This past Saturday I had a chance of installing Azam TV in Nairobi and here is the review. Before this installation I must admit that I never knew Azam were live in Kenya. I only knew of Azam as the Tanzanian TV company to be soon launched elsewhere in East Africa. Azam TV has a very good looking white in colour decoder that has features that are much more superior to either GOtv or Dstv. By the way the subscription cost is only Ksh850 per month, so much better than the Dstv access package that has a monthly price tag of Ksh870.
Azam TV belongs to the Bakhresa Group, commonly known for selling food products like grains and milk. By the way the Bakhresa group also owns a football club Azam FC and also operates ferry services in Tanzania. This is a company that will give Dstv a serious run for their money.
What’s in the package and how much does it cost?
A full Azam kit goes for Ksh9950 which includes two boxes. The first smaller decoder box and the bigger box which has a 90cm dish, Ku band LNB and Coaxial cable. I have never seen a dish come completely sealed in a box before this installation. The Azam branded coaxial cable is of very low quality though, it’s not at all comparable to an Astel or even Jacobs Coaxial Cable.
No HDMI cable is supplied with the decoder.
The Azam package also has one of the tiniest LNBs I have ever seen. It’s pretty clear that cost reduction was the first point when it came to ordering some of the parts.
The decoder review
This is why I was writing this post in the first place. The Azam NL-S7812 decoder is white in color and with five buttons CH+, CH-, Vol +,Vol- and a Power button. Missing though are the Menu and OK buttons so if you get this decoder, take care of your remote because if you loose or break it, it going to be hard, actually impossible to manipulate the decoder.
The decoder is powered with an external 3 pin Adapter connected at the back. What else is at the back apart form the Power button? As you can see in the following photo, the Azam decoder has a HDMI port and RCA port for connecting it to your TV. So you can connect the decoder to two TV sets if both the ports are used. The LNB port also has a loop out next to it although in my own opinion this should have been made into an RF OUT port.
The USB port can be used to play movies and music on the decoder as well as record TV programs on an External Hard Disk or big capacity Flash Disk. The best thing about this decoder is that you can do anything you want with the recorded programs unlike the Dstv Explora where there is no external port to get out the movies to watch on a laptop computer. So that you don’t have to reach over at the back just to access the USB port, I would advise you to get a Back to back USB cable. This way you connect one side of the cable permanently at the back and your external storage devices to the other side of the cable.
Which Satellite does Azam TV use?
Azam TV uses the French owned Eutelsat 7A satellite positioned at 7 degrees east. This will make it possible for Azam to compete with Big Expensive Brother Dstv on the African Continent. For my first installation, I never used the Azam dish but repositioned an already installed dish. I used the Azam supplied LNB an it performed the same as the Eurostar LNB that I removed after repositioning the dish. The highest signal quality on the Azam decoder was 60%. Strangely though you could here the TV station tuned at the back while the Menu Signal strength and Quality bars were displayed on the screen.
So this is where the MBC channels migrated to after pulling a Houdini stunt on us on both 7W and 8West positions. Strangely though, there are no Gospel Channels on the Azam bouquet. I guess it has to do with the fact that the owners of Azam TV are not Christians but Arab Muslims. You can check the whole list of channels available on the Azam package here. The package is exactly the same out Tanzanian brothers are receiving. I expect a Kenyan version website from Azam TV very soon