Check It Out

No.159 (3/12/10)

Terrestrial digital broadcasting fully starts in July 2011 in Japan

By Chiho Tsukiashi
Staff Writer

In Japan, terrestrial analog broadcasting will be fully terminated as terrestrial service will take over on July 24, 2011. Misawa’s off-base residents receiving the service are urged to prepare for the switch. Otherwise, they won't be able to continue to watch terrestrial broadcasting afterwards.

 Here is what to do for preparation: If your TV isn't digital television (DTV), purchase either a DTV or digital-to-analog converter box. To know whether your TV is digital or analog, turn it on and see the top-right corner of the screen. If the sign “アナログ (analog)” appears, it means it is not equipped with digital tuner.

In the U.S., digital television (DTV) transition has been completed in June with minor confusion leaving some viewers unprepared for the switch. Many others, though, weren't much affected because they had received cable or satellite television service anyway. In Japan, majority watch only over-the-air analog programs.

There are many benefits of the transition: Not to mention picture and sound quality improvement, ten more channels will become available. You can also see program schedules, weather forecast, closed captions, etc., with only one push of a button. When you purchase DTV or other designated eco-friendly electronic appliances at an off-base store, the Japanese government gives you points exchangeable with other items. It is one of their policies aiming to fight against global warming, boost economy, and promote purchase of DTV for terrestrial digital broadcasting fully starting soon. Items with eco-points are air conditioners, refrigerators, and DTV with stickers that have four or more stars on them. Their eco-friendliness is rated with one star as the poorest and the five starts as the best.

The process of getting eco-points is as follows: Send an application form, a copy of warranty of the product, the original receipt, and a copy of home electronic appliances recycle ticket to the Eco-point Office. You can either apply via Internet ( or postal service. Electronic appliance stores can assist you with the process. (No English service is guaranteed).

The number of points given depends on products. For example, if you buy a 40 inch DTV, you can earn 23,000 points. If you bring an old TV to the same store for recycle, 3,000 points are added. 260,000 points in total can be exchanged with items worth around 260,000 yen! The items can be chosen from gift certificates, agricultural products from all over the nation, or another eco-friendly product. You may also donate the points to some non-profit organizations engaged in ecological activities.

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