Thursday, April 29, Lagos switched from analog to digital TV. If your TV signal is still depending on aerial/antenna, giving you poor picture quality, the federal government through the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission has introduced set-up boxes that automatically bring those local channels and more to you in crystal-clear audio-visual format. By this lofty initiative, next time you walk into your barber’s shop or a bukka, you may be wowed by the picture quality and varieties of TV programmes available to entertain you.


Now, these are what you need to know and do as switchover takes effect:


What Digital Switch Over (DSO) Means to You

1.       If you are using an antenna only to receive and transmit the signal to your TV set, that means you are on the analog frequency and will need to a get set-up box to continue enjoying your favourite content on TV. A set-up box is simply what we call a decoder and these set-top boxes decode the signal coming from pay-TV service providers to your TV. For instance, StarTimes, GOtv and DStv decoders are set-up boxes. At the launch of DSO in Lagos yesterday, new set-up boxes offering free-to-air channels were unveiled (though to be gotten for a fee). Whilst the old order is analog terrestrial TV (antenna & TV), the new format is Digital Terrestrial TV or DTT in short form (TV, decoder and antenna). StarTimes is the pioneer DTT operator in Nigeria.


2.       FG has disclosed that you don’t need a new TV set after implementing the digital switch over. So to watch TV after the digital switchover, you need to attach a Set-Top-Box to your existing television or you can still watch TV if you have a built-in TV digital tuner. Note that while purchasing a Set-Top- Box, make sure it is certified and supports the DVB- T2 standard. StarTimes, for instance, is DVB-T2 enabled.


3. Digital TV relays crystal-clear TV sound and pictures in addition to scores of channels. Hyperbolically, you can describe it as that kind of technology that makes TV sound and pictures bring to earth the beauty of heaven. And it’s goodbye to poor TV signal and having to stress yourself now and then to manually turn/rotate your antenna in search of a signal.


4. The DSO drive by the government is commendable since it will further democratize the digital-TV sector and give aspiring content producers a platform to exhibit their creativity. Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture said the federal government envisages that film production can generate 350 to 400,000 jobs. Distribution, which entails supplying the market with set-top boxes, TVs and Dongles for the internet, will require at least 100,000 wholesalers. And advertising can create a further 50,000 jobs. All private-sector driven.




5.  TRANSMISSION: Currently, 2 Signal Distributors are licensed to carry out this function:            


a.       Integrated Television Services Ltd (ITS) is a subsidiary of NTA. Because of a pre-existing joint venture agreement between the NTA and StarTimes Group to operate a pay-TV business called NTA-Star TV Network Ltd (StarTimes Nigeria). ITS Ltd is currently riding on the existing digital transmission infrastructure of NTA-Star TV (StarTimes Nigeria). With StarTimes Nigeria’s DVB-T2 technology widely spread across the federation, ITS Ltd has a strong footing to fully digitalise the nation. StarTimes Nigeria is thus a major driver of digital switchover across the country.


b.      Pinnacle Communication Limited, licensed via an open and transparent bidding process.


6.       Which digital TV provider should I use?

The choice is right yours. Digital Switch Over brings new players to the market. If your choice is Free-to-Air (FTA) channels, then Free TV decoder is an option. Free TV decoder, a brainchild of FG’s digital migration drive, comes with an annual fee of N1500 and offers 30 channels, mainly local channels. But then, for top-flight content like premium sports and entertainment, pay-TV operators like StarTimes and GOtv will be your choice.  Both StarTimes and GOtv have lower packages with tasty content similar or higher than what the new players will offer. Let’s look at these StarTimes and GOtv offerings.

StarTimes lowest bouquet called NOVA is N900 monthly or N90 daily with 40+ channels while GOtv Smallie is N800 monthly with 30+ channels

StarTimes (NOVA)GOtv (SMALLIE)
SportsSports FocusSelect matches of Europa League, Emirates FA Cup, Copa del Rey, Bundelisga, Euro 2020, etcSS BlitzSports highlights
KiddiesJimjam, Pineapple TVJimjam
NewsNTA News 24, TVC, News CentralAljazeera
Dedicated Nollywood MoviesWAKAATI 24 hours Nollywood movies & series channel. Nil
MusicBlackdrum TVAfro Music
Local ChannelsEbonyLife, Wap TV, TVC, NTA, Channels TV, AIT, Galaxy, Views, LTV, Dadinkowa, Wazobia, Nigbati, Silverbird etcONtv Max, Spice TV, Trybe, TVC Entertainment, BCOS, Channels TV, AIT, LTV, NTA, Wap TV, Galaxy Wazobia, Silverbird etc
Foreign Movies & SeriesTDC (Turkish series); ST Kungfu (Korea and Chinese movies)24 hours Asian movies and seriesNil

So the choice is yours. Enjoy the beauty of Digital TV


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.