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Skytree prime time broadcast test provokes thousands of complaints

24 Comments

Tokyo Skytree, which has been beset with problems regarding its function as a television broadcasting tower, experienced more problems when it was tested during prime time on Monday night.

Five channels, including NHK, were switched to the Skytree signal from 6:35 p.m. for 3 minutes during the evening news in an attempt to establish how many viewers are likely to be affected by the changeover to the Skytree broadcasting transmission.

Test broadcasts from Tokyo Skytree began in December, following which 21,040 complaints were lodged by a call center set up to deal with reception trouble. Of these cases, 6,194 reportedly required corrective measures, Fuji TV reported.

Following the test broadcast, NHK said it wasn't able to estimate how many homes would be affected because public awareness of the test broadcasts was low.

This prompted the expansion of test broadcast time slots to raise awareness by running tests during peak viewer ratings windows. These were scheduled to include 6:35-6:40 p.m. on March 4, 5 and 7, and 8:35-8:40 a.m. on March 13-15.

However, there was reportedly some disagreement between the broadcasters over conducting tests during prime viewing hours. The six major TV broadcasters involved in the tests estimate that about 160,000 of the 15 million households and businesses set to receive TV broadcast signals from the Skytree will experience reception problems.

In Monday's test, 3,930 complaints were received, of which 1,719 required corrective action, Fuji reported.

The unexpectedly large number of signal problems last year prompted broadcasters to push back the switchover from the originally planned schedule of "early 2013" to May. The cost of resolving reception problems is estimated at around 10 billion yen.

© Japan Today

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24 Comments
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Just switch it over, Japanese people can't function without a TV so it would sort itself out within a few days

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The cost of resolving reception problems is estimated at around 10 billion yen.

money is no problem, fix it. Abenomics will meet all your requirements.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

3,930 complaints and less than half of those needed correction, effectively meaning there are a bunch of people out there who don't know what the hell they're doing.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Depends where you are. If, for example, you are receiving your signals from Tokyo Tower and Skytreee is to one side or to the rear of your antenna then you have a problem and your antenna will have to be re-aligned to point to Skytree.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Harry_GattoMar. 05, 2013 - 02:51PM JST

Depends where you are. If, for example, you are receiving your signals from Tokyo Tower and Skytreee is to one side or to the rear of your antenna then you have a problem and your antenna will have to be re-aligned to point to Skytree.

Exactly true! Also add in the shadow area under the broadcast tower (which wasn't much of an issue with tokyo tower due to it being in a commercial district) and simple user error and the issues aren't really that unexpected or expensive to resolve.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Yes, the shadow areas under a very high tower such as Skytree can be problem but sometimes a reflected signal from a nearby building can work satisfactorily. Close to the transmitter where the signal is very strong a piece of wet string will work as a receive antenna.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Let me get this straight! The broadcaste was switched over for only 3 to 5 minutes and 3,930 complained!!!!! If they just waited it would have gone back to normal. It must have took longer than 3 to 5 minutes for people to get through to call centre staff!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Gatto

you are starting to sound a lot like Mcgyver! :)

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Sorry but you'll have to explain that, I have no idea what you're talking about.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Looks like the switchover from analogue to digital is going to be more costly and time-consuming than predicted. Until enough relay stations are built, those viewers who could receive an 'acceptable' analogue signal in their valley or mountainous region will have to find something else to do. Digital is notorious for being an all or nothing type signal, whereas analogue works to varying degrees of acceptability, 'snowy' screens being the worst.

Still, it is partial boost for the beleaguered Japanese makers of TV sets and accessories, though many of the sales are going to products from neighbouring countries.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Until enough relay stations are built, those viewers who could receive an 'acceptable' analogue signal in their valley or mountainous region will have to find something else to do.

A fiendishly cunning plan to up the birthrate? :-)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This test has nothing to do with whether or not the signals are analogue or digital. The article above should have discussed the issue of antenna direction but it didn't. The simple fact is that if the test transmissions are the same class and on the same frequency the only variable is the location of the transmitter. A typical Yagi TV antenna is very directional with high front to side and front to back ratios; this simply means that it is at its most efficient when pointed directly at the transmitter; move the transmitter and if it is not in the same line of sight as the original transmitter then the receiving antenna must be turned to point at the new transmitter. What you say about digital vs analogue is true to a certain extent and Cleo, you may indeed be right :-)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Just turn Skytree about 15 degrees to the left and all the problems wil be resolved.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Or use satellite tv oopsss I brought everybody to the 21st century sorry.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Have just watched the test transmissions and couldn't see any difference at all, no degradation. From my location the two transmitters are only about 10 degrees apart although Skytree is a few kilometres further away, but both are line of sight with no buildings in the way. Results will vary.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In Monday’s test, 3,930 complaints were received, of which 1,719 required corrective action, Fuji reported.

I hope that the broadcasters are paying for the corrective actions that may be necessary for an individual consumer!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Is anyone else unable to see Tokyo MX TV? It has been garbled for about 2 weeks.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I field more complaints than that daily from my wife.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The U.S. went through a similar digital switchover problem. Despite a year's worth of warnings and alerts that old-school analog TV's would lose reception once the transmissions went digital unless a converter box was installed, there were STILL people "surprised" when their analog TVs stopped receiving broadcasts.

This test has nothing to do with whether or not the signals are analogue or digital. The article above should have discussed the issue of antenna direction but it didn't. The simple fact is that if the test transmissions are the same class and on the same frequency the only variable is the location of the transmitter.

Actually, it has EVERYTHING to do with analog or digital signals. The test transmissions are NOT the "same class". The WHOLE REASON the Skytree is as tall as it is is because it is transmitting digital rather than analog signals. The digital transmissions are much more "line of sight" than the analog signals from the Tokyo Tower are. They had to make the tower taller so that high-rise buildings would have less of a blocking effect - not to mention providing greater coverage past hills in the distance.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Fadamor

Tokyo tower ISN'T transmitting analogue signals. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_television_transition

"The WHOLE REASON the Skytree is as tall " is not as you think or a requirement, for starters otherwise there would be a skytree in every country.

This is NOT about the hassles of changing from analogue to digital, upgrading signal cables in the home, etc.

Anyway ISDB-T is the most robust signal carrier compared to the American system and European DVB-T system. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISDB see feature section

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Fadamor p.s the US is still going through analogue to digital transition ( hence your possible confusion?) again see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digitaltelevisiontransition

Japan and other countries have already switched ( again see the link).

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

FadamorMar. 05, 2013 - 10:58PM JST

Actually, it has EVERYTHING to do with analog or digital signals. The test transmissions are NOT the "same class".

Japan has been entirely digital since last year, Tokyo Tower has been transmitting television signals in digital, so they ARE the same.

The WHOLE REASON the Skytree is as tall as it is is because it is transmitting digital rather than analog signals.

The reason is actually simpler, the entire reason is so that no building will ever be able to block a significant area of reception. Hills also played a reason, since analog signals were lost in those hills.

The digital transmissions are much more "line of sight" than the analog signals from the Tokyo Tower are.

All signals are "line of sight", since the frequencies aren't good at bouncing around. The "weakening" people talk of actually doesn't have to do with that, rather the fact that the digital transmissions are at 10kW compared to 50kW for analog, in Tokyo Tower, in conjunction with people not caring about "watching" static video and noises rather than doing something to fix their antenna. Sky Tree also uses 10kW+3kW (for Tokyo MX), so with the increased height it can only be better than Tokyo Tower, not worse. Any complaints about reception have nothing to do with digital, rather with other things, mainly antenna position.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

"whiskeysourMAR. 05, 2013 - 06:33PM JST Or use satellite tv oopsss I brought everybody to the 21st century sorry."

Japan is well and truly in the 21st century and leading research it in this area over a sustained many years.

I doubt satellite or even terestrial broadcast will be suitable in the future for the high bandwidth requirements of "super hi vis" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra_high_definition_television http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19370582

NHK sometime ago/years ago said they would skip 3D and 4K broadcasting and go staright to super his vis. 3D and 4K are just vehicles to sell more tvs in the short term. Go ahead and buy those tv's though...that message will not be delivered globally and any already purchasers of HD or then 3D tv's are left bewildered that there suddenly "out of nowhere" is a new standard on the block in the electric stores ( when instead they just don't have good access to news and developments from the parts of the globe that are leading the development in this field).

Because of the high bandwidth involved satellite ( 20th century stuff), sky tree - terestrial ISDB-T, one seg for the just the greater Tokyo region are going to have a relatively short shelf life. Tokyo sky tree however will continue as a landmark and tourist trap which was one of its main reasons for construction.

However "welcome to the 21st century" as you say, Japan already delivers TV ( terrestrial or BS/CS) via the Fiber to the Home. Welcome to the 21st century indeed I'll wait a decade or two before FTTH or even TV in HD on most channels as standard ( not premium service) becomes standard in other g7 countries too.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The TV signal being off sounds like a bonus to me....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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