Home » General » Govt Imports 400 000 Set-Tops From China

Zimbabwe has started importing 400 000 television set-top boxes from China to enable locals to continue watching TV after switching from analogue to digital.

A set-top box enables the receiving and decoding of digital television broadcasts and Zimbabwe is currently in the process of installing digital transmitters as the country battles to complete broadcasting digitalisation before year-end.

Information, Media and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary Mr George Charamba on Wednesday revealed that Government had already ordered the TV set-top boxes from Huawei in China as the country geared up for digitalisation.

Speaking during a tour of digital transmission site at Buchwa peak in Mberengwa, Mr Charamba said testing of the TV set-top box was already underway to make sure Zimbabwe was not a dumping ground of poor quality equipment.

“For our people to be able to continue watching TV in their homes after we have completed the digitalisation programme, they need TV set-top boxes and we have already started importing them from China because we want them in the country long before the switch to digital broadcasting,”he said.

“We are currently testing the TV set-top boxes model that we want to use in this country because we want to set a certain standard. There will be tests and retests because we have had a situation in other countries in Africa that have switched to digitalisation and ended up being a dumping ground of sub-standard set-top boxes,” he added.

Mr Charamba said Government wanted Zimbabwe to have the right gadgets for digital broadcasting adding that the number of imported set-top boxes was four times the penetration rate of TV sets in Zimbabwe that was about 100 000.

He said the set-top boxes being imported from China would be sold at affordable prices to cater for the country’s rural population.

“We have been advised by Government that the set-top boxes that we are importing should be subsidised so that they are affordable especially to rural consumers. We are quite aware of the need to make profit, but there is a lot of money that will be made through sale of broadcast airtime once we have digitalised,” he said.

Mr Charamba said that customers who failed to pay for their licence fees and subscription fees would be switched off.

Zimbabwe is modifying and installing broadcasting transmission infrastructure at various sites as the country prepares to switch to digitalisation that will result in improved television quality and reach.

After the digitalisation programme, most areas — especially along the country’s borders — that were not accessing local broadcasting services such as radio and TV will be fully serviced.

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