Category Archives: Technology, mobile, internet

Be Careful When Shopping Online

The other day I was on facebook and saw a lady talk about how she was almost conned trying to sell her tablet on OLX. For those not in the know, it’s a classified site where users can buy or sell anything for free . So the lady had put up an ad of her tablet, and got a prospective buyer. They arranged for a meeting at a certain cafe in town. As she sat waiting for him, the buyer said he was a little busy so he will be passing by in a car and wanted her to take the tablet out to him on the street.

She stepped out following his directions. However, when the car the buyer was in pulled up, there were three other men inside. She immediately sensed something was wrong and this was confirmed when a man in the rear seat pulled out a gun and told her to get into the car. Luckily, it was daylight, she was near a buidling on Loita Street and she ran towards the watchmen as the the fraudsters drove away.

In another incident, my colleague’s uncle gave out a car he was selling to a potential buyer to test drive it. He drove off away and hasn’t been seen since. Goes without saying, you don’t let anyone (least of all someone you met online) test drive your car without you in it. You should also bring backup. Don’t be too trusting.

I’ve also heard tales of people who copy others’ ads, especially cars, complete with the same pictures, only the price is lower. Then they tell you the car is Nakuru (if you’re in Nairobi), just send  3K for fuel. And that’s the last you hear of them.

These incidents are many, just as there are many successful cases of online transactions. Just recently, my bro and I got a good deal on a laptop. With the recent implementation of VAT on laptops, it’s hard to find a 4GB RAM, 250 GB Hard disk, Core i3 (minimum specs) laptop for under Ksh. 40,000. So we went to OLX and searched around and finally got a seller of a new Lenovo laptop for around 38K.

So here is my basic guide when shopping online:

  • Meet the seller/buyer in a secure, public location of your choice. A cafe/restaurant is good because it’s indoor and it’s a public place. If something goes wrong, plenty of witnesses and the person has less time to run for it so choose a crowded restaurant.
  • Come with a backup. A reliable friend, relative.. they can inspect an item with you and agree if it’s worthe the price
  • Never exchange money beforehand. Don’t even send money for ‘transport/fare’. It is better to exchange the item for money at the same time.
  • When you buying a car or land, whether on OLX or any other market place, you need to confirm ownership at the relevant authorities (KRA/Land commission).
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This is the golden rule of all transactions.If it's too good to be true, it is
  • If it’s too good to be true, it is
  • Do not share your financial information for example bank details, pin, e.t.c Put up only minimal personal information needed for the buyer/seller to contact you: a reliable phone number.
  • Don’t accept a cheque payments. Checks bounce. Cash for goods

For more tips, check out this link.

 

flying car

Introducing…. The Flying Car!

Considering the bad state of our roads, I think the Nairobi governor Evans Kidero can be more futuristic (and having a twitter handle is not ‘modern’, twitter was started 7 years ago!). Instead of investing money in roads whose maintenance we can’t seem to afford, let’s forget roads altogether and invest in making sure flying cars take off the ground.

No, it’s not a future dream. Google has built driver-less cars. Planes have been flying for centuries. So what is to stop us from making a flying car? No technology isn’t the limit, but cost is.

I was reading the BBC’s Future articles when I stumbled on the one about flying cars. Part drone, part car. And it doesn’t look too far off when you think about it. No more traffic, no more putting up with bad roads.  The flying car is being researched by Cummings, an Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronauticsand Engineering Systems at MIT. And there are other players trying to create a flying car, like MIX Aerospace.

 

An MIX illustration of a flying car

An MIX illustration of a flying car

A flying car will be the solution to our road problems in Africa, although tyre manufacturers will not be too happy about this. Seeing as they love marketing African roads with their ads.

I hope the flying car becomes a reality in my lifetime.

 

P.S.

Speaking of BBC-featured future machines, I don’t care too much for the jetpack though, it looked rather bulky and cumbersome. I’d prefer the iron suit Tony Stark wears in Iron Man. I hope the jetpack design can finally come down to this!

iron man suit

Iron Man Suit

The Wayback Machine to The Rescue

Regular readers will know I almost lost my blog. Rather, the contents of the blog. It’s ironical because I am in the business of telling people and organizations to backup, and here I was caught pants down.  I had only backed up posts up to September 2013. Dear readers, kindly have a weekly backup (or monthly depending on how often you blog) of your content. Anything can happen.

So then I had to recover posts from between September 2013- March 2014. 6 months of work. That is when a friend pointed me towards The Wayback Machine. The Web Archive that saves every page on the internet (that always crawlers) as it appeared on the day of saving.

The easy to user interface of the wayback machine.

The easy to user interface of the wayback machine.

 

So when I typed “http://www.savvykenya.com/2013/09/” the default WordPress url for September 2013 archives, I got the result of exactly how my blog appeared that month. By playing around with post urls, monthly urls etc, I have been able to recover most of my content. It’s been painstaking work, but so are all labours of love.

 

The wayback machine's September archive of my blog

The wayback machine’s September archive of my blog

 

You can use the Wayback Machine not only to view back old pages, but also to repair broken links on worpdress or any other site, and also for programmers, there is an API for building any relevant tools you’d like. You can also submit a page for future reference, because I noted that for pages with lower amounts of traffic, they are saved less frequently.

What About Google Cache?

I tried to use Google cache but realized that it didn’t have any of my old posts. It seems Google caches mostly the main url (savvykenya.com) rather than the specific for a post (e.g savvykenya.com/2013/09/04). Secondly, the caches are temporary, and at the point of search. The Wayback Machine has various versions of the same url, depending on the date it was captured. For example, it will save “savvykenya.com/2013/09″ on a monthly basis, and store all the versions for each of the months captured. I don’t know if that makes sense. So Google cache didn’t and couldn’t work for me.

So lost a page recently, or getting a 404 error? Try the Wayback Machine.

s5-cover

Why Should You be Excited by the Samsung Galaxy S5?

In February, the Samsung Galaxy S5 was launched in Barcelona, Spain, during the Mobile World Congress. The S5 follows in the path of the S4, S3, S2 and S before it.

This time, Samsung didn’t go all out to create the fastest, biggest, most radical Android device. I think we’ve really reached a limit in terms of things like how fast the processor is, how much memory the device can has, how clear and sharp the screen is etc. Because really, beyond a certain point, you stop noticing the difference between a quad core snapdragon vs tegra 3 processor!

So with the S5, Samsung added a few niche features and improved some existing ones. Here’s what I am looking forward to:

1. Waterproof and Dustproof

The phone is waterproof up to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes. Enough time to impress your friends by dipping it in a glassful of beer :-D

2. Fingerprint reader

There is now a fingerprint reader to unlock your phone so you don’t have to worry about entering the pass code 100 times a day like I do now. Besides, everyone around me now knows the code so sometimes I wonder why I continue to torture myself so (entering the code 100+ a day!)

3. Heart rate sensor

Basically, you can now check your heart rate  by placing your finger on a sensor located at the back of the phone. This is in addition to the usual pedometer, diet and exercise recordings, that come with its S Health app.

4. Improved Camera

Well, the camera is now 16 MP, up from the 13MP in the Galaxy S4. You can also record your videos in 4K -format, that’s like the next big thing in the display world. All you need to know is that your images and videos will look better with the improved camera features!

5. Improved design of the cover, a bit bigger than S4

The S5 is a few inches wider and longer than the S4. However, it’s still just as thin as its predecessor. The faux-leather plastic casing is more solid and makes the phone feel expensive, which it is (or will be when it’s available in the mass market from April 11th).

In addition to the black and white covers, the S5 now comes in blue, and gold. I would love the blue one.

 

The Samsung Galaxy S5

The Samsung Galaxy S5

6. Kid Mode

It’s not just my son who loves playing with (and biting) my phone, but any other kids who come into contact with it. The kid mode allows kids to mess up with kid-apps, so that you don’t have to worry about them making accidental calls or deleting unbacked-up documents and pictures.

Samsung kids mode

Samsung kids mode

7.  Download Booster

This will combine wi-fi with your 3G network to give you the best of both worlds for faster download speeds. Will this solve my perennial issues with internet speeds? I hope so!

8. Battery Life

 Samsung bragged that the Galaxy S5 can endure up to 10 hours of web browsing, and up to 12 hours of HD video playback, which is impressive . There is a new Ultra Power Saving Mode, that makes the display show images in black and white, shutting down all processes and connections it deems unnecessary, which should make the phone last longer when your battery is low. This will allow you to make 10% of your battery juice last for 24 hours. Hmmm.. can’t wait to try it out.

9. The Gear 2

Just like Note III was launched and paired with the Gear 1, I am looking forward to the improved version of the Gear. There are three versions: Gear 2, Gear Neo, and Gear Fit. There are also rumours of a Gear which could be a standalone device with its own SIM-card. The possibilities.

The Galaxy Gear 2 is yet to be launched

The Galaxy Gear 2 is yet to be launched

 

10. The Satisfaction of Having the Latest Gadget in the Market

This never gets old. :-)

Vote Now for Your Favorite Kenyan Blog!

The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) has today unveiled the nominees for the 2014 BAKE Kenyan Blog Awards. The Awards reward bloggers that post on a regular basis, have great and useful content presented in a creative and innovative format.
The nominees were selected by a panel of judges comprising of bloggers and media personalities.

The release of the nominees list begins the voting phase of the awards.

vote300px

Voting will run from 3rd March 2014 and end on April 30th 2014. You can vote for your favourite blogs through www.blogawards.co.ke/vote

Here is a list of the nominees in the various categories.

Best Technology Blog
1. http://www.moseskemibaro.com/
2.http://emmanuelchenze.com/
3. http://techtrendske.wordpress.com/
4. http://techmoran.com/
5. http://www.kvrop.com/

Best Photography Blog
1. http://stevekitots.wordpress.com/
2. http://benkiruthi.com/
3. http://mutuamatheka.co.ke/blog/
4. http://allangichigi.com/star/
5. http://www.gallerymichaelkhateli.blogspot.com

Best Creative Writing Blog
1. http://www.bikozulu.co.ke
2. http://www.mydeardoris.wordress.com
3. http://mkatenusu.wordpress.com/
4. http://www.donotfeedthebloggers.com
5. http://michaelngigi.wordpress.com

Best Business Blog
1. http://www.bankelele.co.ke/
2. http://sokodirectory.com/
3. http://www.kenyamanual.co.ke/
4. http://simplytakeaction.com/business/
5. http://inspiringgreatness001.wordpress.com

Best Food Blog
1. http://leotunapika.wordpress.com
2. http://healthylivingkenya.wordpress.com
3. http://happymealskenya.blogspot.com/
4. http://www.pikachakula.com
5. http://www.yummy.co.ke/

Best Environmental/Agricultural Blog
1. http://emmiekio.blogspot.com
2. http://rockesci.co.ke
3. http://www.panaac.org/blog
4. http://youngagrochampions.blogspot.com
5. http://www.farmingafrika.com

Best Fashion/Beauty/Hair/Style Blog
1. http://www.thisisess.com
2. http://www.kurlykichana.com
3. http://luciamusau.com/
4. http://www.ourstylekenya.com
5. http://nanciemwai.com/

Best Politics Blog
1. http://www.anjeru.com
2. http://kenopalo.com/
3. http://www.brainstorm.co.ke/
4. http://www.shitemi.com

Best New Blog
1. http://confessionsofayoungmummy.wordpress.com
2. http://www.magunga.com
3. http://www.tdsblog.com
4. http://kenyansnapshot.wordpress.com
5. http://www.wendywahito.com

Best Corporate Blog
1. http://crownpaints.co.ke/blog
2. http://www.olivia.co.ke/blog
3. http://storymojaafrica.wordpress.com
4. http://www.ihub.co.ke/blog
5. http://blog.batakenya.com

Best Topical Blog
1. http://www.mummytales.com
2. http://blog.inkedbiker.co.ke
3. http://blog.gigwapi.com
4. http://www.lizlenjo.com
5. http://datascience.co.ke

Best Sports Blog
1. http://futbolchiqa.wordpress.com
2. http://www.michezoafrika.com
3. http://www.superfoota.co.ke
4. http://www.ilfabiano.wordpress.com
5. http://www.futaa.com

Best Entertainment/Lifestyle Blog
1. http://www.ghafla.com
2. http://www.niaje.com
3. http://www.afritorial.com
4. http://owaahh.wordpress.com
5. http://actors.co.ke

Best Travel Blog
1. http://www.kenyatalii.com
2. http://www.safari254.com
3. http://www.hazelvint.com
4. http://ecotourismdemystified.com

Best Health Blog
1. http://fitnessmovementke.tumblr.com
2. http://wambuiwaithaka.com
3. http://strengtheninghealthsystems.wordpress.com
4. http://sitawa.blogspot.com

Best County Blog
1. http://uasingishudecides.wordpress.com
2. http://www.nairobicityguide.net
3. http://county-411.com/baringonews
4. http://www.mombasahub.net
5. http://www.amazingkisumu.co.ke/blogs

Best Kenyan Blog
1. http://mutuamatheka.co.ke/blog
2. http://mydeardoris.wordpress.com
3. http://bikozulu.co.ke
4. http://pikachakula.com
5. http://nanciemwai.com

MOBILE EAST AFRICA CONFERENCE – 12TH & 13TH FEBRUARY

The Mobile East Africa is a conference that brings together stakeholders in the mobile industry in Kenya (telecommunication companies, information technology companies, entrepreneurs in the tech space etc) for a wholesome discussion on the current trends, the past and the future of the mobile space. Formerly, this conference was known as Mobile Web East Africa and is in its 3rd year running.

Mobile East Africa 2014 is taking place at the Southern Sun Mayfair Nairobi, Kenya on February 12th through 14th. The event will kick off with a ‘Leaders of Mobile‘ keynote session featuring executives from IBM, SAP, Airtel and Safaricom. Former Permanent Secretary of Information and Communication Dr. Bitange Ndemo will also be joining the panel, which will analyse the future progress of the mobile ecosystem in East Africa.

World-renowned mobile expert Tomi Ahonen has been confirmed to deliver a special address during the Mobile East Africa 2014 main conference on 12th & 13th February, as well as a dedicated full-day workshop on Friday, February 14th. Forbes ranked him as “the world’s most influential expert in mobile” in 2012; Mr. Ahonen has spoken at more than 300 conferences in over 60 countries and his cumulative audience totals over 100,000 people. He is the author of 12 bestselling books on mobile and digital communities and consults to Fortune 500 companies around the globe, helping to define their mobile strategies.

The other speakers at the conference include Jumia Kenya, iHub, Virtual City, Bongo Live, Ghafla!, Smile Tanzania, Bozza, Every1Mobile, FrontlineSMS, Praekelt, Sponge, KINU Innovation Hub and Zilojo. Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Omidyar Network, MTech, and Google are just a few of the many companies sending representatives to the event.

You can register for the conference here.

bake_logo

KENYA BLOGGERS AWARDS 2014 LAUNCHED

The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) has announced the dates for its third annual Kenyan Blog Awards. The awards reward bloggers that post on a regular basis, have great and useful content presented in a creative and innovative format.

The 2014 BAKE Kenyan Blog Awards will see the addition of two new categories, a “Best Health Blog” category and a “Best County Blog” category. This will raise the total number of categories from the current 15 to 17.

To submit blogs into the competition, bloggers and fans of bloggers should visit blogawards.co.ke/submit.

The inaugural BAKE Blog Awards was held in 2012. It rewarded bloggers in 14 categories; best technology, photography, creative writing, business, food, agriculture, fashion, politics, sports, general and corporate blogs as well as giving out awards for the “tweeps” of the year. 300 blogs were submitted and 10,000 people voted. The gala event to award the winners was held on 5th May 2012 at Nairobi Serena.

The second edition of the awards were held in early 2013. It rewarded bloggers in 15 categories. ‘Lifestyle/Entertainment’, ‘Blog of the Year’ & ‘Travel Blog’ were added as categories after removing the two twitter categories i.e. Best Individual Tweep & Best Corporate Tweep.

Journalist Larry Madowo with former ICT Board CEO Paul Kukubo at the 2013 BAKE Awards

Journalist Larry Madowo with former ICT Board CEO Paul Kukubo at the 2013 BAKE Awards

 

Over 500 blogs were submitted and 50,000 people voted. The gala event to awards the winners was on 4th May 2013 at Southern Sun Mayfair Nairobi.

The Blog Awards timeline will be as follows

1. Submissions

From January 10th 2014 to February 10th 2014, we will be accepting submissions in the competition’s 17 categories.

2. Judges Choose the Best 5

From February 12th 2014 to February 28th 2014 judges comprised of bloggers and media experts will decide on the 5 blogs that advance to the next round in all 17 categories. These are the blogs that will be in the running to win a BAKE Kenyan Blog Award.

3. Online voting

The ballot box will be opened on March 1st 2014 and it will close on April 30th 2014. We will be limiting votes to one time per category.

4. And the winner is…

The winners will be announced at a gala event on May 3rd 2014.

For more information on the Blog Awards, kindly visitblogawards.co.ke. Head over there and nominate your favorite blog!

Keep it here for more details on the event.

Note III coloured cases

MY GALAXY NOTE III EXPERIENCE – A PERSONAL REVIEW

The thing about having the biggest, latest gadget in the market is that you start taking it for granted. It’s almost like a new spouse, in the beginning you love and appreciate every little thing about them, a few years (or months) down the line and you start taking the other person’s effort for granted. The privileges become rights. It’s like that with a gadget. With the Note 3, you forget to appreciate the screen size until forced to watch a video on a small phone, say Galaxy S4 or even the tinier iPhone 5s (sorry couldn’t help myself, what’s with the ‘s’ stuff?).

Galaxy Note III v iPhone 5

Galaxy Note III v iPhone 5

After about two months in my possession, I am now used to the huge size of the Note III and no longer fret about the impossibility of typing with one hand. Here are my 10 favorite things about the Note III, in no particular order:

1. The Attention

The looks of awe, envy and related adjectives that one gets when people admire their phone. They ask, is that a Note 2? And you balk and say, no no.. this is THE note III. But really, it’s awesome having the biggest phone around town with a matching Gear [link]. Watch your friends, family, colleagues, relatives, neighbours, clients (and everybody) get impressed and ask you to show them the features and what you can do with the Note and Gear.

2. The Spen (S-Pen) and S-Note application

The trademark of the Samsung Note series is the stylus, otherwise known as the S-Pen. There are cool tricks you can do with it, for instance if you need to quickly write something down, you just click on the screen by pressing a button the pen. The screen then becomes an editable image where you can jot down a quick note.

You can also grab an area of the screen as a snapshot for illustrating something. With S-Note, you can create memos that incorporate images, videos, links, and actions (otherwise known as action memos) such as reminders to send emails etc.

Creating an action memo with Note III

Creating an action memo with Note III

When going into meetings, I no longer carry a pen and notebook, not when I have a far more impressive and efficient way of taking notes. Besides with handwriting recognition, you can answer texts, emails by writing on the screen with S-Pen.

Direct input with S-Pen

Direct input with S-Pen

Let’s not forget the sketches one can do when you have artistic talent. Need to illustrate a point to someone, draw them a rough map (or include a snapshot of the map from Google maps?). Do it with the S-Pen and S-Note.

3. Taking Photos

The Camera got upgraded to 13MP, with a host of other enhancements. The modes for taking photos include:

Note 3 camera modes

Note 3 camera modes

    • auto (automatic settings for the lazy)
    • sports (for fast moving objects)
    • surround shot (360 degree panorama)
    • Eraser (saves the best picture after erasing moving objects from 5 consecutive pictures)
    • rich tone for enhancing the realism of pictures by increasing contrast of light and colour
    • golf (you’ve got to see it to believe it)
    • animated photo (picture includes animated parts)
      drama (several shots of a moving objects and merges them into one)
    • sound shot (picture includes a few seconds of background noise)
    • best face (for that perfect selfie)
    • best photo (the best picture from a series of consecutive shots)
    • beauty face (enhances the facial features when taking a photo)

And despite all these, I still take shaky, blurry and poorly lit pictures. I surely suck as a photographer on most days.

However, if you have an interest in photography and Instagram, you can never go wrong with the Note III. Except if you have to take photos at night.. it doesn’t do too well at night even with the flash.

The video is capable of recording in HD.

There is a front camera for selfies. And you can have a dual shot (both front and back cameras at the same time.)

4. Reading

I have a resolution to read more books this year. I have contemplated buying a kindle but when I look at the size of the screen I have with the Note 3, really there is no point in adding to the weight of gadgets I am carrying around. The screen is perfect for reading, you can choose reading mode, you can adjust brightness, you can choose night mode depending on the app you are using for your books. Here is my current bookshelf.

Aldiko Book reader bookshelf

Aldiko Book reader bookshelf

5. Videos and Viewing Photos

Want to catch up with the latest video from Miley Cyrus twerking? I kid! The horror, I know.. who would want to subject themselves to that? Bored in the car waiting for someone, plug in your headphones and watch an episode of Breaking Bad. You will appreciate the screen size then.

6. Playing games

Start with Temple Run and you will be hooked. Are you currently addicted to Candy Crush saga on your Galaxy Y? Well, if you upgrade to the beautiful and big screen that comes with the Note III, say goodbye to sleep!

7. The Cool Stuff- air gestures, smart scroll, smart stay

Wave in the air to swipe the screen. Hover with your finger to preview an email. When reading, slowly move your eyes and the book auto-scrolls, no need to flip pages. As long as you are looking at the screen it will not go off, only going off when you look away. These features I admit that I don’t use as much, but they are worth showing off to others. Others include screen mirroring, NFC, S-Beam etc. All the cool stuff in S4 is also in Note III.

The shortcut to the settings of the cool stuff :)

The shortcut to the settings of the cool stuff :)

8. Battery Life

When I am not using my phone, the internet is off, the GPS is off, all applications are terminated etc. I actively conserve power. When I had a Samsung Galaxy S4, I charged it every day. With the Note III and the same intensity of use, I can go two days without charging it. Bottomline, it can take you two days. But it’s a smartphone with a huge screen and a demand for the 3G+. Carry your charger always.

9. Design, Samsung User Interface and Apps

Above and beyond what Android 4.3 Jelly Bean offers, Samsung offers Note III users the TouchWiz Nature UX that is optimized specifically for the Note. This lends a glossy appeal for the icons and menu.

The Note III looks the price you bought it for! Some friends were complaining how the Note II looked cheap with the plastic finish, but Note III really looks classy with the faux-leather casing.

The back of the Note 3

The back of the Note 3

Various colours available too!

Note 3 colours

Note 3 colours

And not only do you have access to the Google Play market, you can also access the Samsung Hub store for apps, books, and other media.

The Samsung Hub

The Samsung Hub

10. The Connection with the Gear

The pictures say it all. It’s like Bonnie and Clyde, you need to get the Gear to complement the Note III. Read my review of the Gear.

Note III with S-Pen and Gear..

Note III with S-Pen and Gear..

For more detailed reviews of the Note 3, check out the review onGSM Arena and engadget.

Cost
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will set you back by about Ksh. 75,000 (there is no absolute price, depends on where you buy it); and the Gear costs around Ksh 25,000-30,000.

NationHela-642x336

NATIONHELA – MORE THAN JUST A CARD

If you have read any of my previous posts about Nation Hela, you will understand that it’s not just about a card for sending or receiving money conveniently to and from anywhere in the world; it has an online money platform that enables to carry out various online transactions and USSD option for mobile transactions from your phone.

 Nation Hela   More Than Just a CardNation Hela card

USSD Options

If you are a registered card holder of Nation Hela, then you can access the USSD menu by dialing *348#, enter your PIN and you can access the options below:

 

 Nation Hela   More Than Just a CardUSSD Nation Hela Menu. Image from http://mulikamwizi.com

.

 

For paying bills, these are the accounts you can pay bills to:

 Nation Hela   More Than Just a CardPaying bills through nation hela mobile. Image from mulikamwizi.com

Online Platform
Once you are logged into the Nation Hela website, you can:

  • Send money to a Nation Hela card holder or to a holder’s bank account
  • Make online payments with your Nation Hela Visa card number

Sign up at your nearest DTB Bank or Nation Hela agents at selected Nakumatt supermarkets.

digitalbox

DIGITAL (TV) MIGRATION – WHAT NEXT?

It has certainly been an eventful Christmas as far as the Migration to Digital TV in Kenya is concerned. In my previous posts, I have covered topics such as why the migration; the benefits of digital TV; how to migrate and other FAQs. Today I will do an update to summarize where we are so far:

2006

The International Telecommunications Union sets the date for the whole world to migrate to digital TV by 2015. The government of Kenya decides to do it earlier. CCK has set various deadlines over the years, but the players in the analog TV field together with the Consumer Federation of Kenya have gone to court and had the dates postponed. Time and again.

The State of Affairs in 2013

In order for digital TV to be broadcast, there have to be digital TV signal distributors who are licensed by CCK. At the moment there are two companies licensed to distribute digital signals in Kenya (not to be confused with Pay TV companies). These are Signet which is majorly owned by KBC and Pan Africa Group (PANG) which is a sister company to Star Times. The licensed Pay TV companies put together bouqets of channels to sell to customers, and give this bouquet to either Signet or PANG to distribute countrywide. The local media houses (KTN, NTV, Citizen TV) also wanted a license to distribute digital TV signals, after all.. they have invested in infrastructure for signal distribution countrywide. However, they made a mistake in their license bid and hence don’t have a license to date. That is why they are in court.

CCK went ahead and set the date for digital Migration which was to be done in phases: Nairobi and its environs 13th December 2013, followed by Mombasa, Malindi, Nyeri, Meru, Kisumu, Webuye, Kisii, Nakuru and Eldoret on March 30 2014 and the rest of the country by June 30th 204. This was to enable Kenyans to start enjoying the benefits of Digital TV, we don’t always have to wait for the last minute, or do we?

2013 Deadline Postponed; and then Postponed Again
The local media houses went to court to hear their case against CCK (why they were denied a license) heard. A high court postponed the deadline from 13th December to 23rd December so the court could have time to decide the suit. The high court dismissed the suit on 23rd December and CCK set new dates for Nairobi switch off to 26th December.

Meanwhile as CCK set the new date, the media houses went to the court of appeal to well, appeal the high court decision. However, it would not make sense to let the digital migration continue while the case was still in court by the main players in Kenya’s TV industry. Therefore the court of appeal judge set the date of determination to February 6th 2014 when the ruling on the case will be made. Meanwhile, the analog signals are back on air till then.

So What Now?

Now we wait for the ruling by the court of appeal in February. However, it does not hurt to go digital as digital frequencies are already in the air.

Here is what to do:

    • Learn as much as possible about digital Migration. A good place to start is the Digital Kenya website.
A set top box

A set top box

 

  • You will need a set top box to watch Digital TV. You can get a free to air digital box that you make no monthly payments whatsoever, just like buying a DVD player. With Signet’s broadcasting, many of the channels you are currently watching on your TV will be available. You don’t have to get Pay TV (Star Times, GoTv) but you can get decoders from these companies that are also free-to-air, no monthly payments. Here is a list of CCK-approved set top boxes for your selection. Be prepared.
  • When the ruling is given on February 6th, whether to postpone till the final deadline (June 2015) or whether CCK will set new dates yet again, digital TV is really for your benefit as an end consumer. The current “analog” TV stations are the ones who will suffer losses, but as an end consumer, digital TV will enable you to have clearer signals, access to more channels and content etc only by purchasing a set top box. Don’t do it for the government, do it for yourself.
  • If you are already using Zuku TV (cable TV) or DSTv (satellite) you are already on digital TV. Forget that misinformed Business Daily article that said viewers of Zuku and DSTv need new decoders. You have nothing to worry about, continue enjoying digital TV