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Japan iPhone gets official 1Seg TV tuner

updated 07:45 am EDT, Thu October 30, 2008

Softbank iPhone 1Seg Tuner

Japanese cell carrier Softbank on Thursday catered to local tastes with the introduction of an official 1Seg TV tuner add-on for the iPhone 3G. Through a custom App Store download, the adapter gives access to the country's over-the-air digital TV broadcast network over a local Wi-Fi link, allowing residents to watch live shows from the iPhone while leaving the tuner in a bag or pocket. The tuner carries its own battery and can either power the tuner for three hours of TV or serve as a USB battery pack for the iPhone.

The receiver also works as a general PC adapter for USB over a physical connection, Softbank says. Shipping starts in mid-December for the tuner, which is estimated to cost the equivalent of $102; its companion iPhone app will be available for free.

An announcement comes as Softbank has also announced that iPhone owners in Japan now have free, unlimited access to the carrier's BB Mobile Point Wi-Fi hotspots. The deal grants access to about 3,500 hotspots in the country that include McDonald's restaurants as well as airports, coffee shops and train stations. Users will initially need to sign in when access becomes available on November 4th, but a change to the system on December 1st will automatically connect iPhones to supporting hotspots.

The addition of 1Seg as an option is significant for the iPhone's wider adoption in Japan, where mobile TV has a much stronger presence and is often considered an important feature for most handsets. Sales of Apple's phone are described as good for Softbank but have encountered resistance due to the absence of 1Seg as well as emoji messaging icons, which are due to be added in iPhone 2.2 firmware. [via Impress]

by MacNN Staff



  1. imagine engine

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Mobile TV

    It would be better for iPhone 3G users to be able to see TV shows streaming over HSPA (3G) with out the need to carry bulky hardware. Similar to what MobiTV offers.

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What a kludge!!

    When I first saw this article I really thought Japanese iPhones were going to get internal 1Seg tuners and not some external abomination. As long as Japanese handset users aren't moving towards hardware-handicapped handsets, Apple might as well kiss Japan's majority of handset users goodbye.

    I can't understand why shows can't be streamed over 3G or WiFi instead of this mess. The only plus side to this kludge is that you get extra battery life. That's a darn short cable. Sad to say that only a few Japanese will ever shell out money for this external brick. Mottainai, naa.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The cool thing

    The cool thing is this is the first device I've seen that plugs into the USB port on an iPhone/Touch. This shows that it can be done. Maybe Griffin will come out with a Mic attachment for the Touch 1G. Or for that matter, any host of other peripherals. Hook it up to a voltmeter for a really cool display or any number of other devices.

  1. chadpengar

    Joined: Dec 1969


    missing the point

    This is for OVER THE AIR digital TV broadcasts.

    You could do IP based TV streaming (assuming that Apple would accept the app) but that kills a different bird with a different stone.

    And the nice thing is this external thing can be left in your purse or pocket so that you still only have your phone in your hands.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969



    You can't stream 1 seg; it requires a tuner. The wifi connection is to link the tuner to the iPhone. Not to stream the tv broadcasts.

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