Watch Live TV from Japan

Television in Japan dates back to the 1920s, with Kenjiro Takayanagi's pioneering experiments in electronic television. Television broadcasting began in the 1930s, but was halted by World War II, after which regular television broadcasting began in 1950. After Japan developed the first HDTV systems in the 1960s, MUSE/Hi-Vision was introduced in the 1970s. A modified version of the NTSC system for analog signals, called NTSC-J, was used for analog broadcast until 2011. Starting July 24, 2011, the analog broadcast has ceased and only digital broadcast using the ISDB standard is available.

All Japanese households having at least one television set are mandated to pay an annual subscription fee used to fund NHK, the Japanese public service broadcaster. The fee varies from ¥14,910 to ¥28,080 depending on the method and timing of payment and on whether one receives only terrestrial television or also satellite broadcasts. Households on welfare may be excused from the subscription payments. In any case, there is no authority to impose sanctions or fines in the event of non-payment; people may (and many do) throw away the bills and turn away the occasional bill collector, without consequence.

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