Tuesday, May 13, 2014

What is Digital TV?

There is a lot of talk in the media these days about digital TV migration and set-top boxes. Recently, we were treated to some drama where NTV, Citizen and KTN took the government to court over the digital migration issue.

A lot of Kenyans, especially in the rural areas, still no not understand what all this talk about digital migration has to do with them, thanks in part to a poor public education strategy by the Communications Authority of Kenya.

Understanding Digital TV

Digital TV is simply the transmission of digitally processed video and audio in contrast to analog television. The main advantage of digital television over analog is that less bandwidth is required. This means that digital broadcasters can offer more channels over the same space. Other advantages include:

  1. High-definition television
  2. The broadcaster can offer other non-tv services e.g.  multimedia or interactivity.
  3. The broadcaster can also offer value added services such as multiplexing, electronic program guides (like DSTV) and the ability to change languages or add sub-titling on a channel. 

International Digital Migration

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has set a June 2015 deadline for all countries to switch over to digital TV. All countries are expected to have complied by then.

How to Receive a Digital Signal

If you do not have a digital TV, you will have to invest in a set-top box. The unit converts the digital signal from the broadcaster into analog form which your TV can then display on screen. Set-top boxes are available at all leading supermarkets and thousands of electronic retailers around the country. See the Digital Kenya page for a list of approved units and authorized vendors.

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