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A radio futurologist writing about what happens when radio and new platforms collide
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Japan: global standards? What global standards?

Posted on Monday, January 25th, 2010 at 10:00 am. #

Something important that we couldn't get to today

Japan seems to laugh global standards in the face.

Have 110 or 220 volts for your electricity? Uniquely, Japan has 100 volts. At either 50Hz or 60Hz, incidentally, depending where you are in the country.

If you have a global ATM card, then be prepared for a walk. In Japan, to get your hands on some cash, you need to seek out a Citibank or a 7-Bank (the bank for the 7 Eleven). Almost nothing else will do. Oh, and don’t try spending any money using your credit card; foreign ones are taken sporadically if at all, so getting hold of some proper cash is a good plan.

If you’ve a mobile phone, then the chances are it probably won’t work – they don’t use GSM or CDMA here, but something called PDC. (If you’ve a 3G phone, like an iPhone 3G, it works).

Television looks beautiful here – broadcasting using a uniquely Japanese standard called Hi-Vision, necessitating hugely complex remote controls, at a screen size (1125 lines) and aspect ratio (5:3) and system (SBTVD-T) that nobody else uses in the world. (Some South American countries come close, apparently).

And the radio station I went to see was TOKYO FM, a radio station broadcasting to the Tokyo metropolitan area on 80.0MHz, a frequency which your western FM radio probably has never heard of before.

During my week in Japan earlier this month, I was lucky enough to meet Noriko, Motoko and Daisuke from TOKYO FM, who kindly showed me around their studio complex; and I discovered that TOKYO FM is at the cutting edge in Japan for many of the services it operates.

Over the next three days, I’ll share with you three clever ideas from TOKYO FM’s team; and to kick off, tomorrow we’ll discover exactly how they’ve creatively used a feature of the iPhone to achieve a first in Japan.

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One comment

Radio round the world - James Cridland
commenting at April 6th, 2010 at 3:43 pm

[...] not least their playout system of choice (and they’re not alone) Japan, a mad place with complete disregard for any global standards, where they get their now-playing information completely right, where [...]

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