Commander’s Action Line

Since PCSing here from Japan, I have been greatly disappointed in the cable TV offered on-base by TKS. We only get about 24 channels including AFN. We can’t pick up the German channels offered unless I buy a new TV that supports them. We only watch a few of the other channels besides AFN because the other channels are garbage.

I am paying almost the same price for these channels as I did when I was in Japan and I was offered about 50 channels. We were offered some great programing in Japan, such as FOX, BET, MTV, ESPN, Nickelodeon, National Geographic, and more. The only decent channels we get here are MTV, CNN, EuroSport, Cartoon Network and MGM. They did have SkyOne, but took it off and put in Reality TV. The selection and quantity of channels offered by TKS are weak. Can something be done to get a better product by TKS or get another provider? Or can we even get satellite TV? With satellite, I can get more channels plus some channels from my spouse’s home country.

I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your questions regarding TKS cable TV and the services they provide. TKS was formed by agreement between the U.S. and German governments to provide cable TV services on military installations in Germany. TKS owns the infrastructure providing these services and as a result has exclusivity for service. As is found in different stateside areas, cable providers will offer different channels based on programming that is available and cost effective to broadcast. TKS currently offers approved programming consisting of popular civilian and AFN channels in American format and an additional 11 channels in European format. Two of the European channels are in English, however, customers need a multi-system TV in order to receive these channels. Additional equipment needed to convert the European signals to an American signal is not cost effective and would not allow TKS to provide those channels free of charge.

During 2004, TKS did swap a few of their channels in attempts to offer programming that appeals to a larger audience. In the case of Sky One, in 2003 Sky determined they would no longer authorize their programming outside of England and that programming was no longer available. They are, however, in discussion with Sky for viewing packages that may be available in the future.
TKS is currently working to add three more channels to their basic package this summer. They are also working to introduce up to 10 digital channels, which may be available fall 2005 on a package payment basis.