The Star (Nairobi)

30 January 2013

Kenya: Digital TV Decoder Prices Still Exorbitant

The price of digital television set-top-boxes is still beyond many consumers' reach even as the country prepares for analogue Tv switch off any time after the general elections.

Some vendors are selling the Free-to-air decoders for as high as Sh7000 despite a tax exemption and increased competition. A check on the cost of the approved set-top boxes showed the lowest priced box going for Sh5300 while others cost Sh7000. The differences are determined by the device make and model.

The Digital Kenya Committee yesterday published the list of type approved DVB-T2 set-top boxes and vendors. Communication Commission of Kenya named eight digital vendors it had licensed; six for free-to-air and two pay-Tv providers.

Newly licensed Sinka Digital is selling the device for Sh7000, while Professional Digital Systems licensed a while back is selling at Sh6500.

Microville solutions and Rockdale prices were the lowest at Sh5500 and Sh5300 respectively. the pay-Tv providers StarTimes and GoTv prices vary and are pegged on subscriptions bought.

"We have to be publish the type-approved models and which vendor is selling free-to air or pay Tv. In the past we have had incidences of people complaining they are being asked to pay monthly subscriptions after buying boxes from pay providers," said Christopher Wambua, CCK comunications manager.

Nairobi was to be switched off from analogue transmission at the end of December - which would have required all Tv owners to have a set-top box- but the process was stopped after Consumer Federation of Kenya moved to court saying consumers were not ready.

The court ordered Cofek and Government to agree on a new switch-off date after the election period. Some of the vendors said the price may go higher once the switch-off is implemented due to a spike in demand.

In the meantime, the Digital Committee said the said 10 towns had been effectively covered by digital signals being distributed by Signet and Pan African Group. These are Nairobi, Mombasa, Malindi, Nakuru, Kisumu, Webuye, Meru, Kisii, Eldoret and Nyeri.

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