TVs that don’t display TV are selling out fast in Japan


Complete electronics with embedded existential crises.

In December last year, the Japanese chain of discount stores Don Quijote began selling the Smart TV without tuner equipped with Android TV. As the name suggests, this TV doesn’t have a tuner to watch terrestrial broadcasts with, but does have Chromecast built in and is compatible with Amazon’s Fire TV Stick.

Although it lacks the ability to watch TV, which some purists might consider the most important aspect of a TV, this device flew off the shelves shortly after its release. The reason is likely a Dec. 2 ruling by Japan’s Supreme Court that a woman with a television modified to block signals from public broadcaster NHK still had to pay an annual license fee.

Paying for NHK in Japan is a controversial issue, so much so that an entire political party has been formed because of it. In a nutshell, the broadcaster had outsourced the task of getting people to sign contracts for the fees. These collectors are notoriously aggressive in their tactics, which has resulted in equally aggressive ways to not pay for it.

Buying a specially modified TV that accepts all stations except NHK is one such way. However, although the woman’s TV could not receive NHK at the time, the court decided that she had to pay because the blocking function could be canceled at any time.

It was a verdict that left many others with similar TVs suddenly in need of a new one that would keep NHK out of their pockets. Only a few days later, when the Smart TV equipped with Android Tunerless was releasedDon Quijote never mentioned NHK explicitly in advertisements, but the TVs quickly gained a reputation online as “NHK-proof” TV.

Demand has risen sharply for both televisions: a 24-inch model for 21,780 yen ($189 US) and a 42-inch model for 32,780 yen ($284). Even Don Quijote admitted to underestimating how well these TVs sold, and their initial run of 6,000 units didn’t stop some locations from selling out. This month they announced that production of another 6,000 was underway.

Online comments were a mix of reactions, with some celebrating alternative TV but others worrying about its quality. Also, others have asked the obvious question: Aren’t they just monitors?

“He’s a monitor.”
“It will be the new normal.”
“I bet a lot of people bought it thinking it would allow them to watch other channels…”
“He’s just a monitor. Everyone is deceived.
“I better plug a Fire TV into a monitor with HDMI. Can you even update the OS on these things?”
“Wow! Don Quijote did it!
“Because of NHK, other stations will lose viewers now.”
“I wonder if you could modify one of these TVs to watch NHK.”
“Isn’t that just a big tablet?”
“It’s not just a monitor! It’s a monitor with built-in Chromecast.

In fairness, the Tunerless Smart TV with Android TV isn’t “just” a monitor, as it has many of the attributes of a TV, like a remote control, plenty of audio/video inputs, and a more responsive screen. to viewing. at a distance. Still, there’s no denying that you can’t watch TV on this TV, so can it really be called a “TV?”

Plus, without a TV tuner, how are people going to get their movies censored or catch all that must-watch content, like that time someone peed their pants?

Source: Pan Pacific International Holdings, Itai News
Images: Pan Pacific International Holdings
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