Chideji (chee-deh-gee) is what the Japanese call digital terrestial broadcasting or digital television.
Apparently most of the world is switching and Japan will switch over to digital television in July of this year.
In a country where they manufacture flat screen televisions, let me tell you that when the switch from analog to digital was announced a couple of years back the supposedly "only route" was to purchase a flat screen tv and/or get cable...so, that is what everyone did.
Of course not wanting to jump on the bandwagon too quickly, we waited until this year debating all along what we should do.
And we were leaning towards getting a flat screen when we thought, "hey, our television still works fine...I wonder what other options are out there".
And lo and behold...the converter box or as the Japanese call them, "chideji tuner".
The price for these tuners range from 4000 to 20,000 yen (about US$40-$200) depending on what you want the tuner to do and what your tv can do.
The electronics store is all pro-flat screen tv and you can tell too because the whole floor is loaded with them.
While the tuners are placed in a little corner, not able to attract much attention to them.
So, based on our television's abilities we purchased a tuner for about US$80 (on sale, woot!)...
But, guess who had to set it up?? Moi (me).
In fact, I set up all the appliances (including our computer) and put together all the furniture in our apartment...and the manuals are in Japanese! (thank goodness for pictures and lots of intuition.)
Anyway, I followed the instructions to set up the tuner and it worked okay, but our vcr (video recorder) wouldn't record properly.
Yes, we still have a vcr...some may think this is prehistoric in a world where DVD and Blu-Ray is everywhere but we are usually a couple of steps behind the times anyway.
A good thing was our vcr manual actually had instructions on how to record using one of these tuners.
The only thing with these manuals are they don't truly explain all the gory details.
Well, maybe they are but I can't read all the Japanese kanji (Chinese characters) and Satoshi, even if he can read the characters, doesn't know too much about electronics, so he can't explain anything to me--which is when the pictures come into play (if there are any).
(You should also know this why we used to have the same type of cell phone, so I can be his "live" manual...sigh)
So anyway, with a 3-6 RCA cable and much trial and error, I figured out how to record from digital tv, the only problem is that you can't watch another station while it is videotaping...WT?
To do this, we would need one tuner for the tv and one tuner for the vcr...which is not as much as purchasing a flat-screen, so we may indeed go this route.
For now, with analog tv "still alive", we can continue to tape programs as we have been doing, and continue to watch our two screen tv--with one side digital, one side analog and continue to use our television for as long as it "lives".
At the end of all of this, I tried explaining the whole set up to Satoshi, including how to use it and it was like I was speaking another language to him...he had this blank look on his face the whole time...I guess I'll need to write down instructions for him, like I did with the washing machine and microwave oven.