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Digital terrestrial TV broadcast launch may be delayed.

TOKYO, Nov. 20 Kyodo

The planned launch of digital terrestrial television broadcasts may be delayed as financial support from the government to promote the conversion from analog broadcasting may have to be much more substantial than originally thought, a group promoting digital broadcasting said Tuesday.

The association consisting of Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK), commercial TV broadcasters and the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications said the government may need to spend more than 200 billion yen by fiscal 2006 to promote the conversion of terrestrial broadcasts from analog to digital, more than double the 73 billion yen envisaged under the existing plan.

Under the exiting plan, which calls for the launch of digital terrestrial broadcasts in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya in fiscal 2003 and in the rest of Japan in fiscal 2006, the association estimated that some 2.5 million households in certain regions will have to install digital-capable antennas and channels so as to avoid interference from radio waves.

However, a closer look at the date determined that about 4.4 million households across Japan will need to acquire the new technology, the association said.

The adjustment in the number of households expected to be affected by the digital broadcasting program could spark criticism, as the number of households was initially estimated at 10 million in 1998, but then revised sharply downward to 2.5 million, the figure on which the current plan and funding were based.
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Comment:Digital terrestrial TV broadcast launch may be delayed.
Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Nov 26, 2001
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