A consortium made up of Kenya’s three leading media houses – Nation Media Group (NMG), Royal Media Services (RMS) and Standard Group (SG) – have placed orders to import over 150,000 digital TV set-top boxes that are set to retail for as low as Kshs 2,000 each.
This comes after the three media houses were awarded a license to carry their own digital signal. The Internet-ready set-top boxes are expected to arrive in the country in the next three weeks.
The devices are also set to offer consumers cheaper free-to-air digital converters in the market.
“These set-top boxes will be quite different from what is already there in the market. The devices will be sold at a one-off price of between Kshs 2,000 and Kshs 2,500,” said the NMG board chairman Wilfred Kiboro on Monday.
According to Business Daily, the three companies, under the Africa Digital Network (ADN) consortium, also disclosed that a million more of the devices are expected end of March.
ADN says the customised set-top boxes will allow consumers to access the consortium’s free-to-air channels and also access add-ons such as Internet services.
ADN’s set-top boxes are expected to shake up the Kenyan television space at a time when broadcasting is shifting from analogue to digital signals by the global deadline of June this year.
Together, the consortium dominates Kenya’s media scene, controlling 87 per cent TV market share and 80 per cent radio audiences.
ADN is currently awaiting a Supreme Court hearing on its application for more frequencies and more time to import the set-top boxes and set up the digital broadcasting infrastructure.