The Digital Transition Begins
Kenya began its official journey from analogue to digital TV on the 31st September 2009, when the state broadcaster KBC started the migration from analogue to digital transmission.
The system adopted for Kenya is DVB-T with MPEG-4, H.264.AVC coding and the first transmissions start in Nairobi, Naivasha, Machakos, Kajiado and Muranga using a single multiplex.
Before the 2010 World Cup, coverage will have been extended to Webuye, Nyeri, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Eldoret, Meru, Kisii and Malindi.
The service is operated by Signet, a subsidiary of the Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), specifically set up to broadcast and distribute the DTT signals. It will operate on an open basis providing broadcasters with a route to switch from analogue to digital transmission and minimise anti-competitive behaviour.
Until 2012, when the transition to digital has been completed, Signet will carry private broadcasters signals free of charge, but will charge for its services after this date.
The complete switch to digital broadcasting is expected to cost Sh6 billion (USD 80 million) and an initial Sh152 million (USD 2 million) has already been allocated.
At present there are around 4 million TV households in Kenya and it has been proposed by the Digital Television Committee that the government subsidise or provide incentives for consumers to purchase compliant equipment on a similar basis to the coupon system recently used in the United States.
At a recent press conference the Information and Communication Permanent Secretary, Dr Bitange Ndemo said that Nairobi University and Jomo Kenyatta University would take a technological lead in the DTT process.
A specification for compliant set top boxes is currently available at http://www.cck.go.ke/UserFiles/File/Set_top_boxes.pdf
Main source: Kenyan Broadcasting Authority
Item added: 16th November 2009