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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- HOTPOINT 32” LED L32H100D(32-inch Tv)
- SONY BRAVIA 48” KDL48R470B LED (Quite durable and quality resolution)
- LG 39-inch Digital TV (Sleek Design and clear picture)
- SAMSUNG 46″ Full HD TV (High image resolution than any of the above)
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 AIR||CHANNELS IN||KENYA|
|KBC Channel 1||KTN||NTV|
|K24||Citizen TV||GBS TV|
|QTV||Edu TV||Bunge TV|
|Heritage TV||3 stones TV (Broadcasts in Kikuyu Language)||Express TV|
|Kass TV( A TV channel in Kalenjin)||Kiss TV||Family 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 Television||Bazaar Television (about cars-sales and shopping)|
|Dream Television||GE TV(gospel)||Joy Television(gospel)|
|Property Television(sell of houses real estate)||TV10(music)||Youth Television|
|KAABA (Muslim Religious Channel)||DOVE||U-TV|
|GOD TV||Times TV||West TV|
|W-TV||Imani TV||Daystar 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:
|African Movie Channel||Films on Reels||iFilms|
|Nollywood Channel||Nollywood Movies||Freckle TV|
|Fashion TV||Justice TV||Cars TV (Coming Soon)|
|WWWX||Al Jazeera||Deustche Welle|
|France 24||NHK||World War Channel|
|Dove TV||Inspiration TV||JC TV|
|Press TV||TBN||The Church Channel|
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.