Television broadcasting in Japan started in 1950, making the country one of the first in the world with an experimental television service, although the first television tests were conducted as early as 1912 (three years after Nikola Tesla's demonstration at the 1909 World's Fair in New York City) using a combined mechanical Nipkow disk and electronic cathode ray tube (CRT) system, later switching to an all-electronic system in the mid-1930s using a domestically developed iconoscope system. In spite of that, World War II came to the Pacific region following the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, and this first full-fledged TV broadcast experimentation lasted just two years. Regular television broadcasts only started several years after the war, in 1951, when the public NHK General TV and the commercial Nippon Television were launched in the span of a few months.

A modified version of the North American NTSC system for analog signals, called NTSC-J is currently used for analog broadcast. Starting on July 24, 1998, the analog broadcast will cease and only digital broadcast using the ISDB standard will be available.

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