SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Couch potatoes at Sasebo, rejoice: Starting in September, the on-base cable lineup will sport eight new channels and a few other tweaks to service, according to Americable system manager John McCorts.

Also on tap, according to Americable: a price increase for Americable’s top tier of nonpremium service, which will include the eight new channels.

New fiber-optic technology and lower costs have enabled Americable’s Sasebo branch to expand programming, bringing it in line with Americable’s offerings at other Japan bases.

A new Internet feed through a fiber-optic network will provide space for 16 new channels, McCorts said. Half will be new to the base, including Comedy Central, PBS and Spike TV.

The others are channels already offered but now they’ll be fed via the Internet from Yokosuka Naval Base. Currently, Americable in Sasebo plays a DVD from the States for those channels, but Sasebo’s office is not staffed all the time.

Yokosuka’s office, which also uses DVDs from the States for its programming, is staffed 24 hours and will monitor Sasebo’s channels overnight, McCorts said, so any problems can be addressed more quickly.

With the new channels, Americable has created new pricing options.

Sasebo currently has two: One is a free basic tier with American Forces Network channels, Japanese channels and a base commander’s channel. The second tier, which costs $42.25 a month, provides the remaining currently available channels but does not include four premium channels.

With the new system, there will be three options.

The first is the same free tier. The second, costing $37.95 per month, has the free channels and others up to channel 36, including two of the new ones.

The third tier, which costs $47.95, provides channels up to 60.

The two paid tiers do not include premium channels, such as Showtime and The Filipino Channel, which cost extra.

After the change-over, residents who want only the lower-price tier will have to take action to avoid being charged for the most expensive tier.

The new system tentatively is set for launch Sept. 8. When it launches, residents who have paid-tier service will receive all the new channels for one month, according to Americable officials.

After that month, if they want the lower-cost tier, they must call and request it. Residents who do nothing will be upgraded to the bigger package and charged accordingly, McCorts said.

For information about the changes and new costs, residents can visit the Americable Web site at or phone McCorts at DSN 252-2171.

Viewers should consult Yokosuka’s listing for specific channel lineups for the new service, officials said.

New channels

Starting next month, Sasebo residents will receive the following new channels:

PBS (ch 24)

Comedy Central (ch 36)

VH1 (ch 39)

The Learning Channel (ch 41)

Spike TV (ch 42)

Galavision (ch 45)

Court TV (ch 46)

ABC Family (ch 51)

With the new lineup, Americable will enact a new pricing system. After a one-month free viewing period to show off the new channels, the cable company automatically will upgrade residents who now have paid cable service to tier 2. Those who prefer fewer channels — and a lower price — must call to have their systems changed to tier 1.

Call John McCorts at DSN 252-2171 for information or to change programming.

Free military tier(Stays the same under changes)

AFN channels

Japanese channels

Base access channels

New tier 1, $37.95: Includes the free military tier along with channels up to 36.

New tier 2, $47.95: Includes the free military tier along with channels up to 60.

Premium channels: The Movie Channel, Showtime, GMA and The Filipino Channel are available for an additional charge.

— Juliana Gittler

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