By Fredrick Obura
If you live in Nairobi and have not bought a decoder that enables your television to receive digital signals, you better get one immediately or else you will not get any TV signals by December 31.
This is according to the Information Ministry and the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) that have arrived at December 31 as the date they will switch off analogue TV signals in the capital.
This means that unless your TV set can receive digital signals, you have to acquire a decoder or acquire a gadget that receives the digital signals and decodes them for viewing on analogue TV sets. Most of the local TVs are analogue.
CCK said it would switch off the analogue signals in phases, by regions, starting with Nairobi.
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“We are calling on households in Nairobi to acquire the right decoders that will see them not locked out from television viewing. The switch off plan is on and no extension will be given,” said Francis Wangusi, Director General CCK.
Nairobi, which has been on the trial for digital broadcasting since last year will be the first to be affected by the latest development, as the industry regulator sets December 31, as the deadline for the switch off. According to CCK, the experience generated from the planned Nairobi switch off will inform decisions on how to switch the entire country to digital broadcasting.
The switch had been slated for July 1, but failed to take place due to lack of preparedness, as well as limited consumer awareness. The date was pushed to September and now December.
CCK said there has been increased awareness and is confident that only a few people in Nairobi may not know.
The switch-off is a universal undertaking, where UN body – International Telecommunication Union – has set a deadline of 2015. Digital broadcasting carry more channels, which is hoped will give investors a window to acquire broadcasting licence that has been limited under the current analogue regime. Digital signals also of superior quality.