With Japanese Americans, tourists and others eager for news
from the earthquake and tsunami-devastated country, Cablevision said Friday it
would make the Japanese-language TV Japan channel available to digital cable
service customers at no charge, joining other operators taking the channel up
on its offer of an open feed during the crisis.
AT&T is also temporarily providing subscribers to its
IPTV U-verse platform free access to TV Japan. The channel will be free through
March 17 for all U-verse TV customers through March 17 on channel 3680. Verizon's Fios TV is offering the channel through March 17 as well, on channel 1770.
"In light of this morning's devastating earthquake and
continuing events in Japan, Cablevision, in cooperation with TV Japan -
will carry the channel free for all iO TV digital cable customers for one
week," the company said in a statement Friday.
The channel offers news from Japan's NHK, the nation's
TV Japan and distributor International Media Distribution
made the TV Japan feed available nationwide to any operator who wants to carry
it, and said Friday many had taken them up on the offer. It will also provide a
second audio channel in English and other languages featuring updates.
"This is a devastating tragedy and we want to do everything
possible to ensure that people in North America can stay informed and connected
with what is happening, as it happens in Japan" said Akihito Kunimatsu, vice president
of TV Japan's North American office, in a statement.
TV Japan is a 24/7 channel serving the U.S. and Canada.
George Winslow contributed to this report.