The Consumer Federation of Kenya recently held a digital migration forum that brought together key digital television stakeholders to discuss the current challenges facing the migration from analogue to digital broadcasting in efforts to make the transition a reality.
Resolving to work together in the process, the stakeholders included the Ministry of Information and Communication, Communication Authority, Digital Decoders Dealers Association, content developers and Digital Broadcasters Association of Kenya.
The decoder dealers association talked about how the continued delay in migrating to the digital platform had negatively affected their members’ investments, leading to huge losses since the delay had caused Kenyans to hesitate in acquiring the type approved set top boxes.
Sharing in the same concern as that of the decoder association, the digital broadcasters association noted that the delayed migration is depriving Kenyans of an increased choice in their television viewing options since it offers fewer channels.
According to the association, through digital television signal, Kenyans should be enjoying up to 22 Standard Definition (S.D.) Channels in the same bandwidth that previously produced one Channel on the analogue platform.
On its part, Pan African Network Group (PANG) one of the licensed broadcast signal distributors noted that the company has so far invested over Kshs. 6 Billion in three years since they were granted a B.S.D. license in October of 2011 and created over 700 employment opportunities for Kenyans.
This investment will complement the investment by the other media houses who have invested around KSh40 Billion collectively, thereby driving the broadcast sector in Kenya into a robust industry that will see all major stakeholders achieve their goal to drive access to information.
With the first and second phases of the analogue switch off having kicked off on December 30, 2014 and February 2, 2015 respectively, stakeholders were optimistic the rest of the country will effectively migrate to the digital platform during the third phase that is scheduled for March 30, 2015.
The forum encouraged Kenyans to acquire type approved set top boxes of their choice with options from which to pick from including;
- Conditional Access (C.A.) – Pay TV Decoders
- Free To Air (F.T.A.) Decoders.
- Satellite Transmission Digital TV.
- Cable Transmission Digital TV.
- Internet Protocol (I.P.) Digital TV.
With the country having more than 1.2 million set top boxes available in the market, the forum established that Kenyans will also be able to enjoy enhanced viewership including access to the Electronic Program Guide that provide users with an easy to use way of watching programs where all programs are displayed and accessed easily.
Also to be enjoyed is a multimedia function through flash disks where movies, music can be accessed with ease, PVR function allowing for program playback, HDMI functions as well as capability for high speed data broadcasting about electronic newspapers and websites.
With the price of set top boxes having dropped to an average of KSh 4,000 for the free to air option and 1,700 for the Pay-TV option, it is expected that the majority of Kenyans will indeed have access to digital television.