When looking for housing, you will want to know what television options are available in your area. Ask the realtor showing you housing what kind of television system is available and possible in the apartment or house you are considering. Some services may be included in the apartment rent and you may also choose to subscribe to other systems.
Japan National Broadcasting Corporation (NHK)
Two VHF channels you will automatically receive are operated by NHK. This is a partially government-run station. There are no commercials during the programming. NHK shows many cultural programs but most importantly, they have the emergency broadcasts in English and Japanese during natural disasters.
All residents of Japan who have a television are required to pay a yearly charge of approximately ¥15,000. This is usually collected monthly and sometimes paid for by the landlord.
Japan Cable Television (JCTV)
The original cable TV service in Tokyo, JCTV, is in many apartment buildings popular with foreigners. It brings in all the Japanese television channels and CNN from the U.S. for approximately 24 hours a day.
Cable Television Tokyo (CTT)
A more comprehensive cable service. In the basic service there are channels including all conventional NHF-TV channels, one UHF-TV channel, two satellite channels, University of the Air, a movie channel, MTV, a sports channel, a channel which shows old American television series. Optional services include other movie channels, NHK’s Wowow providing an interesting selection of movies and international sports, 24 hours of CNN news and a Reuter News Watch channel. About 40% of the channels with cable service are in English. The fees involved for the above would be for membership, installation, tuner deposit and monthly charge.
Tokyu Cable TV (TCT)
A cable service similar to CTT but available in parts of Setagaya Ward, Shibuya Ward, Meguro Ward and Ota Ward.
Satellite Broadcasting (BS Satellite)
The BS satellite provides access to 3 NHK stations. The programming is not at all as extensive as the CS satellite, but 2 of the 3 channels are free. The pay channel Wowow provides an interesting selection of movies and sports programming. The costs will involve a satellite antenna, tuner and installation. Most electrical shops have the BS Tuner and Satellite dish. The shop will also do the installation and provide the application information for Wowow.
Satellite Digital T.V.
SKY/PerfecTV, Tel. 03-5802-5550
The most recent television system is the satellite digital system. The choice of Programs in English is the most extensive of all the television systems available in Tokyo. The system also provides a pay-per-view system for special movies and sports programs. Connected to your telephone line it is possible to make a selection for a pay-per-view program. The costs involved are a satellite dish, special digital tuner, installation, monthly subscription fee based on the selection of programs. The equipment is purchased at an electrical shop. The shop will also provide installation. Enclosed with the equipment is the application form and also instructions regarding start-up of the service. A special trial system enables you to view the programs before making your selection.
Buying the Appropriate Television
When buying a television in Japan be sure to check if the T.V. is capable of receiving bilingual programming. The TV must have a built-in tuner or be watched using a stereo VCR to receive bilingual programs. Ask store personnel for a more technical explanation. Having this capability will allow you to watch programs on Japanese channels that are broadcast in English as well as Japanese. Also, some cable and satellite stations will not be receivable in English without your television having bilingual capability.