The Thy Word Digital combo Set Top Box/Decoder has the highest number of Digital TV channels available in Kenya and it is also not very expensive. With this decoder you will receive all the Free to Air channels on the signet platform as well as channels available on free to air satellite. There are absolutely no monthly charges after buying this decoder.
First of all the physical features, The thy word decoder/set top box is silver in colour and most importantly has a power switch at the front. With this switch you can switch off the decoder completely and not put it into standby mode. The real technical name of the Thyword decoder at least from what I read from the front panel is QC- X plus series V. The Thyword decoder is a fully MPEG4 dvbt2/dvbs2 decoder. What this means is that it can receive Digital Video Broadcasting Channels through Terrestrial as well as Satellite means by using a normal TV antenna/aerial as well as using a satellite dish(es). This is where the “Combo” name comes from.
After connecting an antenna to this decoder and did a blind-scan, all the dvbt2 channels on the Signet, Bamba, Startimes and Gotv bouquets popped up and were also very clear. This was possible because the decoder has a PLL RF modulator ranging from channels 2 – 83. With this decoder you cannot view the Startimes and Gotv channels since they are scrambled and need special decoders. The number of channels will depend on the quality of your aerial as well as how it was installed. Read Digital TV Aerial Installation
The Thy word decoder also has a USB port at the back and is DVR (Digital Video Recorder) Ready. So you can connect an external Hard Disk Drive (HDD) or a bigger capacity Flash-disk for recording whatever you are watching. The decoder can also play mp3 files as well as videos stored on the external USB device. You can also connect your android phone to this decoder by using a USB cable and it will play the music on your memory card. But do not try to record TV channels directly to your memory card, genuine or non genuine. From my own experience you will damage your memory card.
Now here is the satellite part of the review
The Thyword Combo decoder is capable of decoding C and Ku band signals from satellite. The decoder has DiSEqC 1.0/1.1 functionality. This feature allows for connecting multiple satellite inputs for a much wider variety of channels
This means that you can either connect a 4 port DiSEqC switch (utilizing the 1.0 functionality) or an 8/16 port DiSEqC switch (utilizing the 1.1 functionality). I tried it with a 4 port Eurostar switch and it worked well. After a satellite blind-scan of Nilesat, all the channels were grouped together with the terrestrial digital channels. It made no difference switching from a terrestrial digital channel to the satellite channels.
This decoder has one of the most interesting Transponder scans I have ever seen. The scan features are as follows
- Auto scan, this scans the saved transponders on the decoder according to satellite name and orbital position.
- Blind scan, the most usual, like a robber it searches anything available and gives the results.
- Manual. you enter the frequency, Polarity and Symbol rate.
- Advanced, like an engineer you enter the frequency, Polarity, Symbol rate, FEC Rate and the various PID’s available.
And now the downside
The blind-scan feature is the slowest I have ever seen. You can cook or prepare tea and drink it while the decoder is still scanning. This applies both to terrestrial as well as satellite scans.
The decoder although has the capability of decoding HD channels, it does not have a HDMI port. This is one of the biggest disadvantage as more and more people are becoming aware of the rich picture detail that HDTV offers.
The decoder has not one but two unusable Pay TV Conax ports at the front.
The decoder is used for viewing channels and not scanning.
There is no single channel being broadcast in HD on the digital terrestrial platform in Nairobi leave alone Kenya. Also there are very few HD channels on free to air satellite beams that cover Africa.
On the last downside (Conax Card Slots) this is a free to air decoder, if you want a Pay TV decoder then get Startimes, Dstv or Zuku. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages, so this is the best decoder I would recommend to anyone who wants to migrate to digital TV or to replace the disappointing cheap decoder he/she already has.