15 March 2014

Kenya: Old TV Sets to Go Off As World Goes Digital Way

ANALOGUE television sets could soon be phased out as the June 17, 2015 deadline for migration to digital broadcasting draws closer. Secretary general of UN's International Telecommunications Union Hamadoun Touré said on Friday that ICT manufacturers including those in TV making were expected to comply with global uniform standards in phase of digital broadcasting.

He said ITU has always set standards that supports interoperability of ICT devices across the 193 UN member nations by bringing together policy makers, industry operators and manufacturers.

"Without ITU, there would be no uniform standards for TV, radio and mobile phones," he said in Nairobi when he wound up his week-long visit to Kenya. "Sometimes, some manufacturers resist but once one of them starts, others follow."

He remained optimistic that all countries would be on digital television broadcasting signal by June next year, ruling out the cost of digital decoders as an impediment.

A survey by Ipsos Synovate released on Tuesday found that only 32 per cent of viewers had migrated in Nairobi and 29 per cent countrywide. 74 per cent of those without a digital set top box cited cost as a key hurdle although the study did not ask their preferred price.

Touré said the cost of a set top box was less than the cost of a smart phone. "The cost of a set top box is cheaper than that of a phone," he said. "How can a family whose members have a smart phone each fail to afford a set top box that is shared by all of them?"

The mandatory transition to digital television broadcasting signal in Nairobi earlier set for December 26 has been postponed pending a determination of a case before court of appeal by three local broadcasters challenging its timing.

The determination of the case on was on Friday postponed for the second time to March 28. Touré said President Uhuru had assured him of timely migration.

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