With the hullabaloo of digital migration having quietened a bit in the last few weeks, it may be time to take a sober look at the importance of the process, as well as what benefits will come off it. So first of all, why digital migration?
Like any other industry, the broadcasting sector is evolving over time with new developments in technology. New digital technologies have presented an opportunity to expand broadcast capabilities because now, more TV programs can be accommodated on less bandwidth. This has opened the way for a large number of potential TV broadcasters who had hitherto been denied chances to operate due to limited capacities, to be able to invest in this field. The result of this is that the field has been opened for more players and competition will hence increase in this sector. The problem of prohibitive costs of investors having to put up transmission infrastructure will also be dealt with by the digital migration process.
For those who will take advantage of it, digital migration brings a host of opportunities for the ICT industry, government, and ultimately the end user. In the end, the economy stands to gain and when that happens, the country grows and everyone stands to benefit.
So what are these benefits of digital migration?
Wider range of programming
Consumers get a wider range of programming and more freedom to choose what to watch, be it sports, education, agriculture, entertainment or health among others. Furthermore, quality of picture and sound will be much higher and we will be done with the days of grainy TV and having to climb up roofs to adjust aerials. There will also be much more choices for the consumer, like mobile TV, multimedia data, entertainment and better broadcasting applications – all on one platform.
Digital Migration will see to it that people in the creative industry get more opportunities for jobs through increased content production. There will also be a whole offshoot of businesses, for example vendors and suppliers of equipment related to the migration. As a practical example, those selling integrated TVs and set top boxes will certainly experience a bump in their sales. Broadcasters too stand to gain through infrastructure sharing which will have them making savings, as well as a robust and more competitive environment in which to conduct business.
Even the environment stands to gain. Digital broadcasting uses, less transmitters, less power and less radiation. This all goes towards conserving the environment.
Digital dividend to Government
The digital shift will free up frequencies that can be used in other areas like mobile and broadband. This will in turn reduce the digital divide and make some revenue for government through increased taxes, be they direct or indirect.
Savings for broadcasters
Digital and technology trends are moving rapidly and enabling broadcasters to use new and more efficient digital technologies to a scope that analogue TVs would not manage. For instance, an analogue TV Channel which previously occupied an 8MHz bandwidth for one analogue TV program is now able carry over 20 TV programs on the same bandwidth.
Note – Consumers have to beware of misleading information from unscrupulous vendors and suppliers who may be hell bent on selling equipment. Be aware that you do not need any specific set top box in order to receive and watch free to air TV channels. Any type of approved set top box will be able to receive all the free to air channels. Educate yourself on the set top boxes that have been approved by the authority by getting the information on www.digitalkenya.go.ke.
There is so much more information on this site, including the list of free to air channels in Kenya, and a wealth of frequently asked questions to help you demystify the digital migration process.