The digital television transition in Japan (アナログ放送終了) was the mandatory switchover from analog to digital terrestrial television broadcasting that began in 2008 and continued through early 2012. The switchover itself took place between 24 July 2011 and 31 March 2012, and involved television stations across all five major commercial networks, the entire network of NHK's broadcast transmitters, and television stations that are part of the JAITS group. Japan was the first country in eastern Asia to cease broadcasting television signals in analog.
On 1 December 2003, the five major television stations in Tokyo became the first broadcasters to begin broadcasting in digital. Unlike analog television (which used NTSC-J and relied mainly on VHF signals (channels 1–12) in large markets and UHF signals (channels 13–52) in smaller markets), digital television (which uses ISDB) totally relies on the utilisation of UHF signals. For this reason, the digital channels had to be amended in some areas of the country so that they do not coexist with the then-existing analog channels. This process took place between February 2003 and March 2007.
This was not the first time, however, that digital television began appearing in Japan, as the NHK's Broadcasting Satellite services began broadcasting in digital in December 2000. Those services, however, were open only to those with digital satellite systems. The MUSE Hi-Vision system, which began broadcasting in 1991, was switched off permanently on 30 September 2007, almost four years after the first digital terrestrial broadcasts began.
Televisions without digital receivers required ISDB-T converter boxes or DVD recorders in order to convert the digital signal into a receivable analog signal. Many of the old analog-era devices had standard image quality, but the digital televisions and tuners that were distributed in the first few years of digital terrestrial broadcasts were only usable for a limited amount of time. As a result of this, the initial cost of digital equipment was expensive; in mid-2007, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications requested television manufacturers to release specialized digital tuners for around ¥5,000 or lower.
Although digital television tuners became widely available to the general population, low income households could not be able to afford the cost of the tuners themselves, even after the prices of the tuners themselves decreased between 2008 and 2010. The ministry responded by distributing tuners free of charge to all low income households; this prevented a situation that would have been similar to the coupon-eligible converter box program during the 2009 digital switchover in the United States. Unlike the United States, however, new antenna equipment was also required on the top of any building that was equipped with a digital television tuner. This led to reception issues in the months preceding the planned switchover.Digital broadcasts could be received with little or no issues within the transmission error's processing capability, but could not be received at all if this capability is exceeded.
As a result of the confusion that was arisen with regards to the transmission of the analog and digital broadcast signals at the same time, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications implemented several measures to ease confusion in the time leading up to the digital switchover. Beginning on 24 July 2008, three years before the planned shutdown of the analog transmitters themselves, a permanent DOG was placed on the top right corner of the screen to indicate the analog broadcast.This would change as follows:
Between October 2008 and February 2009, the ministry opened up the local digital television call center (デジサポ, Digisapo) service in all 47 prefectures of Japan, which would serve customers who had inquiries about the digital transition. These agencies were available as alternatives to the national service, which itself utilized Navi Dial.
On 6 April 2009, the northeastern portion of Ishikawa Prefecture (corresponding to the cities of Suzu and Noto) was chosen by the ministry as the test market for the digital transition; other areas of the country were expected to conduct similar tests.Periodically throughout the year, analog broadcasts would be suspended for a certain amount of time on some days. Delivery of all digital tuners to the mentioned areas of northeastern Ishikawa was expected to be completed by 30 November 2009.
Beginning on 22 January 2010, analog broadcasts of all commercial television stations in the northeastern part of Ishikawa Prefecture were suspended for a total of 48 hours; KTK, HAB, MRO, and ITC participated in the digital television transition test. NHK was excluded from the test as they were the official conduit of emergency information in the area. On 24 July 2010 at noon, the first phase of the digital switchover began in the northeastern part of Ishikawa Prefecture (which served approximately 8,800 households at the time of digitalization); the auxiliary transmitters of all five television stations serving the area were immediately switched off at that time.
Beginning in September 2010, all television stations were required to display information about the digital television transition in the area of the analog television broadcast that is covered by the letterboxes. This continued until just before noon on the day of the digital switchover, albeit with minor updates being inserted periodically.
The 11 March 2011 earthquake in Tohoku devastated many households in the prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima, where major power and water outages were reported.Rolling blackouts in some areas of the country that were not seriously affected by the earthquake would take place for the remainder of March; this required the analog auxiliary transmitters in the Kantō region to stop broadcasting for a short period of time. On 22 April 2011, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications announced that the shutdown of analog transmitters in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures would be postponed for up to a year following the original shutdown date of 24 July 2011 out of respect for the victims of the disaster; the television stations licensed to those three prefectures would be subsidized for half the cost of maintaining the old analog equipment. The final transition date in those areas would be moved to 31 March 2012 per an announcement made on 5 July 2011.
On 1 July 2011, television stations across 44 of the 47 prefectures that were scheduled to shut down their analog services on the original date began displaying a countdown clock in the lower left corner of the screen indicating the number of days remaining until the analog services ended. Seventeen days later, the ministry's digital television call center hours were temporarily extended to accommodate additional inquiries.
On 24 July 2011 at noon, regularly scheduled programming ended on all analog signals in 44 of the country's 47 prefectures, as well as on WOWOW and the NHK's BS1 and BS Premium channels (the Open University of Japan shuttered analog broadcasts three days earlier). The end of the transmission of regular programs took place minutes before the start of the third game of the 2011 Nippon Professional Baseball All-Star Series, which was being transmitted by TV Asahi. In addition, special episodes of Waratte Iitomo! (which was aired on Fuji Television) and other variety shows covering the digital transition were aired by other television stations. At the stroke of noon, all programming on the analog signal was replaced with a white-on-blue warning message signifying the end of regular programming, as well as the phone numbers of the digital television call center and the television station's inquiry helpline. This message, which varied between stations in different prefectures but maintained the same basic format, was aired continuously for about twelve hours; the transmitters themselves signed off the air shortly before midnight on that day (with stations in most areas airing legal sign-off notices as well). This was necessary because the ministry changed the transmitter shutoff time from noon to midnight due to technical reasons.
In February 2012, there was a consolidation of digital television call centers in areas where the switchover was already completed.
On 12 March 2012, the sixteen television stations serving the area that was impacted by the 2011 earthquake (Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures) began displaying the aforementioned countdown clock. As with the earlier shutdown, the business hours of the digital television call centers in all three prefectures were temporarily extended as well. When regular programming on the analog signal ended at noon on 31 March 2012, the aforementioned warning messages were still displayed as usual, but there was no fanfare except for those that were broadcast by both NHK and TBC shortly before regular programming ended. At midnight that same day, the analog transmitters themselves switched off, marking the completion of the digital switchover in Japan.
Cable television providers across Japan were not initially affected by the digital switchover, as analog cable services were expected to continue for a short amount of time after the transmitters themselves ceased operations. However, some stations that were not part of the country's five major commercial television networks were no longer offered on analog cable after 24 July 2011. By 2015, most analog cable systems ceased operations.
Analog television is the original television technology that uses analog signals to transmit video and audio. In an analog television broadcast, the brightness, colors and sound are represented by amplitude, phase and frequency of an analog signal.
Digital television (DTV) is the transmission of television audiovisual signals using digital encoding, in contrast to the earlier analog television technology which used analog signals. At the time of its development it was considered an innovative advancement and represented the first significant evolution in television technology since color television in the 1950s. Modern digital television is transmitted in high definition (HDTV) with greater resolution than analog TV. It typically uses a widescreen aspect ratio in contrast to the narrower format of analog TV. It makes more economical use of scarce radio spectrum space; it can transmit up to seven channels in the same bandwidth as a single analog channel, and provides many new features that analog television cannot. A transition from analog to digital broadcasting began around 2000. Different digital television broadcasting standards have been adopted in different parts of the world; below are the more widely used standards:
Terrestrial television is a type of television broadcasting in which the television signal is transmitted by radio waves from the terrestrial (Earth-based) transmitter of a television station to a TV receiver having an antenna. The term terrestrial is more common in Europe and Latin America, while in the United States it is called broadcast or over-the-air television (OTA). The term "terrestrial" is used to distinguish this type from the newer technologies of satellite television, in which the television signal is transmitted to the receiver from an overhead satellite; cable television, in which the signal is carried to the receiver through a cable; and Internet Protocol television, in which the signal is received over an Internet stream or on a network utilizing the Internet Protocol. Terrestrial television stations broadcast on television channels with frequencies between about 52 and 600 MHz in the VHF and UHF bands. Since radio waves in these bands travel by line of sight, reception is generally limited by the visual horizon to distances of 64–97 kilometres (40–60 mi), although under better conditions and with tropospheric ducting, signals can sometimes be received hundreds of kilometers distant.
The Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting is a Japanese standard for digital television (DTV) and digital radio used by the country's radio and television networks. ISDB supersedes both the NTSC-J analog television system and the previously used MUSE Hi-vision analog HDTV system in Japan as well as the NTSC, PAL-M, and PAL-N broadcast standards in South America and the Philippines. Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting (DTTB) services using ISDB-T started in Japan in December 2003 and Brazil in December 2007 as a trial. Since then, many countries have adopted ISDB over other digital broadcasting standards.
Digital terrestrial television is a technology for terrestrial television in which land-based (terrestrial) television stations broadcast television content by radio waves to televisions in consumers' residences in a digital format. DTTV is a major technological advance over the previous analog television, and has largely replaced analog which had been in common use since the middle of the 20th century. Test broadcasts began in 1998 with the changeover to DTTV beginning in 2006 and is now complete in many countries. The advantages of digital terrestrial television are similar to those obtained by digitising platforms such as cable TV, satellite, and telecommunications: more efficient use of limited radio spectrum bandwidth, provision of more television channels than analog, better quality images, and potentially lower operating costs for broadcasters.
WPBA, virtual channel 30, is a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station licensed to Atlanta, Georgia, United States. Owned by Atlanta Public Schools, it is a sister outlet to National Public Radio (NPR) member station WABE and local educational access cable service APS Cable Channel 22. The three outlets share studios on Bismark Road in the Morningside/Lenox Park neighborhood of Atlanta; WPBA's transmitter is located on New Street Northeast in the city's Edgewood neighborhood. On cable, the station is available on Comcast Xfinity and Google Fiber channel 16, and AT&T U-verse channel 30; there is a high definition feed available on Xfinity and AT&T U-verse channel 1030.
CBC Television is a Canadian English-language broadcast television network owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the national public broadcaster. The network began operations on September 6, 1952. Its French-language counterpart is Ici Radio-Canada Télé.
WTVS, virtual channel 56, is a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station licensed to Detroit, Michigan, United States. The station is owned by the Detroit Educational Television Foundation. WTVS' main studios are located at the Riley Broadcast Center and HD Studios in Wixom, with an additional studio at the Maccabees Building in Midtown Detroit. The station's transmitter is located at 8 Mile and Meyers Road in Oak Park. WTVS partners with the Stanley and Judith Frankel Family Foundation in the management of classical and jazz music station WRCJ-FM (90.9).
KTWU, virtual and VHF digital channel 11, is a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station licensed to Topeka, Kansas, United States. The station is owned by Washburn University. KTWU's studios are located on the western edge of the Washburn University campus at 19th Street and Jewell Avenue in central Topeka, and its transmitter is located on Wanamaker Road on the city's northwest side. It also operates a low-power translator serving portions of southeastern Kansas, K30AL-D in Iola, whose transmitter is located near Moran.
WPXL-TV, virtual channel 49, is an Ion Television owned-and-operated station licensed to New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. The station is owned by West Palm Beach, Florida-based Ion Media Networks. WPXL-TV's offices are located on Veterans Memorial Boulevard and Cleary Avenue in Metairie, and its transmitter is located off Paris Road near the Orleans–St. Bernard parish line. On cable, the station is available on Cox Communications channel 49 in both standard and high definition.
An ATSCtuner, often called an ATSC receiver or HDTV tuner, is a type of television tuner that allows reception of digital television (DTV) television channels that use ATSC standards, as transmitted by television stations in North America, parts of Central America, and South Korea. Such tuners are usually integrated into a television set, VCR, digital video recorder (DVR), or set-top box which provides audio/video output connectors of various types.
KFTV-DT, virtual and UHF digital channel 21, is a Univision owned-and-operated television station serving Fresno, California, United States that is licensed to Hanford. The station is owned by the Univision Local Media subsidiary of Univision Communications, as part of a duopoly with Porterville-licensed UniMás owned-and-operated station KTFF-DT. The two stations share studios on Univision Plaza near the corner of North Palm and West Herndon avenues in northwestern Fresno; KFTV's transmitter is located on Blue Ridge in rural northwestern Tulare County.
A coupon-eligible converter box (CECB) was a digital television adapter that met eligibility specifications for subsidy "coupons" from the United States government. The subsidy program was enacted to provide terrestial television viewers with an affordable way to continue receiving free digital terrestrial television services after the nation's television service transitioned to digital transmission and analog transmissions ceased. The specification was developed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), with input from the broadcast and consumer electronics industries as well as public interest groups.
In the United States, digital television broadcasts, or DTV, can be received via cable, via internet, via satellite, or via digital terrestrial television — much like analog television broadcasts have been. Full-power analog television broadcasts, however, were required by U.S. federal law to cease by June 12, 2009. Low-power, Class A, and TV Translator stations are not currently required to cease analog broadcasts. Also by law, digital broadcasts — when transmitted as over-the-air signals — must conform to ATSC standards. it is unclear whether satellite operators are free to use their own proprietary standards; and many standards exist for Internet television.
The digital television transition, also called the digital switchover (DSO), the analog switch-off (ASO), the digital migration, or the analog shutdown, is the process in which older analog television broadcasting technology is converted to and replaced by digital television. Conducted by individual nations on different schedules, this primarily involves the conversion of analog terrestrial television broadcasting infrastructure to digital terrestrial (DTT), a major benefit being extra frequencies on the radio spectrum and lower broadcasting costs, as well as improved viewing qualities for consumers.
The digital transition in the United States was the switchover from analog to exclusively digital broadcasting of terrestrial television programming. According to David Rehr, then president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, this transition represented "the most significant advancement of television technology since color TV was introduced." For full-power TV stations, the transition went into effect on June 12, 2009, with stations ending regular programming on their analog signals no later than 11:59 p.m. local time that day.
Television in Japan was introduced in 1939. However, experiments date back to the 1920s, with Kenjiro Takayanagi's pioneering experiments in electronic television. Television broadcasting was halted by World War II, after which regular television broadcasting began in 1950. After Japan developed the first HDTV systems in the 1960s, MUSE/Hi-Vision was introduced in the 1970s.
JOAX-DTV, branded as Nippon TV, is the flagship station of the Nippon Television Network System, owned-and-operated by the Nippon Television Network Corporation which is a subsidiary of the certified broadcasting holding company Nippon Television Holdings, Inc., itself a listed subdisiary of The Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings, Japan's largest media conglomerate by revenue and the second largest behind Sony; Nippon Television Holdings forms part of Yomiuri's main television broadcasting arm alongside Kansai region flagship Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation, which owns a 6.4% share in the company. Nippon TV's studios are located in the Shiodome area of Minato, Tokyo, Japan and its transmitters are located in the Tokyo Skytree. Broadcasting terrestrially across Japan, the network is sometimes contracted to Nittere (日テレ), and abbreviated as "NTV" or "AX".
UHF television broadcasting is the use of ultra high frequency (UHF) radio for over-the-air transmission of television signals. UHF frequencies are used for both analog and digital television broadcasts. UHF channels are typically given higher channel numbers, like the US arrangement with VHF channels 2 to 13, and UHF channels numbered 14 to 83. Compared with an equivalent VHF television transmitter, to cover the same geographic area with a UHF transmitter requires a higher effective radiated power, implying a more powerful transmitter or a more complex antenna. However, the additional channels allow more broadcasters in a given region without causing objectionable mutual interference.
Nearly 1.5 million households had gone without water since the quake struck.