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Nairobi viewers to be cut off TV as migration D-day here

Hundreds of thousands of Nairobians could fromTuesday be cut off from television unless the High Court postpones the digital migration date, yet again.

The court, at the behest of the media owners, who contested the December 13 deadline, pushed the deadline to Monday.

The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) could take advantage if the court does not issue a fresh order to shut off those who have not migrated.

It would mean families spending Christmas without TV at a time when children are at home with eyes most likely glued to cartoon programmes and other holiday time entertainment.

Nairobians were on Sunday rushing to beat the digital deadline with the middle-class already spoilt for choice.

Pay TV firms Star Times of China and GoTV, a DStv subsidiary, on Sunday pitched camp on the streets, shops and top supermarkets targeting customers whose purchases were likely to bite deep into their Christmas budgets.

CCK officials say over 600,000 Nairobians have migrated with the trend likely to accelerate this week.

This comes as survey showed majority of Kenyans could not afford the set-top boxes and were seeking postponement of the deadline to June 2014.

Star Times is offering DVB-T2 with a few subscriber channels at Sh4,999. The set offers free to air channels even without subscription, meaning you can make a one-off payment if you do not require all the channels.

The cheaper version at Sh2,999 requires regular subscription.

GoTV has a special offer of Sh3,399 loaded with two-month of GoTV Plus package.

The Digital Migration Survey 2013 by Infotrak has revealed that more than a million Nairobi residents who own a television set could be left with blank screens.

A thousand individuals surveyed by a research firm between November 27 and 30 in 17 constituencies showed 64 per cent would prefer regulator CCK to switch off the analogue signals mid next year.

“It is not their priority at the moment. Consumers are thinking about food, rent and transport and digital migration is lowest in their household budgetary priorities,” said Infotrak’s Angela Ambitho in her presentation.

The research was undertaken under four segments: The wealthy, the middle class, the lower middle class and the poor.

The wealthy, earning six-figure salaries and above, unanimously endorsed the December 13th switch-off, which 51 per cent of the middle-class concur with. On average only 27 per cent of the respondents are ready for migration.

The survey showed 53 per cent of the respondents prefer the set-top boxes to be priced at Sh1, 000 or below.

Also 58 per cent support awarding of the digital signal distribution license to media owners through competitive bidding.

Local media firms have accused the state of awarding the tenders to Chinese firms, despite the fact they have adequate capabilities to provide the same services.

The migration to digital terrestrial television (DTT) broadcasting treaty was set in 2006 by affiliate countries where June 2015 was set as the deadline.