Digital terrestrial television (DTT) broadcasting was launched in Japan yesterday by Junichiro Koizumi, their Prime Minister.
Launching in three cities; Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, it is their first step towards turning off analogue transmissions by July 2011. It also happens to coincide with the 50th anniversary year of television broadcasting in Japan.
Although digital broadcasts can be seen over fairly large areas in Osaka and Nagoya, viewing in Tokyo is still narrowly confined to its central areas for the NHK general service. Potential viewers are estimated at 12 million households but some estimate that the actual number of viewers at about 300,000 due to reception and delivery problems. With these small numbers, it is currently seen more as an experiment than a commercial rollout.
Japan has had satellite digital broadcast since 2001, drawing 4.7 million households so far.