[Update] Q&A: Satellite TV in Japan?

I must admit, I really don't want too much TV - I rarely have time and only have a few favorites. Nonetheless, when I do want to watch something, I usually look for it online, or via iTunes. This works for me, but what if you want more than that? The question today is exactly that, and I'm asking YOU, yes, everyone reading, to please leave a comment if you know anything about getting satellite TV in Japan. I was able to find a few links with basic information, but nothing too substantial.

So, please feel free to leave any ideas or tips in the comments.

Q: I wonder if you know whether it is possible to get satellite TV in Japan. I know that Hikari TV is pretty limited on English and international channels and I don’t think will be worth the money. I saw some satellite dishes for sale and wonder whether it is worth getting. Or maybe you know someone who provides satellite TV services? I live in Tokyo.


A: Thanks to everyone who contributed answers to this question. I've included some of them below, and feel free to add anything else to the comments (and look in the comments for the rest of the answers).

kimnsin said:
I actually have the Hikari TV and love it. I'm happy with my basic pack which has a nice variety of English TV shows, movies, music channels, documentary channels and news. Many of the programs repeat throughout the week so you can see many episodes over again if you miss them. The only downside is that many of the shows are behind in season and episodes of such programs as "American Idol" run a few weeks after they have shown in the US. With Hikari, you can also access a number of free videos or pay per view of them. It's easy to use and was easy to install. 
When I lived in Osaka, I used to have satellite TV but the problems I had with the satellite dish was that when the weather was bad, it sometimes affected programming. With Hikari TV or Cable, you don't have those problems. Also, with a satellite dish, it needs to be placed to pick up the signal so if you live in a place which faces a certain direction or is blocked by other buildings, the signal might not pick up.

Sally said:
Yes! I have satellite TV! All the way out here in Shizuoka! The apartment next to mine is empty, so I'm using the abandoned satellite dish the previous occupant left attached to the balcony, so I can't offer any info on how to GET a satellite dish (though that part shouldn't be hard).
I AM paying for the satellite TV service -- Y3000/mo (plus about Y3500 initial setup fee) for a package called e2スカパ基本パック (e2 Sky Package basic pack) on the CS2 band, which has 41 channels (there's other packages for different prices, and there's also the BS & CS1 bands, which have different channels):
5 movie channels (3 which are all/primarily foreign movies)
5 foreign and 2 domestic drama/variety
3 sports, 5 music, 4 documentary, 5 news, 4 animation, 7 general entertainment, and 1 foreign music/interests
I LOVE it. House MD; CSI; The West Wing; ER; Ugly Betty... you can definitely get my fill of foreign entertainment. Signing up for it is easy if you have an internet connection & can read some Japanese -- you hook your TV up to the internet & send an application via the TV. The first 2 weeks or so are free for a lot of the channels so you can see some of what's offered. From any of those channels you should be able to go to an "information screen" where you can apply and get set up.

Over on Facebook, De Vallion Piper Sr suggested:
I have SkyPerfectTV, you can pick up a standard reciever & antenna at Best, Kojima, or Yamada denki. the valuaable pack is 3500 yen a month and has BBC World News, CNNj, FoxLife, Fox movies, Fox Crime, AXN, AXN Mystery, Discovery, National Geographic, Universal in English and about thirty more channels in Japanese, its a pretty good deal.
Mike said:
If you have any connection with the U.S. Government in Japan, by that I mean armed forces or some other federal agency, it's possible to get a satellite dish and service to receive armed forces television network. They broadcast much of the standard U.S. programming on ( if I remember correctly) two channels. There's some military programming but not so much that its intrusive. The dishes are available in many exchanges, and from there you sign up for the service.
Another little item I recall was a converter box to allow you to listen and hear programs in English when such programs were broadcast on Japanese TV. Some TV's had this as a built in function. Might be worth considering. 

Thank you very much to everyone for your thoughtful suggestions! 

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