(Pocket-lint) - The BBC has confirmed that users of BBC iPlayer will be required to log into the service using their BBC iD accounts from early 2017.

For many years, the service has been completely open and free-to-use and while the latter will continue - save for a Television Licence now being required in the UK - it will be locked to user accounts.

Some believe that this will enable the Beeb to ensure that only those that pay their Licence Fee can use iPlayer, or even to chase those who don't, but the corporation states that it does not currently plan to use log in or personal account details for enforcement purposes.

Instead, it says that it wants to make the service more localised and personal to viewers. BBC iD accounts now require postcode details, so the broadcaster plans to use them to ensure its programming and features suit users directly.

You can already sign up for a BBC iD account, which is used to personalise other areas of BBC content, including the homepage at bbc.co.uk. Around seven millions accounts have already been registered and they are likely to work with the new iPlayer from day one.

All forms of the app will require log in from early 2017, including those for Smart TVs, games consoles and mobile devices.

Writing by Rik Henderson.