NHK to merge digital satellite channels

Denies early end to analog broadcasts

TOKYO -- NHK is not ending analog satellite broadcasts ahead of the July ,2011 government schedule, but is consolidating its three satellite channels into two, the pubcaster announced Tuesday.
“NHK plans to end analog satellite and terrestrial broadcasts at the same time on the July 24, 2011 timetable from the government,” a spokesperson for NHK told The Hollywood Reporter.
The pubcaster issued a press release Tuesday contradicting a recent local wire report that it would end analog satellite broadcasting four months early.
NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corp) is set to merge its newer Broadcast Satellite High Vision channel into its longer-running BS1 and BS2 channels, which will both become high-definition. BS1 will continue to be mostly a news and current affairs channel, while BS2 will feature cultural and entertainment programming.
The government announced this month that almost 84% of households were now ready for the digital switchover, although some have cast doubts on the accuracy of the figures and maintain that many rural areas are unprepared for analog broadcasts going off air next year.