Using a placeshifting device to stream your home TV to a mobile device is not illegal, as long as you have a valid TV licence, according to the TV Licensing Authority .

But if you are watching the footage on a device that is plugged into the mains in a property that doesn't have a valid licence, then you are breaking the law.

"It's up to the individual to make sure there is a valid licence for the property they're watching the footage in", says Chris Reed, a spokesperson for the TV Licensing Authority.

According to information from the TV Licensing Authority, 98 per cent of the UK population have a valid TV licence.

The Authority believes that a placeshifting device is unlikely to take the place of a TV, but will instead compliment a user's existing set up - and will therefore fall under people's existing TV licence.

Details

"Under current legislation, any TV dealer, selling TV equipment, and TV recording equipment, need to capture the details of the people buying the equipment," explains Reed.

"The same applies to placeshifting devices such as Slingbox and Sony's Location-Free TV . We've made it very clear to the sellers that that's what they need to do.

"There's no reason to suggest that it hasn't been happening. As far as we're concerned, the retailers are perfectly aware of their obligations."

The TV Licensing Authority has no plans to push for the regulations of the TV licence to be amended. It believes the current law "was written in such a way as to be forward-looking".

You can also legally use placeshifting abroad, provided you have a valid licence for the property in the UK where the TV is being streamed from.

The Authority will police placeshifting by its normal methods - using its database to prosecute those without a TV licence.

For more information, you can contact TV Licensing on 0870 241 5590 or visit its website at www.tvlicensing.co.uk . Richard Preston