Getting TV Service
There are 12 channels of publicly broadcast TV in Tokyo including the government NHK channels. Since most of the programming is exclusively in Japanese (although some news programs are broadcast with English translations) it is not very interesting to most non-Japanese speakers. Fortunately, there is a selection of cable and satellite service providers in Japan, which provide access to a wide variety of international programming.
About 80% of the buildings in Tokyo are already connected with cable TV (CATV), but in some rare cases where the building is not connected it might be difficult to install CATV. This is an important point to confirm when searching for your new apartment.
Cable TV Service Providers
Each ward or city has its own cable TV service provider. The channels and packages offered by each company are quite similar. The cable service providers offer a choice of about 7 – 10 English and Japanese Bilingual channels and 40-50 specialty channels. There are two set packages of channels to choose from with some optional channels you can add to each. The monthly rate is about ¥2,700 – ¥4,800 for a package of channels depending where you live and which package you choose.
Some of the major international channels:
FOX, SuperChannel (movies), CNN, The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, MTV
Popular Optional channels:
Star Channel (movies) starting at ¥1,890
WOWOW (movies, sports, concerts) ¥3,150
BBC – starting at ¥945
Cable TV Setup
- Call your local cable company and have them send an application form.
- Fill in all the details and choose your package and optional channels. You will have to specify payment by credit card or direct bank payment.
- In about 3 days – 1 week someone from the cable company will come and install the cable. You will have to designate a room for the cable to be installed. Basically it is 1 line and 1 tuner for 1 TV. (You won’t be able to see cable TV in every room that has a TV jack – only the jacks that the Cable TV person has in- stalled)
Cable TV Service Providers
Shinagawa Cable TV
03-3788-3811 (English service)
Setagaya, Shibuya, Meguro, and Ota areas
044-820-7535 (English service)
J-com (English site)
Itscom (English site)
The other option for expanded TV programming is satellite TV service. The dominant provider is SKY PerfecTV!. If your building is older than 2 years, than you will probably need to set up and install a small SKY PerfecTV! satellite dish on your balcony. It is necessary to install the satellite dish in such a way that it has an unobstructed view of the sun between 1:00 and 2:00pm on a fine day towards the southwest. Placing the dish on the roof of your building may require the building owner’s permission. It may be difficult to install the dish yourself so it may be better to arrange to have a professional install it for you. In some cases newer buildings will already have a dish on the roof for SKY PerfecTV! and you will just have to buy a tuner, which costs around ¥8,000 – ¥15,000. A tuner and dish will cost ¥15,000 – ¥30,000. You can purchase these items at any major electronics store and installation will cost about ¥15,000.
Out of a total 290 channels SKY PerfecTV! offers about 48 English channels.
Some of the channels include:
The GOLF CHANNEL, J Sports 1+2+3,Sports-I, ESPN
Cinefil Imagica, Star Channel Multiplexl, Movie Plus
Children’s – Educational Channels
Cartoon Network, Discovery Channel, Animax, Disney
News – American Channels
Bloomberg, FOX, CNN, BBC
Sky Perfect TV Setup
- Check with your landlord if you can put the dish on your balcony or roof.
- Buy the tuner and satellite dish
- Have someone from the shop come and install the dish and tuner. The dish will go outside and you will need a thin cord (Ninja cable) going through the window to connect to your TV. It might be a good idea to have the cord in a window you don’t open much because it will break easily.
- After everything is connected call or have the technician call SKY PerfecTV! at 0570-039-888 (After you hear the Japanese announcement press 9 for English service) and you will be able to view 2 weeks of free channels on a trial registration.
- After you have decided on which channels you would like, fill in the application form and send it to SKY PerfecTV!.
- After SKY PerfecTV! has confirmed your application they will send a mail to your TV and you will be able to see the channels you have chosen.
One of the benefits of SKY PerfecTV! is that it gives you the freedom to choose any of the individual channels you want and pay separately, or choose one of their set bargain packages of channels, (unlike cable TV which only offers 2 packages with some optional channels). Packages are usually about ¥2,890 – ¥7,770.
There is also the flexibility of quickly changing your subscription. “If you wish to change or add new channels, call our SKY PerfecTV! Customer Center. SKY PerfecTV! is always ready to accept applications for changes in the contents of your contract with us.”
For more information:
SKY PerfecTV! English site
0570-039-888 (After you hear the Japanese announcement press 9 for English service)