50 Years of NHK Television

21st The Didital Era

After the launch of digital satellite broadcasting, NHK introduced a new broadcasting service featuring digital Hi-Vision (HDTV) broadcasts and various functions. In the 21st century, NHK will continue to provide people-friendly television that can be viewed anywhere, anytime.

Television's new potential

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Miyakejima Eruption
Kyushu-Okinawa Summit
Sydney Olympics
9/11 terror attacks in US
Baseball star Ichiro becomes new star in MLB
Salt Lake City Olympics
2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan
50th anniversary of TV in Japan
Digital terrestrial broadcasting
Start of war in Iraq
2000 2001 2002 2003
Digital satellite broadcasting
Digital Hi-Vision channel
Internet news service
Launch of digital broadcasting satellite BSAT-2a ABU Tokyo General Assembly
ABU Robot Contest in Tokyo
NHK Archives
Antarctic Hi-Vision Broadcasting Center

Live coverage of 9/11
The dawn of the 21st century was marked by a shocking and infamous event. At 10:03 p.m. (Japan Time) on September 11, 2001 the news program NHK News 10 broadcast live footage of the moment when a second plane hi-jacked that day by terrorists crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. The program continued with live coverage of the Pentagon in flames, and horrendous images of the World Trade Center collapsing. Through television, people around the world witnessed the worst act of terrorism in history.

Images from NHK news 10

Images from NHK news 10
For nearly 10 days after the first report of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, NHK presented related news and information around the clock. On the day itself, some Japanese survivors were unaware that they were inside a burning building until their families in Japan telephoned them after watching the NHK news. Later, Japanese expatriates and Japanese visitors to the United States were able to receive a constant stream of accurate information in Japanese by watching NHK's national news programs broadcast simultaneously on NHK WORLD, NHK's international service.
Subsequent events, including the war on Afghanistan's Taliban regime, were also covered live making use of cell phones and mobile satellite communication technology, including videophones. This resulted in a sharp increase in the audience share for NHK news.
Right from the start, NHK sought to air reports in a calm and objective manner, covering developments from the perspective of terrorism vs. civilization, rather than Islam vs. the West. Fresh coverage was supported by many programs designed to deliver sober commentary and in-depth analysis. Within a month, four editions of NHK Special and 16 editions of Today’s Close- up had been devoted to the issue, as had programs on Educational TV. This comprehensive approach resulted in far-reaching, multi-faceted coverage of 9/11 and its aftermath.

Speed and consideration: a paradox?
Dramatic events underline the need for a system that balances speedy reporting with accuracy, fairness and balance. With the development of a TV service that can cover news as it happens, greater demands have been placed on reporters and directors to hurry to the scene and report live. At the same time, a considered response has become a key issue for broadcasters who are aware that in-depth coverage and analysis should not be neglected in the rush to report on the news.
Both news and production staff face a heavy responsibility to build constantly on reported facts, while technical support has become more important than ever before. NHK places top priority on human resources, identifying the right personnel for the job and giving them careful and comprehensive training.

The new age of TV
Television in Japan is now at a major turning point, marked by the commencement of BS digital satellite broadcasting in December 2000 and the digitalization of terrestrial broadcasting, scheduled for completion by 2011. A new way of life and a new age of television are being ushered in by the new Digital Hi-Vision channel with its high quality pictures and 5.1 channel surround-sound stereo system, a wide range of data broadcasts and the electronic program guide.

ETV for small children
According to an NHK survey (June 2002), children between the ages of two and six watch television for an average of 2 hours 34 minutes a day on both NHK and commercial stations. Among them, 89% watch Educational TV for at least some of that time, and the channel is especially popular with children aged two to three.
TV Time for Mothers and Children provides different programming for the morning and evening. The morning programming starts with programs for older children and gradually moves on to those for children in lower age brackets, while the reverse occurs in the evening. Programs such as With Mother and Peep-bo! are must-see programs for homemakers and their young children.
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