Photo: Pan Pacific International Holdings

TVs that don’t show TV programs selling out fast in Japan

By SoraNews24

In December of last year, Japanese discount store chain Don Quijote began selling the Android TV Equipped Tunerless Smart TV. As its name explains, this TV has no tuner with which to view terrestrial broadcasts, but does have Chromecast built-in and is compatible with Amazon’s Fire TV Stick.

Despite lacking the ability to watch TV, which some purists might consider the most important aspect of a TV, this device flew off the shelves soon after its release. The reason is likely a Dec 2 ruling by the Supreme Court of Japan that a woman with a TV modified to block signals from the public broadcaster NHK was still required to pay an annual fee.

Paying for NHK in Japan is something of a contentious issue, so much so that an entire political party was formed because of it. In a nutshell, the broadcaster had outsourced the task of getting people to sign contracts for the fees. These collectors are notoriously aggressive in their tactics, which has resulted in some equally aggressive ways to get out of paying for it.

Buying a specially modified TV that accepts every station except for NHK is one such way. However, although the woman’s TV wasn’t able to receive NHK at the time, the court ruled that she must pay because the blocking feature had the potential to be undone at any time.

It was a verdict that left many others with similar TVs suddenly in need of a new one that would keep NHK out of their pockets. Mere days after, when the Android Equipped Tunerless Smart TV was released, Don Quijote never mentioned NHK explicitly in ads, but the TVs quickly gained a reputation online as an “NHK-proof” television.

Demand rose sharply for the two televisions: a 24-inch model for 21,780 yen and a 42-inch one for 32,780 yen. Even Don Quijote admitted they underestimated how well these TVs would sell, and their initial run of 6,000 units didn’t prevent some locations from selling out. This month they announced that production of a further 6,000 was underway.


Online comments were a mix of reactions, with some celebrating the alternative television but other worried about its quality. In addition, others posed the obvious question: Aren’t these just monitors?

“It’s a monitor.”

“This will be the new normal.”

“I bet you a lot of people bought this thinking it would let them watch other channels…”

“It’s just a monitor. Everyone is being deceived.”

“I would be better to plug a Fire TV into a monitor with HDMI. Can you even update the OS on those things?”

“Wow! Don Quijote did it!”

“Because of NHK other stations will be losing viewers now.”

“I wonder if you could modify one of those TVs to watch NHK.”

“Isn’t it just a big tablet?”

“It’s not just a monitor! It’s a monitor with Chromecast built in.”

In fairness, the Android TV Equipped Tunerless Smart TV, isn’t “just” a monitor since it does have a lot of the trappings of a television, like a remote control, numerous audio/video inputs, and a display more suited for viewing at a distance. Still, it’s undeniable that you can’t watch TV on this TV, so can it really be called a “TV?”

Source: Pan Pacific International HoldingsItai News

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- “NHK Repelling Stickers” free for anyone wanting to keep away Japan’s public TV fee collectors

-- Tokyo court rules that hotels must pay NHK fees according to the number of rooms with TVs

-- NHK loses court case to Tokyo woman who can’t watch it because her TV has a blocker installed

© SoraNews24

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Well, I’m not surprised. Japanese Tv is rubbish. Food shows , people watching other people eat , talentless talentos and lots of ehhhhhh and oishiiiiiii

21 ( +26 / -5 )

Not sure it will work since it is android ( Android Equipped Tunerless Smart TV) and can connect to the internet which means you can probably get the NHK android app and can watch NHK programs.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

For the least 10 years my screens have been essentially just a monitor anyways. Netflix, Amazon Prime and you tube pretty much covers all of my family's viewing needs. Terrestrial tv is going the way of the radio.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Ugghhh, when will NHK end?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I remember when I accidently answered the door to a guy from NHK who lied that he was a delivery guy, the dude would not stop by any means to try to have me buy the darned subscription right then and there. He told me that I own a tv based off signals that NHK had pin pointed to my exact location and room number. I told him I just moved here and don't own a tv. He then said you have a phone right? You need to pay if you have a phone. I lied and said I had a pre-paid phone. He then said I have a computer, as if he knew I had one, and I said nope, just came here with a backpack. He then looked at the cars in the parking lot and said if I have a car, I still need to pay. I couldn't take it anymore and told him to come back in a month when I have a tv.

I already knew I was moving out so jokes on him.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I have my ps4 hooked up to our wall mounted TV. Netflix, YouTube, Disney, Apple TV etc, no TV cable installed, all internet only. NHK can shove their fee.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Just tell them you have such a TV (or better yet, no TV). No need to actually go out and buy it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Nhk, will even go after you if your car navi if it has a screen. Crazy

2 ( +5 / -3 )

“Well, I’m not surprised. Japanese Tv is rubbish. Food shows , people watching other people eat , talentless talentos and lots of ehhhhhh and oishiiiiiii”

You are what you watch. There is rubbish content everywhere, Japan or not, Tv or non-TV.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Good option for those who love free rides.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I was at a friend's house the other day and had the misfortune of catching some NHK. Somebody was eating a strawberry sponge cake, and three other people were watching them and listening to their review of it as if they had just discovered a universal cure for cancer.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

If one of these nasty collectors bangs on your door, ask if they have permission from the building owner. If they don’t, ask them to leave or you will call the police for trespassing. Happened in my building. They haven’t come back. They must have explicit permission to enter private property. It also works for houses too!!

2 ( +2 / -0 )


Well, I’m not surprised. Japanese Tv is rubbish. Food shows , people watching other people eat , talentless talentos and lots of ehhhhhh and oishiiiiiii

Totally agree, however..... which Western TV station is much better?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites