Access Japan’s public news network with NHK World TV Live app

Mar 20, 2011
Tech

With all eyes on Japan since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, many Apple users turned to their iDevices to get comprehensive news coverage of the disaster. NHK World TV Live — the app for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad — links users directly to streaming English coverage from the Japanese public broadcaster, and it’s […]

With all eyes on Japan since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, many Apple users turned to their iDevices to get comprehensive news coverage of the disaster. NHK World TV Live — the app for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad — links users directly to streaming English coverage from the Japanese public broadcaster, and it’s a must-download for users interested in keeping up with Japan’s current situation.

The NHK app itself hasn’t had an update in several months, and its graphics show, lacking appropriate retina resolution, but this is simply a cosmetic issue. Within the app, users can view the live feed, which starts automatically upon launch, or view a timed schedule of upcoming programming. NHK typically repeats its content in four-hour cycles, so viewers can watch at their convenience.

For actual news content, NHK only offers the live-video option; no text stories are available. Over 3G, I found the video quality to vary widely, often experiencing choppiness in which the feed’s audio cut out completely and the picture froze. When the service was running smoothly, the picture quality was on the low end, but still acceptable. When I connected to NHK using Wi-Fi, I had no quality or speed issues, other than a bit of pixilation.

Users on limited data plans should stream the app with caution. Over 3G, NHK streams almost a MB of data per minute.

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