Silvablac Turns Your Computer Into a Television


As Kenyans enjoy the fruits of a liberalised communications market and spend more time in front of their television screens, Kimiti Wanjaria hopes to harness the power of TV into a tiny device that enables one to carry their TV in their pocket or handbag.

BellAir Communications has introduced the SilvaBlac SB-UD900, a device the size of a flash disk that is plugged into the USB port of a computer, turning computers into a television.

The device turns your desktop into a television with high definition television HDTV quality which offers sharper quality and features such as interactive services, mobile reception, wide-screen pictures, surround sound, multiple viewing angles, multichannelling, closed-captioning and electronic programme guides.

This comes at a time when Kenya is planning a switch to digital broadcasting as set out by the Regional Radio communications Conference in Geneva in 2006.

The convention required that countries start preparation to migrate from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting technologies and June 17 2015 was set as the deadline.

Kenya has given itself a tighter deadline of July 1, 2012, and converters and digital televisions are measures that have been taken but costs prove a challenge.

While the SilvaBlac SB-UD900 costs Sh5,000, a digital television costs at least Sh30,000 and HDTV decoder that can record at least 80 hours of television programming will cost a consumer at least Sh45,000 and another monthly service cost of Sh5,000.

Televisions are also mostly used in homes but Kenyans spend most of their time in the office.

"About 60 per cent of working Kenyans spend at least seven hours each day in the office and are in contact with computers at some point of the day," says Mr Wanjaria.

This realisation, says Mr Kimiti, means that chances are that employees will at one time, given the chance, watch either news or their favourite soap during office hours and most likely on their desktops via the internet.

The power of the internet has not escaped media houses which now put clips of aired programmes and news on the internet, especially on youtube. with a good internet connection, one can watch and re-watch their favourite programmes or catch the news clips that they missed.

A recent report by PwC dubbed Global Media and Entertainment Report stated in part: "Ongoing fragmentation means that media offerings will need greater consumer engagement and quality to get themselves heard -- and paid."

Consumers are more willing to pay for content when accompanied by convenience and flexibility in usage, personalisation, and a differentiated experience that cannot be created elsewhere.

But Kenya suffers from that lack of affordable bandwidth despite the landing of the cables that promise fast and reliable speeds.

"Many users will be hard-pressed to use all their bandwidth to watch a clip," says Mr Wanjaria.

With a least cost of Sh1 per megabyte (MB) on modems from mobile services providers which are the most accessible, watching a clip of 100MB or roughly 9 minutes will cost you Sh100 making the cost of watching an entire episode expensive.

But the rising demand for local programmes against the lack of affordable bandwidth has created an opportunity for Mr Wanjaria and BellAir Communications.