SunPoynt Solar TV: affordable digital TV to Africans off the grid

Technology & Convergence

Poynting, South Africa’s largest wireless antenna designer and producer, has made another leap forward for Africa with the development of SunPoynt TV.

The antenna company’s digital TV business unit manager, Eduard Walker was among the team from Poynting at the AfricaCom/AfricaCast conference in Cape Town which was held during November 2013, where they had the SunPoynt solar TV kit on show.

SunPoynt TV offers packaged wireless television connectivity with solar charging for rural Africa that can be run on a comparatively low 12V DC charge as opposed to 220 Volt AC.

The SunPoynt TV consists out of a 19" HD ready LED television set, solar panel, 2 LED lights, a universal cell phone charger, a solar charge controller and the necessary cables and brackets with a self-installation kit. SunPoynt TV is compatible with any 12V decoder.

In South Africa it includes a set top box and digital television antenna. All of this runs off a minimum 20Ah car battery (which can be new or used) and promises 6 hours of entertainment, lights and charging per night.

The expected lifetime of the included components are 15 years for the solar panel; 25,000 hours for the light bulbs; and 12 years for the controller. The solar panel also comes with a 5 year guarantee.

The end user price for the 12VSunPoynt TV is close to $370/276 Euros, while other products offer less, require 220V and can be up to double the price.

SunPoynt TV further offers an easy installation method. “We did some creative thinking onpackaging and included an easy way to position and align the solar panel using a compass provided with the pack. We are targeting the self-install market, so have incorporated a flashdrive memory key in French, Portuguese, Swahili and English that shows a short two minute movie on installation. There is also a book with illustrations.”

A battery is not provided with the package, but Walker highlights that there is a massive battery industry in Africa so these are easy to access.

Poynting is currently manufacturing for a major East African distributor based in Kenya and has had interest from other African countries.

The company has sold more than 1000 units a month since April, and has the capacity to upscale production rapidly. The product is economically produced in two factories in China,

It is presently a good time and a good product to launch, with the broadcast migration from analogue to digital taking place throughout Africa making set-top boxes a necessity.

The innovation doesn’t stop there. This is the first product in the range, and we are excited to be developing more useful applications including a fan, a fridge, more lights and 12V plug socket.

An internet module for the SunPoynt TV will be available soon to those off the grid.

Watch the video here
And see the interview of Andre Fourie, CEO of Poynting Holdings speaks to Business Day Live:

Edited by: Sylvain Beletre, associate editor, Balancing Act, June 2014.