This article is all thanks to rjhoolan, who tipped me on this via Twitter. First off, thank you rjhoolan for this tip. It’s freakin amazing! Anyways, if you’re reading this, you probably want to watch some Japanese television. Not only that, but you probably want some LIVE Japanese television. I’ve got some good news and some bad news. Let’s start with the bad: This doesn’t work on a Mac. Supposedly they’re working on a Mac version, but who knows when that will turn out. But, if you have Windows (or are running bootcamp, VMware, or Parallels on your Mac), this should work fine. If you ask me, this is a good enough reason to install windows on VMware, allow it a mere 256mb, and let it do its magic. It’s that amazing.
The service that lets you do this is called TVU networks. They explain themselves much better than I can, so let’s let them do it.
TVU uses a new broadcast technology called Real-Time Packet Replication. With this technology, all the viewers who are watching a channel at the same time are cooperating to give everyone the best possible signal. TVU’s application does not create any new files on your hard disk because you’re watching live TV. [source]
So, that’s how it’s done, but I bet you want to know how to get it up and running, like now. Who wouldn’t? Ridiculous Japanese commercials await!
How to Watch Japanese Television for Free, from Anywhere:
First, you have to download TVU’s player. It’s a bit glitchy, and not the prettiest application in the world, but like Lang-8, it’s functional, and does a great job doing what it does best.
From there, it’s really easy. Open up the program and switch the language over to Japanese. It’s up on the top left.
After you do that, all of the Japanese channels that are available will show up. I frequent the first three the most, but there’s a lot of stuff there, including music videos for all you music buffs. Right now, as I write this, I’m watching a show about a boxer who seduces a nun. Only in a Japanese drama, right? Only now, it’s live!
Japanese TV isn’t all you can see, though. Of course, there’s television from all over the world, and you can watch it for free as well. I’ve looked at a few American channels, since I don’t have cable TV at my home (why would I, when I’ve got internet to replace it for less money?).
So, I hope you enjoy this! Try to take breaks and go outside once in a while, yeah?
Once again, thank you rjhoolan for finding this and sharing! You are my new favorite person for the day :)
UPDATE 8-25: Since this is a p2p television thing, your connection, as well as the channels available at any given time, are dependent on who’s using TVU at the time. The people sharing are hooking into their tv, and if nobody is watching a channel at the time you want to watch it, you won’t be able to see it to. So, basically what I’m getting at, is you won’t always get all the channels, and it depends on when you are watching, sadly. Still, I’ve had good luck with it, and it hasn’t caused me any problems.
UPDATE 10-12-2008: Here is a better program for watching Japanese television, and everyone (Windows, Mac, Linux) can use it. It’s also a lot prettier and stable, as well. It’s called Livestation, and you can find it here. Thanks Reed!