Using a PVR to record TV shows/movies with subtitles in Japan

I’ve never been to Japan before, although I’m thinking about going on my first trip and spending some time there to get more immersion. While I’m there, I was wondering (from people who already live or have lived in Japan), do they broadcast TV in a way that you can use a PVR or PVR software to record TV shows and movies with captions?

I know this is possible where I live, and as far as I’m aware, I think it’s legal to use a PVR. On the legal point, I’m not a lawyer, but it seems that turning TV shows and movies into Anki decks might be less objectionable this way than ripping a DVD (because of the DMCA), and I’m imagining a lot of free study material could be collected this way for personal use.

Does anyone have any experience with this?

Do you have someone in Japan willing to plug their TV to the device to do so (convert the signal, DVR and streaming)?

If so, look for Slingboxes or ts抜き cards :+1:

Thanks for the information and pointing me in the right direction. Reading about ts抜き cards, unfortunately it looks like its one of those things that’s technically possible but not strictly legal. Unlike most of the rest of the world where free-to-air TV broadcasts are unencrypted, Japan protects its free-to-air broadcasts.

Overseas, the easy way to have direct access to broadcast transmissions seem to be Slingboxes. Those are consumer oriented and if you look into reddit you will find people that have gone with the process and can orient you a bit more.

It’s necessary to put the actual device in some place with TV access (usually people do it with relatives in Japan).

Then ts抜き cards are apparently a cheaper way, but require you to deal with setting tuner software, DVR software, etc.

You can check here, there’s even the discord for a group of people that are into that sort of setting.

Again, you need to plug that to someones TV signal.

I feel like attempting to dive into this just for learning a language’s sake it’s too much (for me at least) of a hassle. There are dramas and their respective jp subs fairly easy to locate, same for anime.
I would check for a japanese TV IPTV provider and subscribe for a month or two and see if you really care for Japanese TV to begin with.

Consumer-oriented devices can be licensed legally, but my hope was to link it up to a computer so I can feed the video and captions into language learning software like subs2srs etc. for personal educational use. So the concern for me isn’t the technical barrier but the legal barrier, and sadly it doesn’t seem like this would be legal.

Yeah, the line seems to be on the “saving the content”. Which would be totally necessary if using a ts抜き.


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That’s really interesting. The article gives a hint on how it might be done legally: by copying the output after it has been converted to analogue. But the whole process and post-processing sounds too difficult to bother with.

Frankly, the law is a bit silly when it comes to preventing (digital) copies for personal/educational use.