Thursday, March 3, 2011

Analog to Digital Broadcasting Switch in Kenya


Kenya’s deadline for migrating to Digital broadcasting is 2012 three years before the global deadline 2015. Kenya is expected to beat its own deadline after launching the first phase of its migration at a cost of Sh200 million. It will become the second African country to migrate after South Africa.

The launch which was commissioned by President Mwai Kibaki took place at the Digital Video Broadcasting Terrestrial Centre at KBC studios. Digital broadcasting will end an era of analog transmission where Kenyans will experience better quality transmission and reception of their favorite TV channels.
President Kibaki said that the government would waive import tax on equipment that would be needed to facilitate the migration. Waiving tax on these equipments will guarantee their affordability to Kenyans. In order to receive digital TV channels on traditional analog television sets, you will need a set-top box to convert the signals.

There are several advantages that come with adoption of digital broadcasting for instance the reception quality of images and sound is superb. Transmission of TV channels via digital broadcasting is more efficient as more channels can be transmitted via a single frequency thereby utilizing the radio frequency spectrum. This type of transmission is referred to as Single Frequency Network (SFN).

The most used digital broadcasting transmission standard is called; Coded Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex, the number of carriers in DVB-T ranges from 2k to 8k with many the latest standards having tens of thousands of carriers. This means that by using a single frequency network, the number of frequencies needed to cover arbitrary territory is reduced.

 Kenya is experiencing a high demand from investors to get frequency broadcasting allocations that it could not meet on the current analog broadcasting platform. However by launching digital broadcasting system the country will have more frequencies necessary for investment in the sector.

Currently, CCK has received 60 TV applications for licenses and more than 150 for FM radio. Digital broadcasting will now make it possible to award new licenses and increase choice. The PS said that the technological advancement was timely as it had come at a time when Kenya had rolled out its fibre optic cables set to advance the ICT sector.

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