News / Africa

Looming Digital Switchover Creates Headaches for Cameroon

FILE - Flat-screen TV sets on display at a Best Buy store in San Francisco, California.
FILE - Flat-screen TV sets on display at a Best Buy store in San Francisco, California.
With the deadline for a global switch from analog to digital technology looming, Cameroonians are still struggling with the challenges of this digital migration.

Experts agree that the benefits of digital technology are numerous. The switchover will offer sharper and brighter pictures including high definition television, and better audio, giving a better viewing experience. But  those working with Cameroon's National Commission on the digital switchover warn of challenges ahead as old TVs will no longer be able to pick up signals.

Tebo Mathias, a digital switchover expert, says, “The population is supposed to be informed, they are supposed to be well educated because you will not imagine an old person maybe in the village somewhere, one morning he is unable to tune to a station because the switchover is already there and he was not aware.”

The prices of soon-to-be-obsolete analog televisions have been tumbling ahead of the switchover in mid-2015, raising fears that counties like Cameroon will become dumping grounds for the soon-to-be-obsolete sets. The government has responded by banning the importation of all analog sets, but that also has many people upset.

Germain Nfor, a 33-year-old secondary school teacher in the capital, Yaounde, feels the government's actions have not been well thought out. He says, “[The] government has not sensitized the people on why they are banning the old TV, and after everything the plasma TVs are very very expensive. I wish to ask if there are no alternatives that one can use to capture images apart from the plasma TV?"

Journalist Gaullaume Kimbi says many will find it difficult to pay for TVs with digital technology after the June 2015 deadline.

“We are simply taken by surprise and the new TV screens are not within the reach of the average Cameroonians, which therefore means that several Cameroonian's will not be able to watch TV if that switchover were to come now,” he said.

Importers are also concerned. Panje Raoul, who has a plea for the government, says, “We are calling on the state to look for ways of supplying appliances that can transform the images from analog to digital," he say. “Are we able to buy flat screens? Today the minimum wage in Cameroon is 23,000  CFA francs, so I do not know if a Cameroonian will be able to feed himself with such an amount and also buy a plasma screen. We are asking the state to reconsider its decision,” he says.

TV sets with digital technology cost as much as $1,000 in Cameroon. The average salary in Cameroon is about $56 a month.

Switchover expert Mathias says citizens must start saving to buy the new sets because the decision taken by the International Telecommunications Union, ITU, to switch over cannot be reversed.

“ITU has already decided that after that date, those countries that refuse to switch will not be able to receive signals from abroad or their own signals will not be able to be transmitted to neighboring countries because of interference,” he said.

Many experts agree on the need for African countries to eventually migrate to digital technology,  but they also say their audiences need to be guided through the process. They suggest the creation of hot lines and help desks as well as massive public awareness campaigns.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dibussi from: Chicago
December 30, 2013 8:37 PM
For additional details and clarification, see th follow-up article: "Cameroon's Digital Switchover (DSO) Program Mired in Misinformation, Public Confusion and Resistance" - http://www.africt.com/2013/12/cameroons-digital-switchover-dso-program.html

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More