Japan Launches Digital Switchover Info Push

08 May 2006

The Japanese television industry and the country's government are increasingly anxious to inform viewers that the end is nigh for the analog broadcasting signal.

According to a report last year by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, just 9.2% of those surveyed knew about the digital switchover scheduled for July 2011.

The interested parties, including TV manufacturers and retailers, are planning major advertising and publicity campaigns to draw attention to the approaching change.

Just 90% of the current 100 million televisions in use in Japan are thought to be digitally enabled and, according to retailers, analog TV sets continue to sell well.

A spokesman for Bic Camera in Tokyo says around half the customers shopping for analog TV sets have no idea about the planned demise of the signal.

Nobuo Ikeda, managing director at the Information and Communications Policy Forum of Sumagakuen International, says steps should be taken to prevent tens of millions of TV sets becoming useless in 2011.

He believes the government should set a target of raising the rate of digital-compatible devices to 90% before the analog signal can be switched off.

Data sourced from Asahi Shimbun Online; additional content by WARC staff