50 Years of NHK Television

TV Transmits the Times

TV news is an indispensable source of the information that people need in daily life. Programs like News: Good Morning Japan, NHK News 7 and NHK News 10 make up the core of NHK's news lineup. NHK aims to provide comprehensive news services that people can access anytime and anywhere, using any of several media, including radio and data broadcasting.

News: on the cutting edge of technology

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TV news at 50
The state of news reporting today is marked by fierce competition fueled by the latest advances in video IT equipment, satellite links and other communications technology. When the terrorist strikes of 9/11 severed video circuits in the facilities of a telecom carrier's building, NHK managed to route around the problem by finding a different circuit to deliver the pictures. When Kabul was under bombardment, NHK made arrangements with a Qatari satellite broadcaster to route the video feed through Paris. The first images captured by NHK's reporting team in Kabul were transmitted by the use of a portable satellite videophone, enabling the reporter, Nimura Shin, to broadcast an NHK exclusive. NHK's news is now shifting rapidly to the Hi-Vision format.

Making it easy to understand
Communicating the essence of the news in the most easily comprehensible format is a key challenge. One important aspect of easy-to-understand news reports is the use of computer graphics, maps, models and other visual aids.

Visual weather forecasts
From NHK's very first day of TV broadcasting, weather forecasts were in the programming mix. Weather forecasts could now be understood with the eye. In 1965, the Japan Meteorological Agency established a radar station at Mt. Fuji, making it possible to track typhoons continuously. In July 1977, the Himawari geostationary weather satellite went into service, allowing real-time images of the weather to be displayed.
In April 1983, NHK began using computer graphics to display real-time rainfall and other weather information obtained from AMeDAS, the Automated Meteorological Data Acquisition System run by the Meteorological Agency. In April 1995, forecasts started making use of animated versions of AMeDAS images and around 100 other graphics. In the case of extreme weather hazard reports, NHK has pioneered the use of cutting-edge techniques such as GPV (Grid Point Value) imagery to provide images of proprietary forecasts, point forecasts, and the results of Meteorological Agency simulations. As of December 2002, NHK was broadcasting 29 weather forecasts each weekday on various channels.


State-of-the-art control technologies
News production is a complex process, and to ensure broadcasts go smoothly the use of six consoles is carefully coordinated for the best results in editing and output. The news studio has become a computer command center that can connect the whole world in an instant.

News via the Internet
The Internet is quickly becoming a medium that anyone can access anywhere and at any time. As a public broadcaster, NHK has a duty to transmit clear, accurate information promptly using various platforms. NHK also has a responsibility to ensure that information is distributed equally to all as new media forms take root in daily life. A mobile phone with Internet access may well prove to be the most vital source of information during an evacuation following a disaster or other emergency. NHK's job is to make sure that information is delivered to everyone, everywhere, whenever it is required.
In addition to its TV and radio services, NHK will continue to seek ways to enhance emergency broadcasting with the help of 21st century communication systems.

Unbiased, accurate news
Having been designated as a public broadcaster under the Broadcasting Law, NHK is obliged to "provide a balance of news, educational, cultural and entertainment programming." In particular, the Disaster Measures Basic Law specifies NHK as "the official source of emergency information to protect citizens' lives and property in the event of a disaster." In the pursuit of this mission, NHK undertakes rigorous training of personnel and attends to its equipment and network on a daily basis.

The Evolution of NHK News Programs 1953-'60s
The Evolution of NHK News Programs '70s-2000

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