TV10 embraces digital migration

With a digital broadcast, one is guaranteed sharper images, as a digital broadcast is immune to obstructions like bad weather and physical impediments like hills. All one needs is a decoder and a normal, indoor antenna, writes Moses Opobo

With a digital broadcast, one is guaranteed sharper images, as a digital broadcast is immune to obstructions like bad weather and physical impediments like hills. All one needs is a decoder and a normal, indoor antenna, writes Moses Opobo.

TV10 HAS BEEN testing its signals for a while now. Since February, to be precise. What is TV10 though, someone could be wondering. Actually, many people have asked this question countless times already. It is obvious that, as of now, more people have heard of TV10 than have had a glimpse of its broadcasts.

Which begs for getting acquainted with some basic facts about the station. For starters, it is a sister company to Radio10, a local FM station. Actually, the two now share the tagline “Simply Rwandaful”. 

Plus, it is the first private TV channel in the country. Indeed, the ongoing buzz about the station has got everything to do with this fact. It is also the first TV to embrace the much-touted “digital migration”. This is basically a move from analogue to digital broadcast technology.

With a digital broadcast, one is guaranteed sharper images, as a digital broadcast is immune to obstructions like bad weather and physical impediments like hills. All one needs is a decoder and a normal, indoor antenna.

Yes, to watch TV10 will only be possible for those that will be in possession of these gadgets. No, actually by end of this year, you will need a decoder to watch any other local TV channel, including TVR.

In 2006, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) set June 17, 2015 as the deadline for all counties to migrate from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting technologies.

Rwanda was lauded for being ahead of schedule, and will go fully digital by the end of this year, according to RURA, the national regulator.

Perhaps the only relief comes in the fact that there won’t be any monthly subscription to worry about.  You only get to pay once, for a decoder, and then it is free all the way. And it is the reason behind the station’s limited penetration so far. Currently, only a handful of people in Kigali own the decoders, taken from a batch the station shipped in as samples. 

The station’s Administration, Procurement and Logistics manager, Bundi Erick Walker has some good news though; a large consignment of decoders will be shipped in mid-April, and should be on sale beginning May. It is in May that the station will launch officially, although details about this are being kept close to heart.

It would appear that the delayed launch is a deliberate move by management, and a smart move at that. The station is putting together extensive footage of the 1994 genocide, which it will broadcast throughout the month of April, which is National Genocide Memorial month. By the time the month winds down, these broadcasts are likely to have whipped up enough buzz for the station’s May launch.

Speculation has been rife about the station’s imminent official launch, right from February when it launched its test broadcasts. This same speculation has been doing its rounds since last year, when word started seeping in from Radio 10 about an upcoming sister TV station. Well, the wait seems to be nearing its end, as the station makes the final maneuvers ahead of launch date.

When I checked into their offices on Friday afternoon, I found cameras set up at various places, with trainee presenters taking their turns before them. Inside another room, more presenters and news anchors received tutelage from a team of Indian instructors. Many of them are coming in from the sister broadcaster, Radio10.

In 2006, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) set June 17, 2015, as the deadline for all counties to migrate from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting technologies.

Rwanda has been lauded for being ahead of schedule and will go fully digital early this year according to RURA.

In an earlier interview, Tele10 proprietor, Eugene Nyagahene expressed optimism in the TV industry in Rwanda.

“The potential of development for TV in this country is huge, and the industry could create thousands of jobs for young Rwandans. The future is promising as long as both private and public sectors join efforts to promote this new activity,” he said.

Cédric Pierre –Louis, the station’s innovation manager says; “Rwanda is a fantastic country that is moving forward faster than many others on the development path. Private sector, infrastructure and ICT are some of those sectors that make Rwanda the vibrant, dynamic and promising land it is today. However, the media sector, especially TV has not yet followed the boom in the economy on the path of growth. He contends further that “Rwandans have been waiting too long for a change, expecting a more affordable alternative to the several pay-TV bouquets available on the market, as well as something to compliment the state broadcaster.”

His says that their editorial line will be premised on four pillars; Business, entertainment/culture, sports, and news. The station will broadcast in Kinyarwanda, English and French.

TIP OF THE ICEBERG

TV 10 is only the first among a string of expected new players in the market. 
According to the Media High Council (MHC), many more companies have expressed interest in acquiring broadcasting licenses, including Family TV, which is owned by a local company, Beat Entertainment.

Other regional players like Kenya’s Nation Media Group and Citizen TV, Tanzania’s EATV, the Caribbean-Christian Lighthouse TV, and another local channel, Contact TV have shown interest in joining the fray.

 

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