Do you already have a set for analog TV broadcastings, or are you living without one? Apparently I read that Analog TV signal will not be received after July this year so does that mean I have to get a Digital TV?
That's basically correct. There are also some services in which デジアナ変換 (digital-to-analog conversion) is offered for a while, to enable customers to watch digital TV broadcastings on a monitor designed for analog TV, though the qualities may be downgraded. even with discounts it's too expensive for me considering I'm only here for about half a year longer. But I think watching TV really helps to improve your Japanese so even with not much time left I still want to buy one.
There are various ways to watch TV broadcastings in real time or some TV contents which went on the air in the past.
[[Video delivery via Internet]]
As far as I know, laws of Japan now do not expect real-time TV broadcastings via Internet. However, some TV companies are offering video delivery, using past contents.
NHK, Nippon Television, Fuji Television and TV Asahi are giving VOD (= video-on-demand) services.
-- In NHK On Demand, fixed-rate packages of selected programs are available. Recent news programs are included in a package named " 見逃し見放題パック Minogashi-mihoudai pakku." As for now, you can not hear a second voice (e.g. a voice in another language for a movie) in this service.
NHK On Demand: guide for newcomers (in Japanese): http://www.nhk-ondemand.jp/share/enjoy/
You can make a TV set by connecting a tuner (for digital TV) and a monitor. That's often cost-saving compared to a ready-made high-spec TV set.
-- A TV tuner of the simplest type, available at around 10,000 yen or maybe less, is designed to receive only the main wave of terrestrial (i.e. ground-based) broadcastings. With a tuner of this type, you can not enjoy satellite-based channels or utilize subordinate data broadcasting services.
-- Of course a monitor for analog TV could be used, but if that's an old one, I recommend getting a new monitor. Now I am using a monitor which was explained as good for digital TV by a salesperson of a big electric goods shop. It's working also as a PC monitor. The same model is now on sale at less than 20,000 yen. Prices depend on sizes and specs of a display.
[[TV transfer on optical network]] I've also tried borrowing a USB thing However I can't get any reception from my place because I live on the 2nd floor
I see. It seems that devices designed to directly receive TV wave (including those in mobile phones for one-segment channels) often fail to catch it when placed, for example, amid tall buildings.
If you feel that having a long TV cable on the floor is troublesome, then it's worth checking whether an optional service of TV transfer on an optical network is available, in addition to broadband connection. For such a service, usually an optical fiber cable needs to come to your house, not just to the entrance of your apartment.
-- Probably you will be given a discount like "Free for the first two months!" by a major telecommunication company for a service of this kind.
-- And, I know NTT East will introduce in the coming June a sliding rate, with which a fee depends on the amount of data, to its optical broadband connection services.
-- However, the extra cost may be high if you are now satisfied with narrowband connection for Internet.
NTT East: Video Service: http://flets.com/english/ftv/index.html
デジアナ変換 (digital-to-analog conversion) mentioned above will be offered in this service until March 2015.