Plugged in: TV, Phone and Internet

CONTRIBUTED BY KANDY

For so many of us here on Okinawa, keeping up with the latest episodes of some must-see-TV helps to ease the twang of being thousands of miles away from home.   Is it that dreamy guy wearing the stethoscope that lights your candle?  Or does the sleuth in you yearn to solve the case during the incessant “dum dum” before the end of the show?   Whether you like to follow the Olympics, political debates, or if nothing else, find yourself zoning out to the well-dressed sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea, we want you to share your guilty pleasure!  If nothing on the tube suits your fancy, perhaps phoning your confidant back home about the neighbors next door alleviates your angst.  Past OkinawaHai posts regarding phone services.

Maybe you’re like me.  I can live without a TV.  But if you take away my internet, things happen.  And it ain’t pretty.  Speaking of pretty, you can now get WiFi at the many beautiful hot spots on Okinawa.

If you’ve just arrived on the island, are just moving locally or your “TV fasting” has come to an end and you ready to plug in, here are links in alphabetical order to get your TV, phone or internet hooked up.   If anyone has any recommendations, suggestions or warnings about these services, please let us know.


AFN Information Guide

FADTECH

GL BROADBAND

HABU TV, an article about IPTV

SUNNY-NET

VISION ONE/TELEVELOCITY

VONAGE

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56 Comments
  • July 28, 2008

    I`ve now used the services at http://bbapply.com/ twice and have been satisified both times. The first was to organise ADSL internet and the more recent, Fiber Optic. I believe you can also organise to get cable TV. This English service is operated by an American out of Tokyo somewhere, but he is very familiar with Okinawa (having been stationed here some time in the past).

    Kate
    Reply
  • July 28, 2008

    I used to have Vonage to call friends and family in the US. I cancelled my Vonage service for a couple of reasons. First, the unit kept on dying on me. Vonage had to keep on sending me new power adaptor every 3-6 months. They send it for free to a U.S. address, but I still have to pay for it to be forwarded here and the long distance call to Vonage.
    The second reason is that I bought a cordless Skype phone on Amazon that I just use to talk to other friends and families who live in different parts of the world and have Skype account of their own. It’s not cheap, but it beats having to wear the headset or use a mic and saves me money on international calls (this savings alone paid for the phone). It’s also dual-purpose so, I use the same phone as a local phone. A couple of weeks ago or so, I saw that Skype offers $5.95 for unlimited calling to one country (US & Canada count as one) or $12.95 to worldwide calling (34 countries is more like it – Japan included). I signed up for the U.S. & Canada for $5.95 and it included a U.S. phone number. It works like Vonage only cheaper – way cheaper. Vonage tried to get me to keep the account by giving me lower monthly ($14.95) plus a couple of months of free service. $5.95 is still cheaper. If you have Vonage and would like to keep Vonage, you can probably negotiate with them to lower the monthly fee if you mention that Skype offers the same service for a lower price. :)

    EM
    Reply
  • July 28, 2008

    Anyone know which satellite companies carry Spanish channels?

    Joy
    Reply
  • July 28, 2008

    Hey EM…with skype, could I get a local number for here too as well as a stateside#? I’d like to do away with my on base phone all together to save some money. I think that $30 dollar monthly fee for basic service is rediculous. I figured if I did switch to skype it would save us roughly 60 bucks or so a month. Also, how does the phone work? Does it somehow have something that plugs into the computer? Can you recommend your phone brand? Thanks so much! I’m really into this skype idea!:)

    Suzy
    Reply
  • July 28, 2008

    We just began our fourth year on this lovely island and have happily used Sunny Net for a fiber optic internet connection as well as Vonage. Never have I (knock on wood) expereinced the troubles, or even heard of any before this post, with Vonage and any of it’s hardware. We have our Vonage modem plugged into the router that Sunny Net/Japanese phone company provided and then we have our portable phones plugged into the Vonage modem. The upstairs portable phone base is plugged directly into the modem and then we have a remote phone/base downstairs. I just had to buy new rechargable batteries for one phone after three years. I can not say enough about Sunny Net and Vonage and thank goodness every day that we have them both. (Knock on wood again!)

    Reply
    • May 30, 2012

      I am very impressed that there are places with fiber optic internet connection on Okinawa! Did it seem like Sunny Net can provide that internet connection anywhere on the island or only a specific part?

      Stephanie
      Reply
    • December 16, 2012

      I have used sunny-net for three months and it has been horrendous. The Internet speeds have been extremely slow and I can not watch one tv episode without at least 10 20 min buffers. I can only use one device and trying to get them to fix it took two weeks and the effects were very temporary. If anyone reads this DO NOT use them. Even talking to NTT directly and they say that they are really bad. Just go to NTT directly or use someone more reliable.

      Costas
      Reply
  • July 28, 2008

    Has anybody tried the IPTV? Any input on that?

    Yari
    Reply
  • July 29, 2008

    Hi, Suzy. With the Unlimited World calling plan ($12.95 a month), you can call to certain countries (34 countries – US and Japan included) for free. It also gives you 3 online numbers. You can have a US number and a Japan number at the same time. The Japan number has a 50 area code – I’m not sure though if people from Oki who are going to call you will end up paying a higher per minute rate.

    The phone that I have has a base station that plugs into my computer modem. You have to sign up for a Skype account which is just like Yahoo Chat. You can get Skype phones at the BX, but I’m not sure if they have any cordless Skype phones. I bought mine from Amazon a long time ago – I think January 2007. It’s a Linksys CIT400. I saw one on Amazon, but it’s sold by an Amazon vendor and not by Amazon itself.
    Hope this info helps.

    EM
    Reply
  • July 29, 2008

    Hi, Karen. Unfortunately for me, I had the rotten unit. It’s a Vtec phone that I ordered through Vonage, and they told me that they’ve been having problems with that particular model’s power adapter. I can’t say anything about Vonage’s service. It was great when the phone worked. But in my case, it’s more practical for me to go with Skype. It’s still a savings of $24 every month.

    EM
    Reply
  • July 31, 2008

    Thanks so much EM!!! I just bought a phone from a store on ebay. I should be trying it out within the next 2 weeks and can’t wait. I opted to get a 300 series phone instead of the 400. I kept losing on the auctions. I also couldn’t find them in stock anywhere else. They must sell like hotcakes:)!

    Suzy
    Reply
  • August 1, 2008

    My wife Alex and I were stationed in Oki from 98 through 01. Back then, the only way we could follow NFL football games on Sunday was by pulling all-nighters, and sometimes, I would take special liberty on Mondays just to be able to do so! Are there any satellite options whatsoever now?
    Sincerely,
    Bo

    Bo Miller
    Reply
  • August 2, 2008

    Hello- we are trying to order Vonage before we PCS later this month. The people at Vonage say they need to know what internet provider we will be using before they send us the equipment-
    What internet is used on base?
    If there is more than one company which works the best?

    Cindy
    Reply
  • August 2, 2008

    Cindy- I’m not sure if other bases differ, but on Kadena, Mediatti Broadband Communications is the one-and-only internet company. As for best… well, Mediatti’s definitely not it. But it could be worse, and it does seem to work fine for those I know that use Vonage/Skype/etc.

    Tara M
    Reply
  • August 2, 2008

    I have been listening to all the whispers about the new subscription that Skype offers that is cheaper than Vonage. The Unlimited World for 9.95/month. I pay 24.99 or something close to that for Vonage. Big difference. I checked into the Skype program and it requires you to buy a special phone for them (Vonage did not). That phone is 49.99 and you buy that when you sign up. No idea if you HAVE to use this phone or if there is just some agreement between Skype and Phillips Cordless phones.

    So I called VOnage and told them about Skype’s offer and asked them what they were doing to keep their customers. They then offered me 14.99/month with no equipment costs so it ends up being cheaper for the year than switching to Skype.

    Skype’s promotion is only for a year as was this deal that Vonage offered me. Who knows what the price will be after this year.

    Just wanted to share in case any of you were able to call and reduce your monthly fee for Vonage.

    Or maybe I’m the last one to figure this out!

    Reply
  • August 2, 2008

    Thanks for the info guys- my husband will be at Schwab- so I’ve been hearing McT housing…
    As for those internet providers at the top of the page- are they only for off base?
    (Vision one, GL BROADBAND, Sunny-Net, Fad tech)

    Cindy
    Reply
  • August 7, 2008

    I arrived here 2 weeks ago!:) We have heard we are not getting our things for another month. I am looking for a T.V. Any ideas on how to find one cheap? Thanks, nicole

    nicole
    Reply
  • August 8, 2008

    Nicole…try japan update in the electronics section…

    http://www.japanupdate.com/classifieds/english/?s=ELEC3

    It looks like they have alot right now. I didn’t know about it when we arrived so I just went ahead and purchased a cheap one from the BX which is now in the bedroom:) It was small but it worked for a little bit. Good luck and welcome to the island!!!

    Suzy
    Reply
  • August 9, 2008

    Mere – THAT was brilliant. As it stands, the quality on Vonage is better as well – but again, off base I have fiberoptic cable internet and it’s just going to be better all around. We’re very happy with Vonage!

    Cindy – right, on base you have Mediatti and that’s it.

    Nicole – will you have cable service yet? might not be worth investing in a cheap tv for the one channel you get if you plug it into the wall…. unless you just mean for videos & such. In which case maybe you can use a laptop instead? Just a thought to save the $$ and the space :)

    Welcome new peoples!

    Reply
  • November 15, 2008

    We live off base and currently have Sunnynet TV over the internet that costs around $130 monthly. We are very unhappy with the this service, have cancelled it and desperately looking for a new TV service.

    Anybody live off base that has TV? Please tell me your experiences…maybe with AFN and/or Skyperfect?

    Thanks for your help!

    Teresa Stigall
    Reply
  • March 30, 2009

    This looks like a dead topic as no one has commented on it, but my husband and I got a Skype number that’s a US number for 60 bucks a year. People from home can call us and apparently you can use call forwarding so once we get to Japan we might try to hook it up so that it call forwards to our Japanese number.

    Kate Miller
    Reply
  • March 30, 2009

    Hi Kate! That’s very interesting. I’m looking forward to hearing how that works out. The most recent post that discusses ways to keep in touch can be found here:
    http://www.okinawahai.com/2009/03/when-my-family-and-i-moved-to-okinawa-last-summer-our-families-had-warned-us-ahead-of-time-were-not-going-to-be-able-to.html

    Kandy
    Reply
  • April 8, 2010

    Hi Everyone! My wife is already stationed there with our 3 year old son, I will be there as soon as our teenager finishes the school year! Question: Has anyone purchased and/or hooked up a DVR recorder with the analog cable?

    I am trying to buy a DVR recorder, but so far everyone here in the states just give a flat answer of: our stuff doesn’t work outside of the U.S. They don’t even remotely interested in looking into it. So, anyone know more than the “whole lotta nothing” I am getting here?”

    Thanks!
    Duane

    Duane
    Reply
  • June 11, 2010

    http://asahi-net.jp/en/service/ftth.html
    Posting this up here because Asahi-net has awesome sign-up incentives with great service. I have been using their fiber optic for almost 2 years now and never had one problem. I got the first 6 months free (obligated for one year subscription or incur cancellation fee) and I filled out a questionnaire they sent to my e-mail account and a few weeks later I got a 10,000 yen gift certificate that can be used at quite a few Japanese stores (I used mine at Jusco). Asahi-net is just a NTT carrier but they still installed everything for free as well.

    Reply
  • June 11, 2010

    Duane, if you are talking about Tivo or the DVRs povided by Direct TV or any other cable, satellite, or FIOS provider, forget it, they will not work, on or off base. We have tried to find a DVD recorder that we can hook up to any service but they are next to impossible to find any more, so we dragged out our old VCRs and are using those. Make sure you remember to find the remote, too, since most models can only be programmed with the remote. I don’t understand why, in Japan, one of the most technoligically advanced countries in the world, we have been forced to go back to using 1980s technology.

    We are on Kadena, but I have not heard anyone mention that the off-base TV service providers offer DVRs. Maybe someone else can address that specific issue.

    Suzanne
    Reply
  • June 12, 2010

    My husband and I are moving to Okinawa in August, and I’m trying to decide on which service to use for international phone calls. I was wondering if anyone has used Skype’s call forwarding option to send calls to their Japanese cell phone…? Was it terribly expensive? Any info would be greatly appreciated.

    Meredith D.
    Reply
  • June 13, 2010

    Suzanne….I live on Kadena as well and terribly miss my good ole DVR. I bought an Apple TV and buy all my shows that I want to watch on Itunes. Itunes stores all purchases on my apple tv and there it is…waiting on me to watch at my convenience!! It is the closest thing to my DVR. Of course I have to pay for itunes but then I can get it in HD and commerical free. I can pause, rewind or fast forward my apple tv……LOVE IT!!!! I refuse to go back to VHS:)

    Shopgirl26
    Reply
  • August 16, 2010

    Hey all,

    I’ve been told that there is a “fair use” policy regarding internet downloads and uploads through Mediatti (sp?) by several of my neighbors. I can’t find anything on this but is it true?

    I run a website via the internet for a stateside company and am terrified I’ll bust through our monthly “fair use” limit in a day or two of working normal hours. I purchased a pocket wifi to use instead but it is amazingly slow on base and I’d just rather use the home internet (patience is not a gift of mine).

    Is there a fair use policy attached to our internet use here on Kadena (or anywhere, I’m personally on Kadena) and if so, what is it exactly?

    Thanks for any help you guys can provide.
    Heidi

    Reply
  • August 28, 2010

    I know this is an old article but i’m wondering if anyone can tell me whether or not AFN satellite will have the new season of Grey’s Anatomy coming this September? If not, can you tell me the best company to go through to get uptodate US programming?

    Ashley
    Reply
  • August 28, 2010

    @Ashley | August 28, 2010

    You can check the AFN website.
    http://myafn.dodmedia.osd.mil/

    Search for the program you are interested in. Set the time zone for (GMT+09:00 Osaka, Sapporo, Tokyo) and if the show will be on AFN the date and local time it is scheduled for will be displayed.

    Grey’s Anatomy next episode is:
    Season 6, Episode 12 – “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked” to be shown on AFN Spectrum Sep 2 2010 08:00PM

    If you are interested in other episodes or other American TV shows many are available to view on various internet sites.

    Marc
    Reply
  • August 29, 2010

    We are headed to Kadena in Jan. Has anyone there heard of or tried the Slingcatcher and Slingbox?

    Blake
    Reply
  • August 29, 2010

    Hi everyone,

    I have a piece of advice for anyone about to get Mediatti internet/cable installed:

    -If the technician performing the installation gives you a Scientific Atlanta modem, go to the Mediatti office to swap it out for a Motorolla modem.

    I did so and my internet speed/ease of being able to have internet and use of Vonage at the same time (using a router) increased.

    Scientific Atlanta is well known for making cable boxes, but cable modems seems to be another matter.

    Jay
    Reply
  • August 30, 2010

    Blake, we have slingbox and it works great. Kind of an in depth process to get it all running but yes it works. We live off base and have fiber optic internet (really fast). Not sure if you would have a different outcome with on base internet options. Good luck.

    Kristine
    Reply
  • August 30, 2010

    I live on Kadena AB right now, I’m I stuck with the crappy ISP they provide or is their another option out there I dont know about….Apparently the IP is based out of Africa….

    Chris
    Reply
  • August 30, 2010

    @blake
    We have Hava/Monsoon and it works great. I heard that the video quality is better than slingbox. I have the vga output of my laptop plugged to the 42″ plasma. Love the fact that I get 175 channels for free.

    I heard Hava came out with the Vulkano.

    mo
    Reply
  • August 31, 2010

    We have a slingbox/slingcatcher and we live on Kadena. It works, but the connection is so slow that the picture is very poor quality and the connection keeps dropping. On a bad day, it can drop as many as 10 times during an hour-long program. We have the Scientific Atlanta cable modem, so I am going to follow Jay’s advice and ask for a Motorola modem, and hope that it improves. That said, we do really like it and watch it all the time, despite the problems with the connection.

    Suzanne
    Reply
  • September 4, 2010

    Concerning Hava…1st what do you mean 175 channels for free? Don’t you need a stateside provider? 2nd Can you hook the hava up through a PS3 to link direct to your TV?

    Prince
    Reply
  • September 4, 2010

    We have just moved to Kadena, Okinawa and we are considering getting Vonage. We have tried to set it up over the phone, but they can’t take a PO Box number. How do you get around that? We can give a state side address, but then they need to ship the equipment here. Not sure how to do that.
    Thanks for any information. Love this site and will keep checking it for all my new “needs” :)
    Andrea

    Andrea
    Reply
  • September 4, 2010

    Andrea,

    It’s easier than you think. As you said, have the vonage equipment shipped to a stateside address, like a family or friend.

    Then, ask them to send the equipment to you via Priority mail.

    If you will be living on Kadena though, and sign up for internet, be sure to get a Motorola modem from Mediatti as I noted in an earlier post.

    Vonage has been great for my wife and I, especially since we swapped out modems. It’s a real money saver for calling the states and for family/friends in the states to call you since you’ll have a “stateside” vonage phone number (area code and number of your choosing).

    Jay
    Reply
  • September 5, 2010

    @Prince
    Yes, the way slingbox and hava works is that you set up the box at a location where the cable TV source is. In my case, my parents live in Honolulu so I have the Hava box at their house. Hava & slingbox basically transmits any video signal over the internet to your computer. This allows you to watch your TV programs anywhere in the world, as long as you have broadband service.

    So with my Hava box at my parent’s house, what ever is being broadcast in Hawaii is sent to my laptop here. I then hook up the VGA output (more on that later) of my laptop to my 42″ Plasma. The Hava also lets you change the channels from your laptop via on-screen controls. 5 hour time difference though.

    Check out myhava.com. I got my box for a little less than $140 shipped with their online coupon. Had it shipped to Honolulu directly and I downloaded the viewing software here. I got the hava instead of slingbox because some reviewers said the video quality is better with hava.

    There are some things to consider with sling or hava. One of the biggies is that both TVs in Honolulu and here will be on the same channel. That may conflict with the person in the states who’s actually paying the cable bill. For me it doesn’t matter because it was a spare TV anyway and my parents don’t watch it much.

    The other thing is that it is an internet connection so you need fast internet on BOTH ends of your system. In my case, we have cable modem in Honolulu and I have fiber here. It works fine with only 1 or 2 interruptions since I’ve had the box.

    Video quality is not as good as paying for cable or sattelite. I would say it’s way better than the crap AFN-8 signal I’m getting over the air though. Way better. And it’s free.

    Some FYI, HabuTV uses slingbox for their cable service. I’ve heard they get their cable source from Wisconsin so you’ll have an 11 hour time shift and watching their local news. Plus they charge $100 for basic cable and $200 for premium channels. That’s per month. I think they broadcast Time-Warner cable (same as Honolulu). They let you try it out for free or you can stop by their place to check out the video quality. I haven’t seen it so I can’t say if it’s comparable to hava.

    BTW, do not get confused with HD. Slingbox and Hava/vulkano/monsoon can capture HD signal from the source video BUT the box will transmit video that is down graded to SD. I orginally thought that the box could capture and transmit HD but it can only capture. So VGA output from your computer should suffice.

    2nd question about the PS3, I’m not sure. You can check out myhava.com. They also have a newer version called Vulkano. I do know that you need software to view the hava though.

    There used to be a product called slingcatcher, which was a set-top box that captures the video tranmitted by the slingbox. It is no longer manufactured by sling but you can still get it from ebay. It has a real remote (vice on screen remote simulator). Oh yeah, and it takes about 5 seconds to change channels because it needs to send your channel selection to the source cable box thousands of miles away. But what do you expect for free.

    The justification for hava/slingbox type of TV source was that I couldn’t find a single cable or satellite complany that had Disney XD, Cartoon Network, Discovery Channel, SpeedTV, KBS World (Korean), CNN, and all of the other stations that I usually watch in Honolulu. SkyPerfect had Korean channels but they didn’t have all of the American channels that I wanted. AFN is AFN. HabuTV was too damn expensive and didn’t have Korean channels. So this was our best option. Plus it’s free.

    Sorry for the long winded post.

    mo
    Reply
  • September 13, 2010

    Can anyone confirm that AppleTV works on base if you have internet via Mediatti? Itunes says tv shows can only be rented in the US–will the Japanese isp prevent AppleTV from working? Thanks!

    Melissa
    Reply
  • September 15, 2010

    does anyone know if they play the new episodes of Grey’s Anatomy…i searched under my AFN for September 23rd when the new episode is supposed to come out and all they have up are re-runs….are there any other sites out there besides ABC and hulu.com that we can watch this on?

    Thanks
    Katlan

    Katlan Harris
    Reply
  • September 15, 2010

    Melissa–I use AppleTV on base with Mediatti. I have used it when I lived on Courtney and now that I live on Kadena. I love it! We had no issue with the isp thing.

    LLC
    Reply
    • April 4, 2012

      Thank you so much for posting this answer! I had the same question, and I’m so glad that it works! Did you buy the Apple TV equipment in the states and then just bring it with you?

      Kristen
      Reply
  • September 16, 2010

    Does anyone on here know much about “WiMax”?. Maybe I was dreaming, but I thought I heard a Mediatti representative talking about it a few days ago. I googled it and sounds very promising; anything to speed up the dreadfully slow cable modem service on base! Apparently it’s something that has been in use off base for several years now.

    Jay
    Reply
  • November 9, 2010

    I know a solution if anyone is interested much like wimax but without the hardware. It works well with voip applications And streaming tv shows online.

    mq
    Reply
  • November 25, 2010

    Mq,

    Do tell us about this solution like Wimax but without the hardware.

    Osanida
    Reply
  • January 9, 2012

    Hello,

    Great website. One question:

    Can you use devices like Roku or Apple TV on or off base?

    Thank you.

    Brent B
    Reply
  • January 9, 2012

    Added question to my other question above, it appears that people are bringing their own TV from the States when moving to Okinawa??

    Brent B
    Reply
  • April 16, 2012

    Anyone know about cable television service in Yomitan? Our home in the Nagahama neighborhood has an underground cable that gives us the basic five broadcast channels; but, we are having difficulty finding out who provides the service and how to get more channels piped into the home.

    Reply
  • June 7, 2012

    I was wondering if anyone has tried Hulu Japan and what it offers?

    Ashley
    Reply
    • July 11, 2012

      If you live on base you can use hulu plus. Just contact them and let them know you are living on a military installation. They will save your ip address and you will have access to all us shows.

      heather
      Reply
  • September 3, 2012

    I currently live off base and have Sunny-Net. Im paying extra each month to have a US ip adress to use for netflix, etc.. But the Ip address only works on my computer. How do i get it to register on my Wireless modem and PS3??

    Jeremy
    Reply
  • March 22, 2013

    Does anyone just get local Japanese tv off base? We have had AFN off base (all eight or so channels), and there’s only a couple shows a week that I care to watch at all. When I’ve stayed in local hotels, I have really enjoyed the Japanese TV, but I have no idea how to make it happen in my house! Just network is fine. Anyone done this or know what to do?

    Amy
    Reply
  • December 26, 2013

    Does anyone have suggestions or guidance on how to get Univison here in Okinawa? Going to be living off base. r/

    Eddie
    Reply
  • February 26, 2014

    Does anyone know if Roku works over there?

    Reply