Free and Pay TV Channels and Decoders in Kenya

Kenya has since shifted from the Analogue TV broadcasting platform to Digital TV. Well, this is because the world’s digital migration deadline is set 17th June 2015 and all countries had to comply by then. The digital migration process in Kenya began on December 9th 2009, when the then President, Mwai Kibaki, launched the digital TV signal in Nairobi.

The initial phase saw Kenya acquire the DVB-T technology, but the government decided to upgrade to DVB-T2 in December 2010, since it has improved security features, can support digital audio, mobile TV and can accommodate both high and standard definition.

Digital TV Receivers

Digital TV migration in Kenya does not mean that you have to pay in order to watch TV. In fact, there are 3 digital devices that you can use to receive the DVB-T2 signal in Kenya. They are:

  1. DVB-T2, MPEG4 compliant boxes –These are the free-to-air set top boxes that you can use to get access to digital television. They are so far the cheapest option and the easiest option that you can use without getting rid of your existing TV set. At present, the government has imposed zero tax on these devices, so it is expected that there will be plenty of models sold in the county soon and at cheaper prices.
  2. Integrated digital TV set (IDTvs) –These are television sets that have an inbuilt DVB-T2 tuner. Therefore, instead of purchasing an analogue TV and a DVB-T2 box, you only need to buy this TV and receive all the Free To Air (FTA) channels at no cost. The only disadvantage is that they are expensive.
  3. DVB-T2 dongles– these are digital receivers that you can connect to your Desktop computer or laptop to receive digital TV signal in Kenya.

At present, the DVB-T2 signal is available in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Eldoret, Nyeri, Kisii, Kakamega and all major towns in Kenya.

The Digital TV (Integrated Digital TV Set)

Not every LED TV that you see has a digital receiver. Although they are relatively expensive, you can get huge discounts on some of them in leading shops. If you are to buy one in the local shops, make sure that it has an internal digital TV receiver as many people tend to think that all LED TVs are digital TV ready. Some of the digital TV models that I find to be quite good are:

Also check out this list of best LED TVs under Ksh 20,000

Types of Free-To-Air set top boxes

Kenyans are misinformed about set top boxes. Many people are being tricked in to purchasing pay TV while looking for free-to-air set top boxes. There are many CA (Communications Authority) approved FTA set top boxes in the market. Here are some of them.

There are many other DVB-T2 set top boxes. However, make sure that you choose one that has been approved by CA. You can also check out this set top box that allows you to access the Internet.

Free to Air TV Digital TV Channels in Kenya

If you have a Free-to-Air decoder or a digital TV, you will receive digital signals distributed by two distributors,namely; Pan Africa Group (PANG) and Signet. Local free-to-air channels that you will watch from these distributors include:

FREE TO AIRCHANNELS INKENYA
KBC Channel 1KTNNTV
K24Citizen TVGBS TV
QTVEdu TVBunge TV
Heritage TV3 stones TV (Broadcasts in Kikuyu Language)Express TV
Kass TV( A TV channel in Kalenjin)Kiss TVFamily TV (Gospel television)
Sayare TV (gospel television)LVTV (lake Victoria TV)Gor TV
Senate TV(parliamentary proceedings)Aviation TV (gospel)Hope TV (gospel C.I.T.A.M Church)
Revival Television (Gospel)Fountain TelevisionBazaar Television (about cars-sales and shopping)
Dream TelevisionGE TV(gospel)Joy Television(gospel)
Property Television(sell of houses real estate)TV10(music)Youth Television
Millennium/MBN(gospel)EATVKingdom(gospel)
Adventist(gospel)Deliverance(gospel)Vision TV
KAABA (Muslim Religious Channel)DOVEU-TV
GOD TVTimes TVWest TV
W-TVImani TVDaystar TV

It is not guaranteed that you will get all these free TV channels in Kenya. However, if you face your aerial towards Limuru, you will receive most of them.

BAMBA TV Decoder

Bamba TV is a decoder offered by the Radio Africa group (The company behind Kiss 100, Classic FM and Kiss TV) and offers all its channels free of charge. Bamba TV offers the above named free to air channels in addition to other news, sports and entertainment channels. The good thing about Bamba TV is that all its channels are offered in High Definition. It puts GOTv and even DSTV  SD to shame when it comes to clarity. Here are all the channels exclusive to Bamba TV now:

BAMBA TVCHANNELS 
African Movie ChannelFilms on ReelsiFilms
Nollywood ChannelNollywood MoviesFreckle TV
Fashion TVJustice TVCars TV (Coming Soon)
WWWX
Al JazeeraDeustche Welle
France 24NHKWorld War Channel
Dove TVInspiration TVJC TV
Press TVTBNThe Church Channel
TVC News

According to Bamba TV Kenya, there are many other channels but it depends with your aerial’s reception strength and the direction it is facing. Apart from the  free TV channels in Kenya, you will get a ton local and BAMBA TV exclusive radio channels all free of charge. 

GoTV & Star Times Decoders

Go TV Kenya decoder has the Go TV open bouquet, which is designed for those who want free to air channels at no cost. This bouquet goes for Ksh1200 and offers only the PANG and Signet channels. The same applies for the star times free-to-air decoder.

Update: Only startimes has a free to air decoder. GoTv has since revoked free to air decoders and introduced GoTv lite that offers local and few international channels at Ksh 1,800 per year. For more information, read this post on Gotv packages.

 

Pay TV Decoders

Previously a monopoly controlled by DSTV, the pay TV segment in Kenya has benefited from the entry of many players. Your choice of a Pay TV is entirely dependent on the programs that they offer and to some, the quality of the channels. Here is a list of the pay TV providers in Kenya.

45 thoughts on “Free and Pay TV Channels and Decoders in Kenya

  1. I have a digital TV VON hotpoint 32″ but I only have access to 3 channels (citizen, ntv & inooro TV?)
    could it be because I’m using my startimes aerial? will it work with my aerial or I have to change it?

  2. Mary.A
    Why cant i watch other channels in digital tv?Digital tv has no use coz i cant watch other channels and their is no way I can pay,its better to buy GOTV,Bamba,Star times and other set box to watch other channels and pay for what I want to watch.

  3. I hav a samsung digital tv,it’s ADN decorded.Other channels like zeeworld,cnn,natgeo are there but not supported,are they supposed to be paid or how do i go bout this problem?

  4. A number of channels have been scrambled. I hope you will review and improve this. No stv channels found, a few bamba channels viewed but excellent on signet, please follow up to improve this (in Mombasa)

  5. hello I have lg61 series digital but can not get digital signal. when I search it only shows Iran, Algeria and south Africa options. what can I do to have it receive local dtv signals. thanks

  6. Shaddie
    I bought a digital tv..with several channels that I was able to view, but its like 2 weeks ago..quite a number of this channels have been locked and I can’t watch them any more..what do I do Men..this digital thing is stressing me!

  7. hi? am not able to see many channels in my digital TV, do all the digital allow external digital or u can only use the inbuilt one?

  8. hi i bought a digital tv bt most stations are locked. How do i unlock.
    the digital thing is inbiult so i did not buy a decoder

  9. hey am gladys and i bought a digital tv but i can’t unlock the international ones. please advice me what to do if i can pay for them to be unlocked and how to pay and how much. i want channels like jimjam, disney junior, zee world, cnn, and many more.

  10. My Skyworth digital tv only shows 4 channels; citizen, ntv, kbc and inooro tv. the rest (including locals such as ktn, k24 etc ) are locked. How can i unlock?

  11. Hi…bought a broom digital tv but it has been sayimg scrambled channels all through.Any advice you can give on how i should go about it and if need be to buy an aerial for it

  12. hey I have a htc digital tv with inbuilt decoder but I’m only watching local channels, how can i unlock other channels becoz they are there but showing locked.

    1. You cannot unlock the locked channels as they are paid services respective to different providers like Zuku, Startimes, Dstv and Gotv

  13. hi i have a digital usb tuner stick for my laptop how can i pay for local channels because i dont have a smart card?

  14. I have a lg43lf631v tv. Pls tell me what i need to see the FTA channels. It has the dvb-t2 tuner. And also how much would it cost? Thank u…

    1. Aisha, you just have to connect an aerial to it, go to settings, digital TV and tune it like you used to do with old TVs. If your aerial is well placed, you will capture a good number of FTA channels. Else nothing. It won’t cost you anything to watch the channels, they’re free..

  15. i wana purchase a free to air startimes decorder am in nakuru where cant i get one and whats the cost??

  16. Hi! Your article is very informative. Which is the best aerial to use with a digital TV? (One that does need to be put on top of a building probably). Thanks

  17. Millicent Adhiambo Adikinyi

    Reply

    Before i used to get so many channels like Gor tv ,Kass tv,Lake victoria channel, Lolwe channel,Eatv,Bet channel,Channel O, Kiss tv but nowadays they are nolonger there in GO TV what went wrong

  18. this is business and the purpose is making profit for the company. you have a choice to make. take or leave.

  19. Hello. If am using a digital TV but I would like to watch other channels that aren’t available to me currently, what can I do to watch those other channels?

    1. Bryan, You can only watch FTA channels on a digital TV. You won’t be able to view the other channels that aren’t available to you as they are from paid subscription providers

  20. Better ‘bamba’ decoder 1000 times than gotv..,.,.,.,.,.,where do u think I wl b getn all this 100s to pay for channels’ activation?..,.,.,whereas are offered freely somewhere else??.,.,.,wunt misuse my cash.

  21. how about the galaxy TV box? I bought it being a free to air , BT now, almost all the local channels are going “scrambled” is it a genuine TV box?? please help….

  22. Quite informative post. I have learnt a lot on what is on the market.
    I do need to pay to watch the local channels.
    So, which is the best Aerial to use with IDTv, for the best result?
    I have the power Aerial, with a wire-mesh , is it good?

  23. john kipkoech kirui

    Reply

    when are we receiving BAMBA TV signal IN South Rift kericho county.please advice we are awaiting to here from head quartos on this maters of TV signal.

  24. Most of the chanels are from western countries, And our local chanels, There are no chanels from other African countries except Nigeria?

    1. Great point. Most of these PayTv providers ignore local content. Only Zuku makes efforts on that front.

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