Here it is, finally the review. Where do you buy one? I got this one from a shop in Agro House, the building in between Moi Avenue and Tom Mboya street in Nairobi’s CBD, near Afya centre. I called this number 0711046046, the Bamba TV customer care number and they directed me there. Alternatively, you can Get the Bamba TV Decoder here for Ksh3299. At first I was expecting a very big branded Bamba shop, only to find a small stall that you can easily pass. The decoders price is Ksh3299 and right before I got this one, I encountered a customer complaining that the decoder he had bought was not working. I wonder if the exchanged decoder worked but my suspicion was a poorly installed aerial. Because this is a free to air decoder with no monthly payments at all, how will the Company make money? I mean it will reach a point where these decoders will become saturated in the market with very low sales figures.
Let us get confused a little bit
Radio Africa Group has been heavily advertising this decoder on its radio stations as Bamba TV, but the Set Top Box itself is branded as Bomba TV. The remote control is also branded as Bomba TV, but the box housing the decoder is Bamba TV. To makes matters a little bit more complicated the other bigger box containing a bunch of these decoders is labelled as Bamba TV. So Radio Africa Group tell us if its Bamba or Bomba? This type of confusion will have a negative effect in the streets because consumers will think that they are being sold fake products.
Whats in the Box
The HDT2-208A-CA decoder, this is the Model Number
One Power Adapter
Manual with Warranty Card
But notably missing is the HDMI Cable.
The physical features
The Bamba/Bomba decoder (don’t know which one to use) has all the essential buttons on the front of the decoder itself. If only other set top box manufactures could emulate this. The essential buttons are the navigational buttons for channels and volume, the menu button and exit button. On top of this there is an OK and a standby button. I mean if you temporarily lost your remote control, you could manipulate almost every single feature of this decoder with comfort.
At the back the Bamba TV decoder has a HDMI port (you remember I said that no HDMI Cable is supplied), composite video out port with the audio ports too (the normal Yellow, Red and White ports), One USB port, Antenna IN port and lastly the RF OUT port for connecting to older Television sets that do not have the HDMI or the composite video ports.
The decoder is very light probably due to the plastic housing and separate power source.
Powering the decoder and connecting the Antenna
The Bamba TV decoder comes with a 12Volts 1Ampere 3 pin adapter as the power source. Due to the fact that the decoder is supplied with 12 Volts DC voltages directly, you can use it with a car battery directly. Just buy the correct cable and do not interchange the polarity. This means that it can be comfortably be used with a solar battery as well as be hooked to a Black and white TV (read Greatwall)in places with no access to Electricity.
After powering the STB it took about 1 minute to boot up and the message Empty STB channel list was displayed. I pressed enter and in less than 30 seconds the decoder had searched all the channels. This is the fastest auto search I have ever seen and also the complicated because it had technical parameters such as Frequency, Bandwidth and Data.
The user interface is very colourfull but the menu page has two items that do not work, the Games and Easy Living (do not know what it is).
So this is how Kiss TV will be making money
Press any button on this decoder and you will see an advertisement. In fact if you press the menu button this is what you will see
What channels does Bamba TV Free Digital Television has to offer
The first channel that started playing after the scan was Kiss TV, of course was expected because this is a product of Radio Africa group. Now at this time Bamba has not yet launched all their “world class channels” but this s what I saw after scanning
- Kiss TV
- NHK World
- Kass TV
- Nollywood Movies
- France 24 English
- Justice TV
- I Film English
- CARS TV
- Movie Club
- Fashion TV
- DW TV
- Smile TV
All signet and Pang TV channels are free as well, whether the mathematics add up to 50 World class channels we will have to wait and see on New Year’s day 2015. At the moment some channels like Movie club, Cars TV and fashion TV have not yet launched. Another point to note is that the channels on this list are freely available on free to air satellite. To us guys who are used to receiving free to air satellite channels from all over the world, there is nothing new on this package but if a name like Fashion TV interests you then get this decoder.
Now the unknown facts about the Bamba TV decoder
The Bamba TV decoder uses a smart-card, Lancia Digital that is inserted at the bottom of the decoder. It’s very hard to miss it and its very well placed, children cannot withdraw and throw it away like they do with Dstv smart cards.
Now there is another small paper inside the decoder, I had missed it too but while trying to thoroughly check for a HDMI cable I came across it. In short this is what the paper said after starting with Attention.
You must register your decoder by sending details like your name, ID Number, Phone number, Location, Serial Number and Smart card Number to the email address registration(@)bomba.co.ke. You can ignore the brackets. After buying the stb it comes preactivated for 60 days only after which you must register the decoder immediately.
This according to me is a genius method of gathering data for marketing purposes. Will Bamba TV start asking for charges? The answer is No and if they start you can sue them. Have you tries registering your decoder? At the moment the email address provided is not working and @bambatvkenya on twitter is not helping, only re-tweeting customers queries.
There are some suspicions that this decoder will turn to a pay TV decoder in the future (perhaps due to the fact that a smart-card is present). But this is just a theory, after all that free for life advertising you can definitely sue if you are asked for a single shilling.
All other terrestrial only digital decoders will offer you the free to air channels but the Bamba TV decoder will offer you the Bamba TV package as well as all other free to air digital channels from Pang and Signet for only Ksh3299 forever. Take for example the Rockdale Digital box it costs Ksh4000 but will lack all the Bamba channels in the future. My opinion is that this is the beast terrestrial only digital decoder in the market today.