund their programs with the help of commercials, like everyone else? Nooo… the government want to control what Norwegians watch, and what programs are available for us. Even the other big company that delivers lots of TV channels in Norway; TV2, has to follow rules the government set, like where their main office is, where they send their news broadcasts from and even how much Norwegian programs they have to show. And for this TV2 gets a big fat nothing, they have to fund all this with commercials. It’s quite insane really.

Insane is also the amount of money you have to pay to have a TV, tuner or TV card for your computer. Every year you pay about 450 US Dollars. Yes. I repeat; 450 US Dollars, just to OWN equipment that may or may not be used to watch NRK.

The money is also used to fund a number of radio channels run by NRK. Nevertheless, the government also meddle in what other radio channels broadcast, and if they are allowed to keep their frequency on the FM band. DAB, Digital Audio Broadcasting, is a digital radio broadcasting system the Norwegian government is trying to force all channels and all listeners to use. Some “tiny” problems with this is stuff like that no new cars are delivered with a DAB radio (and there is just one car radio you can buy with DAB, not one brand, but one -product-), the quality is worse than the FM band, the DAB radios cost a lot so hardly anyone has bothered to buy one, and Norway is the only country that wants to implement this very old technology, everyone else in Europe has opted for a newer version.

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20 Responses to TV License

  1. Aki says:

    Hi, it’s akilovessweets from swap-bot.
    In Japan we also have to pay for NHK (the public broadcaster), even if the TV may not used to watch NHK 😦
    Your blog is so interesting! I’ve never been to Norway but now I know a bit about how the life in your country like.

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  4. Guido says:

    What if you have a computer monitor with TV inputs, but use it only as a computer monitor? Do you still have to pay the tax?

    • You are let off the hook, because you now need a card to unscramble the signals out there. It’s all a greed thing…

      • Jaba says:

        Hi how can I do it. I mean unscrambling the signal ??

      • If you don’t have cable, fiber or satellite you use something called RiksTV. You need a decoder or a card to put directly into your TV (for newer models). There is few channels, but it’s not too expensive, and it’s sold in all electronics stores in Norway.

  5. flip says:

    Hi! I bumped into this blog cause I was looking for information on the TV license here in Norway… Now my question is: I want to buy a TV but im not planning to use it for watching TV programs. just to use a Playstation 3 and maybe watch some movies on Blu-Ray.
    I believe I still have to pay a “TV License” which is around 2000 nok per year? But that doesnt mean I have to pay a monthly fee for a digital TV tuner or something like that? I mean… I dont care to pay to watch “tv programs”. TV is full of sh*t anyway….

  6. a poor student says:

    Hi, this article just got me recently. Some questions:
    1. How do you pay for that “TV license/tax”? Who register your name for that?
    2. If I want to buy 2 new TVs for myself at the same time do I have to pay double license?
    3. If I am subject to that TV license now, and suddenly my old TV get broken and then I buy a new one, does it mean I have to pay license for the new TV as well? Double pay then 😦
    Sorry for too many questions, as I can’t imagine things like this exists before.

    • Hi there!
      When you buy a television in Norway these days, it won’t take in any signals on it’s own, you have to ether subscribe to RiksTV, that unscrambles what’s being sent by air, or a cable/dish/fiber provider. They are all required to tell on you to the government that you have a receiver, and that way you get two big bills each year to pay your license. This is a household thing, so no matter how many TVs you have, old or new, it’s just one set of bills. I hope this helps =)

  7. Steven says:

    Hi i am looking into buying a television for my bedroom , it will be used as a screen for my playstation 3 to play games . I am a student and no interest in even turning a channel on or connecting my television to any wire that allows me to get a signal , if i haven´t got a Rikstv card and do not connect to a wire will i be safe from this licensing fee , i am a student and do not have the kind of cash to pay 450$ a year , thanks .

  8. Jordi says:

    Hi! I bought a Rikstv conector but finally I give it back to the shop. For my surprise 2 weeks later I received a letter for the NRK tax. I do not have the RIkstv anymore so how I can unsubscribe for this tax? Should I go to the shop and ask for a confirmation as I have returned the RIkstv? I dont know what I should do. I would appreciate if you can advise me. Thanks in advance!

  9. Jawad says:

    Hi,

    I live in a borettslag, and the house already had a decoder for the TV which was given by the borettslag to every house. We did not have a TV however. Will we still be charged with the license since we have a decoder in the house?

    Say if we buy a TV now but do not use the decoder with it, will we be asked to pay the license?

    thanks

    • That I do not know! I’d contact the borettslag and ask them if they have sent your info to NRK, if they have I’d contact them BEFORE the bill shows up. That would make things much easier =)

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