At last, the fate of digital TV migration in Nairobi is going to be decided by the court, it’s a decision that’s going to affect a good portion of households within the city and consequently has attracted a lot of attention . Digital TV transmission platform is receiving unwarranted hype that most of it is far from truth if you ask me; by a good extend, it’s better than traditional analog platform but several issues also come along. According to cofek, the consumer federation body that’s been championing a delayed switch off, most Kenyans hardly can afford the price of set top boxes or flat panels with a built in digital tuner, and without either of the mentioned options, it’ll be impossible to watch any television channel after the switch off process is completed unless you have a pay TV subscription utilizing satellite or cable. Personally, I’d preferred both platforms to operate concurrently at least before the global deadline and a decision to adopt the new platform left to consumers.
According to justice Lenaola who’s overseeing the case between cofek and CCK, the switch off of analog signal be delayed preferably after the march poll, we all know what happened during the last general elections; information was key to survival for most of us and personally I couldn’t agree more, problem is, it may take a while before we’re done with polls in case of a run off. Anyway, what’s the rush, the global deadline is 2015; before then, let the two platforms run concurrently, it makes perfect sense rather than hurrying up Kenyans who are honestly struggling with unfavorable economy. The chairman of media owners association puts the number of Kenyans likely to be affected to about four million, that’s a really staggering figure to even think of eliminating the current analog platform completely.
Back to the real issue here, is the hype and attention that our government is pressing hard for Kenyans to accept any close to reality, probably not. To start with, set top boxes for free to air channels are way beyond what our pockets can handle, just walk into any supermarket within the city and you’d be surprised to see some of them retailing close to a fourteen inch color television. Before I continue further, let me clarify something, I mean free to air and not pay TV set top boxes such as StarTimes or Gotv. Free to air set top boxes doesn’t require any subscription to watch local and international free to air channels which’s a prerequisite on pay TV boxes. Secondly, the digital signal is only available in a few areas, which simply mean Kenyans in uncovered areas wouldn’t have any option rather than using pay TV providers with satellite transmission to watch their favorite channels. So before we’re forced to migrate, I’d strongly suggest that the entire country is covered and set top boxes are subsidized further.