Terrestrial digital TV may not cover 600,000 Japanese homes
Saturday, September 15th, 2007

Terrestrial digital broadcasting may leave 600,000 households in sparsely populated areas in Japan staring at static when the new TV service replaces analogue broadcasting in July 2011, government officials said. In comparison, only several tens of thousands of viewers are currently unable to get TV broadcasts under the analogue version, reports The Japan Times.

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry plans to use satellite broadcasting for sparsely populated areas until broadcasters build relay stations there to increase coverage, government officials said.

Public broadcaster NHK is working with private broadcasters to build relay stations ahead of the switch to terrestrial digital broadcasting, which the government is promoting as having clearer pictures and sound. The broadcasters plan to have about 99 percent of Japanese households covered by the new service by March 2011, leaving about one percent without service in sparsely populated areas, such as mountainous regions and isolated islands where relay station construction would be considered economically inefficient.

(Source: Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union)