Do we really need TV sets after Digital Migration? Change is the only constant is a tautology. A statement whose fact cannot be disputed.
Kenya as a country has experienced its own fair share of changes. Changes that had positive impacts. Changes that left very little to be desired. Changes that we are yet to experience their full impact. But for today I want us to focus on one particular change; the digital migration aka “the switch off”.
June 17th 2015 at 2359hrs marked the day Kenya joined the community of nations that have successfully migrated from analogue to digital television broadcasting. This was a move that would see the scarce frequencies that had been used in broadcasting analogue signals now been utilized to beef up the provision of other services such as mobile broadband.
We cannot deny the positive impact Digital Migration offered. Kenyans were now in a position to enjoy electronic programme guides. No more hassle with getting the daily newspaper at the local barber shop to go through the program guide of the day. I used to make an effort of getting the Sunday newspaper because it offered the program guide for the whole week. Not really the whole newspaper, but only that particular page. Okay, maybe and some other pages too. The transmission of image and sound in high-definition (HDTV) and ultra-high definition (UHDTV) was also a major benefit that the viewers would get to rip. These are just some of the many advantages that digital TV broadcasting offers over analogue systems for the viewers.
It is during this period that set-top boxes became a trending topic both online and offline. A topic that a high percentage of Kenyans didn’t understand then and still struggle to comprehend now. Dear Kenyans, apart from the set-top boxes that you are all too familiar with there exists other free to air set top-boxes that have been certified by Communications Authority of Kenya formerly Kenya Communications Authority. It’s not a hoax. You can confirm from their website. It is all in black and white. A list of all the approved free to air set-top boxes and authorised vendors. The major misconception that many Kenyans have is that the free to air set top boxes or any other set top box has to come from a TV content provider.
Given that the set top box is the main device that receives the digital signal, do we really need television sets? Some set top boxes also offer the functionalities of a smart TV; streaming, video on demand etc. Did the emergence of set top boxes render TV sets obsolete?
TV sets are now used as screens to display the image signals from the set top boxes. We can still achieve the same result using a projector or a monitor. During the analogue phase TV sets were used as the primary device to receive the analogue signals. In this era of digital broadcast it is the set top box that has taken that position. The question still stands, do we really need TV sets to enjoy the digital broadcasts?