October 20, 2018: I have updated this guide for the latest version of KeyHoleTV!!!
Have you ever wanted to know how to watch real-time, live Japanese TV for free? Maybe you’re trying to learn Japanese, but want to hear real Japanese and not the type you hear in Anime. Well, there is a free program called KeyHoleTV that will let you do just that. KeyHoleTV is part of a project by Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs testing out P2P (peer to peer) technology. You can also stream your live video using the same technique with a program called KeyHoleVideo. While the audio and video isn’t the highest quality, it is watchable. KeyholeTV has a decent, but limited selection of channels. The more prominent channels are TBS, TV Tokyo, TV Asahi, and Fuji TV. There are also a few smaller channels and user broadcasts that change randomly. If you’re interested in downloading it, here’s a step by step guide.
1. Download KeyHoleTV
2. Install KeyHoleTV
3. Run KeyHoleTV
When you run KeyHoleTV for the first time, you will see a window like the one below. Just type in a username and password and click “Start Registration” to sign up. You will need this username and password each time you start the application, so don’t lose it!
4. Channel listings
After successful registration, you will see the channel listings for KeyHoleTV. On this screen, you will see the channel name, a preview picture of what’s currently playing, and the number of viewers watching that specific channel. When you see a high number of people watching, it usually means something good is on. Remember that here in the United States, we are about 14 hours behind JST (Japan Standard Time).
So a lot of the popular shows and Anime will come on at odd times for us. Here is a listing of the current channels as of today. The channels are always changing. Match the beginning of the channel name with the English in red:
Once you have started watching a channel, you must click the blue stop button to select another channel to watch.
5. Premium Module
New with this version is a Premium module key. By purchasing this key, you will get a faster bitrate. You are probably wondering how much faster it is, so I decided to buy a premium account to test it out. Is it faster? Yes, but not by much. I do not notice any skipping what so ever where I did see very choppy sound sometimes on a standard account. If you are serious about watching Japanese TV Online, it may be worth the purchase.
So there you go. If you are using this to help you with learning Japanese, I hope you get a lot out of KeyHoleTV. I will be updating this page when I see new channels, so bookmark the page or subscribe to my RSS Feed, so you don’t miss anything. Below are a few TV Guide Japan type websites so if you know Japanese, or can figure out what the kanji means, you can have a better idea of what’s playing.
(OUTDATED) A brief explanation of the buttons:
- Logs you on and off of the server. Sometimes you will see errors saying that you are not connected to the server. Just click the button Off, and then back On to log back in.
- Allows you to mute the sound. Trigger On and Off.
- Allows you to stop and start the video.
- The channel listings refresh every now-and-then. Use this button to manually update the channel listings for KeyHoleTV.
- After you have selected a channel in the channel listings window, click the Watch button to view the channel.
- Right now, you don’t have to worry about this button as there are not many channels available on KeyHoleTV. However, in the future, this button is going to be a must-have.
- I haven’t seen any broadcasters chatting, but I assume that KeyHoleTV has the option of allowing the viewers to chat with the presenters. There is a popular channel that features actress Risa Ishimoto, not sure if you can chat with her or not.
- This tab allows you to view the video window.
- This tab allows you to view the channel listings.