Residents of the city of Nairobi have faced an analogue television switch off scare since late last one in 2012. The high court of Kenya however suspended this switch off until after the general elections which were held in March 2013. The court in Kenya asked the Consumer Federation of Kenya (CoFEK) and the Communication Commission of Kenya to deliberate and agree on a suitable date for the switch off of analogue television sets.
A concern was raised as regards the switch off that had been slated for December 2012. Only ten percent of Kenyan television owners have acquired the digital set boxes required for the digital move. With this in mind, then many Kenyans would be locked of the election polls news during the last elections in Kenya. All the digital set top boxes in Kenya require a monthly subscription fee which goes as high as KSH 5,000 depending on the service provider you choose.
Currently there is an advert on television asking Kenyans to prepare for the digital move as the analogue televisions will be locked by December 2013. With a digital set box, the images and sounds will be processed electronically and then transmitted in this format. The RRC- Regional Radio Communications Conference which was held in Geneva, Switzerland in 2006 set the 17TH of July 2015 as the deadline for all countries to have moved from analogue to digital migration. Analogue technology in Kenya is getting obsolete with time not to mention it is quite expensive to maintain. With digital television, Kenyan consumers are guaranteed of better sound and image quality. With the digital set boxes, other multimedia data and entertainment services will also be available in Kenya. The set top boxes decode the digital transmissions to a video signal so that they can be displayed on the television screens.
Most people in Kenya will not need to buy other television sets for this shift. If your television set has the audio and video outputs, you will just plug in the set box. For those whose sets do not have these outputs, they will unfortunately have to buy other television sets all together. This will be a rather financially draining move especially for those who have to buy new television sets in Kenya as well. The monthly subscription fee is always another hurdle that will prove too high for most Kenyans.
The analogue switch off in Kenya is first expected take place in Nairobi. Other towns all over the country will also face the same knife as time progresses. Some of the set boxes currently available in the Kenyan market include GoTV, Startimes and Zuku.
Critics have also observed that most Kenyans who live under the poverty line will be locked out of watching television once this migration phase is completed.