"There is an argument for the BBC to encrypt and only licence fee payers can access the TV content. This would take years for the filter through of the new capable hardware to reach people unless they went all out and forced people to change their hardware. Can you imagine that?!."
The fact is that the BBC had the PERFECT opportunity, when we went from analogue 625 line transmission to digital TV (ie Freeview), to ensure that EVERY Freeview box had a CAM slot, so that everyone who wanted to watch the digital BBC transmissions, could do so. A simple CAM card could have been issued to the viewer when they got their new TV licence.
But they FAILED to do so.
Even now, they could encrypt their signals on the Sky and Virgin platforms and said broadcasters could increase the subscription to those viewers and monies would come in (if they fully went over to the encrypted route). And many Freeview and Freesat viewers could get a CAM card if their receiver accepted it, or buy a cheap new set top box.
But the fact is, that like so many other technologies, (DAB for one), the BBC has failed to see beyond it's limited, blinkered views and still relies on 1960's methods of extracting money from people who might not even want to watch the BBC.
Time will come when the BBC will have to cut its expenditure, if more people decide the TVL is not worth the money anymore, esp with other channels online and from satellite.
PS: It also seems that if you want to watch ANY programs on the BBC iPlayer archive, that were made (say) 5, 10 even 20 years ago, you have to agree to the statement that you currently have a TV Licence. Given that these programs were all paid for "way back when" they should now be in the public domain and they should not require your agreement to something that isn't relevant to the archived programmes.