A guide to choosing the right digital TV decoder

Ownership of set-top-boxes in Kenya has risen to 71pc. PHOTO/FILE
As the world moves to shut down analogue television frequencies, many people are asking themselves numerous questions that are rarely answered by key sector stakeholders.

To help you out on some of these questions, we shall give you a down-to-earth summary on the following:-

1.) What is a decoder?
A digital TV decoder is a device that enables an analogue TV set to receive and display digital signals.

A basic decoder can be purchased from any approved vendor.

However, you should first ensure that your TV set has the type of connection necessary to set up your decoder of choice and you must ensure that the decoder can decipher TV signals in your area.

Digital TV sets have inbuilt receivers for high definition (HD) TV and owners of such gadgets do not have to worry about acquiring set-top-boxes.

2.) Free to air decoders in Kenya – These are set-top boxes (decoders) that allow digital signals to be reconverted to analogue so that individuals with analogue TV sets can watch free to view TV without monthly subscriptions.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has published a list of approved free to air decoders and TV sets as well as their pricing. The information is available on CA’s website: www.digitalkenya.go.ke

3.) Free to air channels in Kenya – These are television stations that do not charge viewers any monies to watch their programs. These include NTV, Citizen TV, KTN, QTV, K24, Kiss TV, GBS TV, KBC and Family TV among others.

4.) Set-top box prices in Kenya – The cost of decoders varies depending on the brand and supplier. Free to air decoders are retailing at between Sh3,299 and Sh6,000 and are readily available in leading supermarkets and shops.

READ: StarTimes slashes pay TV charges

Set-top boxes for GoTv, StarTimes, Zuku, Dstv, Bamba TV and other Pay TV channels are also readily available in major towns across the country, with prices starting at Sh1,699.

These set-top boxes attract monthly subscription fees, starting at Sh150.

5.) Digital migration deadline – The global deadline for the migration is June 17, 2015. The switch-off means that viewers who will not have replaced their analogue TV sets with digital sets or acquired decoders will be unable to view TV programmes.