On January 1, Kenya made the first step in digital migration that marked the analogue switch off in Nairobi way ahead of the June 17 global deadline. The second phase shall be implemented on February 2, and shall cover Mombasa, Malindi, Nyeri, Meru, Kisumu, Webuye, Kakamega, Kisii, Nakuru, Eldoret, Nyahururu, Machakos, Narok and Loldiani.
Many have asked why go the digital broadcasting way while TV has not been a problem. Well, there are both direct and indirect benefits to consumers (and the country) as broadcasting moves to the digital platforms.
Before looking at the indirect benefits, here is a summary of the direct benefits that come with digital broadcasting. Digital TV will enhance viewer experience through; Better picture quality which offers sharper; brighter picture, and reduced interference as well as improved sound quality. Being on the digital platforms will present viewers with more choice as digital signals take up much less bandwidth and therefore more channels can be broadcast. In this present day society, we want to stay connected on all our gadgets, the digital platforms gives us more access as Set Top Box (STB) which will be used to receive the digital signal also has the capability to interface with devices such as a cell phone, memory card or internet modem. With digital broadcasting, high definition television which offers better picture and sound quality is possible giving us all better viewing pleasure. Set Top Boxes also come with an Electronic Program Guide (EPGs) which can be used by viewers to navigate between channels, identify the currently screening program and the next program (‘now and next’) on each channel. More sophisticated EPGs can be used to set reminders for program viewing, provide a short synopsis of the content of programs, identify programming in advance for several days, search for programs by genre, and provide access to some enhancements among others. There will be better utilization of frequencies as a digital signal carries much more data than an analogue signal. Therefore, more than one channel of television programs can be broadcast at the same time.
Now to the indirect benefits of digital broadcasting.
For those who have already made the digital switch, there has been a discovery of more local free-to-air channels above the traditional ones that have graced our screens for years. There are channels catering for specific demographics such as farmers, teenagers, children etc. This, therefore, marks not only a new era of more TV content but also a new horizons for greater opportunities.
Digital TV will see the television industry seek more content which is a great opportunity for millions of young people to uplift their living. It calls for more local productions that will meet the various target audiences on the different stations. In other words, there are unending opportunities that come with digital television for creatives, actors and producers.
Since this stations will need to make money, advertising will be key for their sustainability thus opening up more opportunities in this sector. Interfacing of television with the Internet and mobile phones also presents people in these sectors with an opportunity to do more with their platforms.
These are just but a few of the benefits that come with Digital Migration. It opens up a world of possibilities for individuals as well as the economy of the country.