My TV is old. I want to buy a new one while living in Japan. The only thing holding me back is that I have no idea if the TV would be absolutely worthless in the US if I ended up moving back.

Here are the things I am most worried about:

  1. Power (Japan: 100V, 60 Hz / US: 120V, 60 Hz) -- my TV says "100V~ 50/60Hz"
  2. Broadcast/Tuners (Can a Japanese TV tuner pick up US broadcasts?)

So given that the electricity is slightly different, and the tuners are potentially different, to what extent can I use a Japanese TV in the US?

3 Answers 3


Most modern televisions have a range of voltages that they support. If you're picking up a new one, you just need to ensure that the voltage range includes that 120V that you get in the US.

As most television is transmitted digitally these days, the concern over signal is not important unless you're hoping to get analog signals. The only difference you'd need to pick up in some countries is a local tuner.

However many if not most set-top-boxes in the US come with a digital tuner built in, and then they transmit the signal to the television digitally. As a result, the television neither knows or cares where it's located, as the signal is just coming from the STB.

So - voltage, check the back of the tv to confirm its range, and signal - as long as you're going to be using a digital signal, and let's face it - most countries and services are switching if they haven't already, then your new STB in the US will cover this range.

Some of this is my own knowledge, but I double checked it on a couple of sites, for reference:

  • Are the digital signals compatible? Aug 29, 2014 at 19:05
  • My understanding is generally, yes. The most likely frustration (if any) might be the connector - if the STB uses HDMI and the TV supports SCART, but there are converters, and some tvs may support both. When NZ went digital, some older UK set top boxes wouldn't work in NZ as they used mpeg2 compression, and NZ was broadcasting using mpeg-4, but you could buy a new STB. Saying that, there can always be edge cases and it's naturally worth asking the retailer to double check :D
    – Mark Mayo
    Aug 30, 2014 at 12:38

The tuner won't receive over-the-air broadcasts in the US. The digital TV standard in use is different. You will have to use some kind of set-top-box for it to work.

Also, all the menus and smart features will be in Japanese only. English support is very rare on domestic models. This could be an issue if you want to use things like Netflix, which are unlikely to be supported.

You can get a voltage step-down converter to sort that problem out, just make sure it is rated for 2x the wattage of the TV, i.e. if the box says the TV uses 250W get a 500W step down converter.


yes It will work. You just have to buy a voltage converter that convert the voltage according to how much you TV needs. And buy a local tuner or antenna for broadcast/tuner.

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