With the dust raised by the transition from analogue television broadcasts to digital television seemingly about to settle after the four local broadcasters who had resisted the move now back on the digital platform, Kenyans who are yet to acquire a type approved set top box will be busy identifying one that will offer the best deal.
With the majority of Kenyans being first time buyers of these gadgets, it is important to breakdown the current offers by different brands key in enabling Kenyans to make an informed decision when they walk into that electronics shop, supermarket or shopping mall. There are over 60 brands that have been type approved by the Communications Authority but the most prominent are StarTimes and Gotv so let’s focus on these two first.
The battle to win customers over has led to the two unveiling interesting offers, StarTimes decoder is currently retailing at just Ksh 199, when this offer was launched, some people thought there was one digit missing but No! the actual cost is 199 bob after which, one pays a subscription fee of Ksh 1,500 so the total spend becomes 1,699.
Gotv, on the other hand is currently retailing at Ksh 1,399 bundled with two months access to the Gotv plus bouquet. The two also have their own branded antennas (aerials) to enable customers have a clear signal that retail from Ksh 1,000 however, this is not usually a must buy as your existing analogue aerial can still work not unless you are in area with poor signal reception.
The two companies are primarily Pay TV meaning they give access to international channels at a monthly fee. There is a 300 bob price difference between the two however; the trick is in the monthly subscriptions paid.
The beauty of the StarTimes offer is that the 1,500 subscription that you pay on top of the 199 for the decoder is actually your money, with this amount, one can choose to activate the decoder for any of the four bouquets that StarTimes has to offer.
StarTimes has made things interesting by introducing a bouquet called ‘Nyota’ at a cost of just Ksh 149 bob a month! which means, once you buy your StarTimes decoder at Ksh 199, you can choose to watch international channels and the local content for 10 full months uninterrupted. Among the channels you will access on Nyota is the newly launched sports channel called ‘Sports Focus’ among other 8 entertainment and informative channels.
Basically on StarTimes, for just Ksh 1,699 you are assured of accessing up to 9 international channels and over 55 other local digital television channels for the next 10 months.
As for Gotv, after the two months are over, one will be required to pay monthly subscription fees for either of the two bouquets that Gotv has that are retailing at Ksh 599 or Ksh 849 per month. This means, in the same 10 months period you will have spent Ksh 6,200 when you choose the Ksh599 package or Ksh 8,200 if you go for the Ksh 849 package. These amounts are in consideration of the 1,400 decoder price and 8 months after the expiry of the bundled two months.
In terms of content, it is a fair balance between entertainment and information driven content, whether you are keen on getting an international feel from the pay channels available or you’re keen on exploring local channels, you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice as the two outdo each other on sports variety, music, movies, documentaries, kids and local content.
After sales service is an important consideration especially while using an electronic device for the first time. Here, StarTimes has done a better job having rolled out a 24/7 call centre that promptly responds to queries, their social media is equally very pro-active and queries are responded to fast. The company has also introduced a door to door technical service where technicians can visit you at your home and install the service. Gotv on the other hand has technicians and an automated phone service that guides you through your query which can be frustrating if you are struggling with your device and need the same sorted out.
It is important to note the country has already begun enjoying the fruits of digital migration. Unlike before where on analogue one had access to just about 8 channels in total most of which had poor reception, now there are over 55 local digital television channels and this number will continue growing as the country switches off the 3rd and the final phase of the analogue transmissions on March 30th March.
There you have it, you can now make an informed decision to ensure you take home a reliable digital television service.