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Watching TV need not empty your pockets

Nairobians have been grappling with the issue of digital set top boxes especially with news that they need to pay a monthly subscription.

But this need not be the case as there are more than 40 independent dealers of set top boxes approved by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK).

Some of them have even spread their wings beyond the city and may not be as aggressive in their marketing or advertising campaigns as StarTimes and GoTV.

They are also licensed by the communications regulator.

“Our digital set-top boxes are about functionality, the only money that a customer parts with is when he/she is buying the decoder,” said Stephen Kariuki, a shop attendant, Microville Solutions at Utalii House.

Independent vendors

Since they opened shop early this year, Kariuki said that they have sold more than 170 decoders, at Sh4,800 a piece.

The independent vendors’ aim is to sell the decoders with no hidden future costs.

“ I am away from my house most of the day. In the house, the maximum time I can spend watching TV is one hour and that is why I opted to buy a simple digital set top box from independent vendors,” said Leonard Mutisya. “Why should I subscribe to channels that I will never watch?” he asked.

Other prominent retailers in the city include Hbox Experience located at Crawford Business Park State House Road, Vaizzer Limited at Watedi Plaza in Buruburu Phase Five, Sinka Digital Limited at Maendeleo House and Jolini Limited in South B.

These vendors rely on word of the mouth and internet but increasingly advertising to drive sales.

Besides buying the digital boxes, there is also the alternative of buying an integrated TV, which comes with the Digital Video Broadcasting technology (DVB-T2) tuners, making it unnecessary for a person to buy the digital set top boxes.

One-off cost

In the retail shops around Nairobi, a 32-inches LED Sony is priced at Sh57,000, 70 inches 3D LED goes for Sh500,000 and LG’s and Samsung’s 32 inches go for Sh50,000 and Sh60,000 respectively.

Alternatively, there are versions of the pay TV which come without monthly fees but at a higher one-off cost.