Television Channels in JAPAN | Terrestrial, Digital, Satellite IPTV and Cable TV

Tv channels in Japan

In Japan, television first appeared in 1939. The first tests in electrical television, though, were conducted by Kenjiro Takayanagi in the 1920s. World War II put an end to television broadcasting, and regular television broadcasts only resumed in 1950. MUSE/Hi-Vision was introduced in the 1970s after Japan created the first HDTV systems in the 1960s.

Between 1950 and the beginning of the 2010s, analog broadcast used a modified version of the NTSC analog signal standard known as NTSC-J. The analog broadcast was replaced with digital broadcasts using the ISDB standard (which was introduced in 2003) between 2010 and 2012 in three stages: a technical trial took place on July 24, 2010 during which analog translators in northeastern Ishikawa Prefecture ceased operation, analog transmitters in the rest of Ishikawa and 43 other prefectures were shut down on July 24, 2011, and those in the prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima ceased transmission on July 24, 2012.

Every household in Japan with at least one television is required to pay an annual licensing fee, which goes toward funding NHK, the country's public service broadcaster. Depending on the manner and timing of payment, as well as whether one receives solely terrestrial television or satellite broadcasts, the charge ranges from 14,910 to 28,080. Welfare-receiving households might not have to pay the license fee. In any case, there is no authority to levy penalties or consequences for non-payment; citizens are free to throw away their bills and ignore the occasional bill collector without facing any repercussions.

Terrestrial Television

There are five national commercial key stations and seven national television networks in Japan, two of which are owned by the national public broadcaster NHK. Even though some of the network names listed below are exclusively used for news programming, the relevant companies also broadcast a wide range of other shows on the majority of the same stations.

  • Tokyo NHK General TV (東京NHK総合テレビジョン) (AK)
  • Tokyo NHK Educational TV (東京NHK教育テレビジョン) (AB)
  • Tokyo TV Asahi (東京テレビ朝日) (EX)
  • Tokyo Fuji TV (東京フジテレビ) (CX)
  • Tokyo Nippon TV (東京日本テレビ) (AX)
  • Tokyo TBS Television (東京TBSテレビ) (RX)
  • TV Tokyo (テレビ東京) (TX)

Digital Television

With an analog implementation (MUSE/Hi-Vision) in the late 1980s, Japan was a pioneer of HDTV for many years. The new digital standards are incompatible with the outdated system. On December 1, 2003, the metropolitan areas of Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya began to transmit HD over ISDB-T. As of October 2007, 27 million HD receivers had reportedly been sold in Japan.

The introduction of several standard modifications as recommended by Brazilian researchers is being looked into by the Japanese government (SBTVD). Due to compatibility issues, Japan is unlikely to embrace these additional features; nonetheless, they are being explored for inclusion in upcoming implementations in other nations, including Brazil. According to the country's existing broadcasting law, analog terrestrial television broadcasts in Japan were supposed to expire on July 24, 2011. To lessen the difficulty for people most impacted by the 2011 Thoku earthquake and tsunami, the switch-over was postponed in the prefectures of Fukushima, Miyagi, and Iwate. On March 31, 2012, analog transmission was discontinued in those places.

Cable Television

In Shibukawa, Gunma Prefecture, cable television was first delivered to Japan in 1955. Prior to the 1980s, cable television in Japan was primarily restricted to remote, mountainous areas and distant islands where terrestrial television reception was subpar. Beginning in Tokyo, where the first cable television station started transmitting in 1987, cable television began to grow in urban areas in the late 1980s. The first two-way multichannel cable television platforms hit the market in the middle of the 1990s, and in the late 1990s broadband internet services started being combined with cable television subscriptions.

There are currently a number of national and local cable television companies in Japan, with J:COM and Japan Cablenet being the two biggest (JCN). The Japanese satellite television providers SKY PerfecTV! and WOWOW, as well as the IPTV provider Hikari TV run by NTT Plala, are currently in competition with these businesses.

The Japan Cable Television Engineering Association (JCTEA) is the apex organization for 600 member companies engaged in cable television facility research, design, manufacturing, installation, and maintenance in Japan.

Satellite IPTV

Since 1974, the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) and Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MOPT) have been planning and developing the medium-scale Broadcasting Satellite for Experimental Purposes (BSE). The first Japanese experimental broadcasting satellite, known as Yuri or BSE, was launched in 1978 after that. In May 1984, NHK started broadcasting a test TV program via the BS-2a satellite.

In order to commence the full-scale 2-channel broadcasts, the satellite BS-2a was launched. The first national DBS (direct broadcasting satellite), known as BS-2a, transmitted signals straight to TV viewers' homes. The satellite's design life was 5 years, and attitude control was performed using the 3 axial method (zero momentum). The TV transponder units are made to enhance transmitted signals to a level that allows modest, 40 or 60 cm parabolic antennas for residential usage to receive them. Three TV transponders were included in the satellite's setup (including reserve units). But on March 23, 1984, two transponders malfunctioned, and another transponder malfunctioned three months later (May 3, 1984). In order to test broadcasting on a single channel, the scheduled satellite broadcasting had to be hurriedly modified.

Later, in June 1989, NHK began transmitting regular service (NTSC) and experimental HDTV utilizing BS-2b. Some Japanese manufacturers of consumer electronics for the home started to offer TV sets, VCRs, and even home audio systems with integrated satellite tuners or receivers. Such electronic products featured a distinctive BS logo.

Pay TV service was launched by the Japanese business JSB in April 1991 when the BS-3 communication satellite was in use. Over 10 million households received satellite broadcasts in total in 1996.

BSAT and JCSAT are the two current satellite systems used in Japan; BSAT satellites are used by the current WOWOW Broadcasting Satellite digital service, while JCSAT satellites are used by other digital TV broadcasting systems like SKY PerfecTV! and Hikari TV.

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