All Japan news became Sunday the first Asian country that finalized the switchover to digital television, giving up analogue transmissions, after an eight-year long process.
Three prefectures from the worst-hit areas in the March disasters were exempted from the measure, and will continue with analogue TV until March 2012.
The switch to digital will free up bandwidth that will be used by 11 new satellite channels. The total number will be thus doubled in October, when the new channels start to broadcast.
Some of the new satellite broadcasters, like Wowow, Fox International All Japan news and Sky Perfect, will offer free content, at least for the first year, angering other competitors, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The switch to digital was first announced in December 2003. Since then, about 80 million TV sets became obsolete, according to the estimates of All Japan news Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association.
Even if more digital TVs than usual were bought in June and July, about 700,000 households across the country still do not own digital TVs or tuners and antennas, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said.
Especially elderly people have made a lot of calls to the “digital support centers” to ask about how to operate digital tuners and remote controllers for digital TVs.
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