Will Safaricom’s Big Box be a game changer in Family Entertainment

Safaricom's The Big Box
Safaricom's The Big Box
Safaricom’s The Big Box (image: Techweez.com)

Safaricom has launched a set top box for TV entertainment with data connectivity. Why should this interest you? Well, if you are a constant internet user and are not satisfied with your current service it is worth a try to check this out. This is because today we have the problem of looking for good entertainment and if it comes with internet, even better. With the digital migration, set top boxes have become so many in the market and Safaricom has chosen to take a piece of the pie.

Many of us have already chosen the set top boxes to use and one might say they are late in joining the band wagon. But they were looking (I think) to satisfy both entertainment and what they have to offer; high speed internet. It has been eagerly awaited to solve many of the people’s problem with internet at homes. The available internet in the market that gets to people’s homes was limited since  fiber  has not reached a large number of places.

Looking at what they have to offer, I have lots to say.

What it comes with

  • The set top box comes with free to air channels.
  • It has an android platform that will allow you to access applications like YouTube, imedia player, emails as well as the browser.
  • It also has 3G/4G internet browsing capabilities
  • Internet hotspot creation
  • LAN (Local Area Network) cabling
  • Free YouTube streaming via youtube.com for the first 3 months (valid from 7thMay – 4th August 2015)
  • 30+ Free to Air channels
  • USB and SD media playback for pictures, music and videos
  • TV recording capabilities
  • Parental control for TV channels

Price

The price of the set top box is Ksh. 9,999, a one-off price and also have an easy payment plan. The payment plan you pay Ksh.. 4,999 and Ksh.. 999 instalments for 6 months. This seems like a bit too much. Even for the easy payment plan, the majority of us want to eliminate the monthly payments not have more payments. Though it all depends on the target audience they had in mind.

Installation

The good thing is if you already have outdoor aerial there isn’t much hustle. You set it up just like the other set top boxes.

The Safaricom set top box did not match my expectations. I hoped that they would come and be a competitor to Zuku but they are barely making them sweat. They are offering 6GB and we all know that is not adequate enough for a month. The internet will be used by the entire household and you would not like to limit anyone. If one wants to download movies, music videos and stream, unlimited internet is better. Buying the bundles limits a person.

The set top box prices make no difference for most people. They could use the cheaper set top boxes and use routers that give an option of the unlimited internet. The monthly is cheaper than the packages of bundles they are offering. Example is Orange’s WiFi costs Ksh.3000 monthly and its unlimited internet. The packages of the programs and free to air are there at a cheaper prices and the only incentive they had to make people buy theirs was the internet.

The set top box has the LAN port and I was wondering whether I needed the cabling to be able to use my set top box as a router? Is this is the case, it would still lock out most of us whose areas haven’t got the fiber optic cable. If it does not then it offers the majority internet in the house without the need of cabling.

The launch was asking people from the streets to come see what they were offering. Those weren’t the target audience they were looking for looking at the prices they have set. Would someone working and earning Ksh. 5000 manage to purchase the set top box? Well, I do agree that they are offering a much needed service but they did not manage to get the target audience right. It should either be expensive and offer unlimited internet or reduce the prices and offer the bundle package. This is my humble opinion though. It is a well thought out concept but I will say it was a miss. Though this Safaricom, they have a way of making things works. Let us just wait and see.

The Game Changer
This market though with many entrants has been be-deviled with poor customer service, poor service offering, incomplete options that offer one thin and not the other among many other issues.
We have written quite detailed reviews of the Zuku and GoTV service offering which Safaricom will be competing with in one way or the other with the Box.
Customers are still in dire need of a complete solution that works and one that gives them everyone in one box.
Someone recently joked  during the digital migration, that Kenyans might start buying racks to fit all these set top boxes. Question is, is it really  necessary?
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