StarTimes Uganda, a Chinese Digital terrestrial pay television company, last week launched affordable decoders for the Ugandan market, in a move to prepare for the upcoming switch to digital television before the June 2015 deadline.
The new cheap decoder is called the StarTimes Light, and will cost only UGX 8,000 ($ 2.8) . StarTimes Uganda customers will be required to pay an initial subscription fee of UGX 41,500, in which they will have a seven months connection of digital television services on the company’s Nova bouquet.
The marketing director of StarTimes, Aldrine Nsubuga, said the move is aimed to accelerate affordability and enable more Ugandans to enjoy digital pay television. He said ;
“We want Ugandans to make an early decision to go digital to avoid that last-minute rush. Imagine all those people without decoders lining up to buy decoders (set top boxes) on the last day; they should do it now and avoid last- minute disappointments,”
The public relations officer of StarTimes, Christine Nagujja, said the StarTimes Light decoder would enable more Ugandans access digital television services ahead of the global deadline.
“We are not looking at profits now. We want to first grow the subscriber numbers by getting as many people as we can on board. For pay television, money is not in the initial access fee, it’s from the monthly subscription fee and the more the people, the better,”
Digital broadcasting will offer television viewers better quality pictures, improve television reception signals, and also free the spectrum to be used by broadband services and more players in the market. According to the Daily Observer, it is estimated that although there are about five million television sets in Uganda, just a handful use pay television services. This has been attributed to the high initial access cost for pay television services.
Recently, Azam television managing director Simon Atuhaire come out to attribute the high costs of pay TV to high taxes, which they say stifle penetration.